Are you a mansumer? A mansumer is more than just a word. It’s a shift in power from the age-old marketing tactics that involved pitching certain products to women, while marketing others to men. That seems to be changing, and quickly.
Turn on the television and you’ll see numerous examples of men in commercials that used to be largely be targeted towards women. Men doing laundry, men carrying babies, men making dinner and even men going *GASP* grocery shopping. Look no further than Tide laundry detergent to see exactly what I mean. For the first time in their 66-year history, Tide featured a man – not a woman – doing the laundry. Huggies is also a notable example as it has begun to feature dads carrying their babies around in front-facing baby carriers in their newest ad campaign.
You might be asking why I bothered bringing this up in a blog that obviously doesn’t cater to television advertisers. The reason is simple; you can be one of the first that takes this offline strategy online by catering images, copywriting, keywords, anchor text or even instances of co-occurrence to the man of the house.
It seems that times are quickly changing and men are doing a substantially larger portion of domestic duties that have been reserved for the woman of the household in past generations. Women might laugh at this, but the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that men are doing (on average) 16 minutes per day of housework. While this number seems laughable to any stay-at-home mom it is certainly significant. It seems that the same study reported men were doing just 3 minutes per day of housework in 2003. In fact, the same study shows that men are doing 50-percent more housework than they did in 1965.
It seems that Huggies saw first-hand just how outraged they could make fathers with their “Put them to the dad test” ad campaign circa March of this year.
What can you do to make your campaign mansumer friendly?
Mind Both Sexes
When referring to a product or service that would typically have a traditional gender role, it might be time to change it up. Men go grocery shopping and women want six-pack abs. Start considering the opposite sex when creating campaigns. Targeting women for muscle-building programs or men for your newest crockpot cookbook might just give you the edge you’re looking for over your competitors.
Don’t Be Demeaning
Don’t pull a Huggies. Men, and women are quick to get offended when you tell them they can’t do something. Making men look like neanderthals when it came to watching their children probably wasn’t the smartest move Huggies could have made. I get the attempt at humor, but it’s ill-advised. Don’t fall into that trap.
Use Ad Targeting/Landing Page Optimization
As I said previously, you have to acknowledge both sexes. Why not break them into two separate ad groups and split test copy and landing page variations amongst men and women. For example, maybe a dad is making dinner in one ad and a mom is making dinner in another. The copy stays the same other than switching the word “dad” for “mom” and vice-versa. Play on variations of this to see which sex converts better for your product or service. You may be surprised to know that males might buy a cookbook if you targeted the ads to them, while mothers might be more than happy to buy a re-branded guide to basic car maintenance that features women in the ads and copy.
Give these a try and remember, it’s 2012. You can’t assume anything. The only way to know if something works is to try it, test it, optimize it and then repeat.