Girly or Tom Boy: Who loves you?

The first question in marketing to women is, “What type of woman are you targeting?” Segmentation by demographics is one way, but discovering her core personality is the best. One option is to evaluate where she sits on the “girly” vs. “tom boy” spectrum, or how much she leans tomorrow more feminine or masculine views and communication preferences. Identify who loves you now, and who you want to target in the future. Then laser focus your marketing on that audience.

To gauge your current audience, post a survey like this one, How Girly Are You?, on your social media channels or via your email, and see what kind of reactions you get. Better yet, create your own and personalize it for your brand. Make it fun! For future audiences, test imagery, colors and messages that resonate the most with the women you want to attract. And don’t forget to ask them what marketing avenues influence them the most, so you spend your budget wisely.



c9acfdba25218aeb61366dec88592304Stereotypes can get you into trouble, but after 45 years of being a woman, 20 years of marketing experience and almost a decade of marketing to women experience, I know that women who sit on the more feminine side have common characteristics. They’re more likely to spend hours at the mall, read women’s (and gossip) magazines, never leave the house without makeup and yes, they’re the ones that insist on going to the bathroom with friends. Perhaps to check that makeup.

If you’re a motorcycle dealership, you probably see these women decked out in matching attire, wearing more pink than others, and they’re the first ones checking their hair after a ride. Appeal to them with color-coordinated outfits, show them the latest fashions and do a “Helmet Hair” clinic at your store. You may try advertising your fashion apparel in a local women’s magazine, or partnering with a store at the mall. She may be more attracted to images with groups of women, as well as more likely to attend women-only events, as I described in 3 FIbs About Female Buyers.

Tom Boy

aa8b815e231f04968bb10633713871f6In my article, Goldmine: Girls with Grit, I identified some characteristics of women who may lean more on the Tom Boy side, hang out more with dudes and like taking on tough challenges. The best way to reach these women may be through your male customers.

The opposite of Girly Girls, the Tom Boys hate the mall, prefer the “au natural” look sans makeup, and have no qualms about using the men’s restroom if the women’s one has a long line. They may be more likely to engage in co-ed sports, so try connecting with a local softball, volleyball or even a rugby league. You can guarantee she’s the one gritting her teeth through an obstacle course event, like a Spartan Race. Have you tried sponsoring a local adventure race in your area to reach these women?

She’s likely to be more independent, so consider messages and imagery that highlight a solo rider taking on a challenge. Don’t spend money on mall advertising. Ask your current Tom Boy customers what media they consume, and what influences their purchases most—in your industry and others.

Split down the Middle

facb3329a9fb11d28e815f5d3e8c2e25Depending on what you sell and your brand’s image, you may find that most of your current customers are straight down the middle of the spectrum. Try to identify which side they lean more toward, and differentiate your imagery and messages through that. Or take a stand and decide to target future customers who resonate more with one end or the other.

Whatever you decide, don’t be offensive in your marketing; make it clear you are appealing to one type and not putting down the other. Guys may prefer adversarial marketing, but most women do not.



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