On Monday, January 30th, Girl Geek Dinners Philadelphia welcomed Jessica Ivins, Senior Experience Designer at Happy Cog, to do an encore presentation of her sold-out talk, “On Shrink It and Pink It.” The event was hosted by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, and was a collaboration with Web Start Women. Again, there was a huge turnout, and after we ate some pizza (provided by our gracious hosts) and quickly introduced ourselves, Jessica took the floor.
Jessica began by breaking the ice with some of the more amusingly obvious marketing failures, discussing the growing pains that first occurred when people heard the name of the iPad, and moving on to the debacle Dell had when they alienated women with their stereotype-ridden “Della,” a netbook for women… to track their carbs. The marketing strategies behind – and commercial for – “Dr. Pepper Ten,” which has “10 manly calories” and is supposed to be a diet drink for men, got more than a few chuckles from the crowd.
The heart of Jessica’s talk can really be summed up in one sentence: that we should not design with gender in mind. When we do that, we end up going to the extremes and alienating men and women instead. This is especially important to think about as Jessica shows research that states women are the ones who are making 80% of consumer purchases in America. Improper marketing can become very costly very quickly.
An important way to approach marketing for women is to not give over to myths, stereotypes, or assumptions, Jessica explained. (One popular myth is that women are not into video games – which is false when you consider casual mobile gaming, which is predominantly women.) Marketers need to understand how to market to women. Holly Buchanan, who specializes in marketing and selling to women, said, “You make an emotional connection with a woman when you show you respect, understand her, and value all of her contributions and roles in society.”
There are so many facets to Jessica’s talk, which is as humorous as it is intellectual. She brings to light the stereotypes so inherent in marketing, drawing out the ways they can alienate the very people they’re trying to draw in. Her complete slides can be found on slideshare, and are worth reading through. The truth is that her delivery and stories bring it to life in a way that slides can’t, so here is a video, recorded by Kit from Kit Farman Photography.
“Don’t stereotype your audience. Instead, take the time to understand them,” are the words Jessica ends with. And truly, her talk is aimed at both men and women, in an attempt to improve communication and bring thoughtfulness and respect to the forefront.
Slides from the event, courtesy of Jessica, can be found on slideshare.
Recap written by Girl Geek Dinners Philadelphia Co-Founder, Nicole Kline.
Nicole is a Philadelphia native who loves to write, play video games, and shop for socks. She has a regular day job as a secretary, but by night, she’s the Senior Editor of video game site Warp Zoned, a columnist on popular culture for literary magazine Press 1, a contributing writer at local blog Geekadelphia, and has recently gotten back into Dungeons & Dragons with a serious vengeance. Her current goal is to write a novel and get super famous.