Ritu Midha: Are marketers targeting men at the expense of women?

18 Jul,2013

By Ritu Midha


Women are the focus of most marketing communication, for most product categories. The evolution of modern urban Indian women is the topic of discussion at many a marketing forum – more true, perhaps, of upmarket women.


I would be the last person to object to women being in the focus of marketers’ attention, but are marketers reaching them at the expense of men?


I intend to restrict my musings to SEC A and A+ male. Aren’t men, with due apologies to the ever-increasing tribe of single, ‘doing well’ females in the country, still the main bread- (and health food in many cases!) earners of 99 per cent of the families, even in this strata of society? And, by default, the key purchase decision-makers?


To my mind, it is a conscious attempt by many marketers to connect with women even in the categories where they are not the purchase decision-makers but only the influencers. And the reason for the same is simple: it is far too expensive to reach men as compared to women.


Women are on television – some men are on television too, but the fragmentation there is way too high! Courtesy the number of news and movie channels. Also, remember that women wield the remote at primetime too, the time when men might choose to settle in front of the television, if they could control the remote. When it comes to sports channels, there is lesser worry – cricket hai jahan, marketers hain wahan!


As for newspapers, and barring weekends, men are supposed to be much bigger consumers of the same than women (at least the main paper), one tends to see education, retail, real estate and entertainment ads largely. Do marketers of male-centric categories feel that men don’t read newspapers, or do they feel that even if they read them, they don’t really notice the ads there?!


Is digital the right option then? Social media? Mobile? Radio? Niche magazines? Ground events? Small events targeting premium audiences are gaining momentum globally and are gradually picking up in our country too.


One thing is sure: the day marketers get the right media mix to reach the elusive upmarket male, they would go after him full throttle. He is the key decision-maker in purchase of most high ticket items, and where he is not, he is the key influencer.


Though elusive he is, he cannot be ignored by marketers. Is it time platform-agnostic content providers experimented and engaged these audiences across platforms culminating it on his handheld device, and where it delivers a good RoI, into an event?


Ritu Midha is a senior journalist and web strategist based in Mumbai. She is also Consulting Editor and Editor – Special Projects, MxMIndia.


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