Since the dawn of the ancient art of selling, one could say marketing has been gender-specific. New customer acquisition for an ancient Greek may have meant hawking his Grecian vases differently to a potential lady buyer than to a male onlooker. Recent generations are familiar with stereotypical roles that are played out in TV commercials, board game covers, and in magazine advertisements. Cleaning ads for women; race cars for men. Generation Z, those between the ages of 13 and 20, are experiencing a dichotomy between how marketers talk to them and how they experience the world. According to JWT Inteligence Group’s Innovation Group, 81% of Gen Z strongly believes gender does not define a person as much as it did in the past.
What does this mean for marketing your business?
Quite a lot. If you’re aiming for company longevity, you need to think of the future. New customer acquisition means thinking of your future customers.
When responding to the research’s question, “I always buy products that are geared specifically toward my own gender…”, 44% of Gen Zers agreed. Compare this to 54% of Millennials only shopped from their gender-specific clothing shops. 56% of Gen Z recognize more of their peers use gender-neutral pronouns, like “ze” rather than the traditional “he” or “she”.
Gender-neutral marketing is not a trend; it represents a deflection point in society.
What is the kind of language business owners should begin integrating as they prep acquire new customers? According to marketing experts and founders of Instant Grass International Speaking, Dali Tembo and Jess Jorgensen, a few words to begin integrating into your next marketing strategy includes:
Keeping gender stereotypes will impact the bottom line. That’s why even big retailers are changing their marketing and operations. Retail giant Target no longer has blue and pink aisles in their toy section; Mattel’s Barbie ad featured a boy playing with a Barbie doll.
How can we begin changing? Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- How are we reinforcing gender stereotypes?
- What is considered “normal” by our industry?
- Does our overall brand suggest or openly communicate these old gender stereotypes?
- Does our brand image depend on the old gender stereotypes? Why?
- In what ways can we begin to inclusive to the others on the gender spectrum?
- By changing our customer segmentation, how can better serve the ones we previously did not serve?
Gender-neutral marketing is only effective when it comes from a place of authenticity. Do you truly see how this could be an opportunity to acquire new customers? Do you believe in being a more inclusive business? Gender-neutral as a framework is quickly gaining ground. From children books, gender inclusive schools, and data privacy laws, gender neutrality is the new paradigm in the lives of potential customers, in particular Gen Zers. For business owners, thriving in the future means changing the present status quo.
At Shore, we support business owners to gain an edge in growing their business. Leave the daily to us, so you can focus on the grind.
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