IT Employment

Special Report for Women in IT: Marketing tech products

TechRepublic's Sonja Thompson talks to Andy Marken of Marken Communications about why more businesses aren't getting it right when it comes to marketing technology to women.

Podcast

I've talked about marketing tech products for women before, and the TechRepublic audience has given me feedback that, while pink and pretty are aesthetically pleasing, functionality is a must.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Andy Marken of Marken Communications about this very topic, and he wonders why more businesses aren't getting it right when it comes to marketing technology to women. See Andy's full report, Insider 95, the Tech Ready Woman. Marketing to women in IT

Andy and I discuss some products that are currently targeted towards women, including notebooks, mobile phones, and mp3 players. Andy also provides some stats, such as a recent study that shows females are the largest percentage of content developers, producers, and uploaders.

According to Andy, "We see a significant need in the PC/CE industry to not have geeks (who are primarily male) designing the products for ‘their people' when we know a bundle of technical saavy ladies who are forced to use products that aren't intuitive and real-world designed and tested."

Listen to the podcast, and then please take a stab at one or more of the following questions: Do you think marketers and product makers could do a better job targeting women when it comes to IT? What companies and products would you recommend for techie gals? If you're a woman, what features do you think make a product great? Are these great products gender specific, or do they appeal to both sexes alike?

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

4 comments
Fregeus
Fregeus

I don't understand (and it might be because I'm a man, I know. Don't hate me because I'm male) what the fuss is about gender oriented technology. If you ask me, I beleive that technology should be gender neutral. If a product is oriented towards one gender over another, then the product is flawed. Not flawed because it favors male over females, but flawed because it favors a gender period. Am I wrong to think that technology can and should be gender neutral? TCB

bbyrd
bbyrd

Interesting to think in terms of gender for tech. I have pretty much thought it was neutral but Apple's products are "pretty" which would draw more females to it. Cell phones, mine is pink compared to silver or black. Features that would be gender specific - label things what they should be and put them in a logical place for starters. For example, Movie maker - Save to My Computer how about Save Final Movie. I could go on.

Tig2
Tig2

First, Sonja, great topic. I was wondering how long it would take for marketing to realize that IT women are under-served. Aesthetically, I love my Mac. The case is easily cleaned, the keys have a great tactile feel, and once I got used to the mouse, I discovered that I prefer it to anything I have previously owned. From a power perspective, it does everything I need it to do and is capable of much more. To me, the machine strikes a great balance between form and function. I would say the same for my Touch. It has a great appearance but also provides me with the functionality that I want and need. The SO has a laptop by HP. It is the same size as mine from left to right but is significantly heavier. The keys feel flat and are not comfortable to type on. The trackpad mouse is okay but things that I can do with one hand on the Mac, require two on the HP. The difference is that I researched for weeks before I decided to buy my Mac and when I went in to buy it, I had no questions at all for the "sales" person. I literally walked in, pointed at the MacBook Pro and said "I want that one". All the homework had been done in the weeks before. The SO, when he wanted to buy a new computer, walked in and looked for the biggest, baddest thing he could afford and bought it. No research, no real thought. There are numerous other examples but I think you see where I am going. The purchasing habits of men and women are different and different things appeal to us. I recall at CES that there was a company marketing USB drives that were fashioned as clunky acrylic pendants. There is no way on the planet that I am going to actually carry, much less wear, something like that. Especially when I can hang my SanDisk Micro on my key ring. But that is yet another example of when any how badly they get it wrong. I tend to buy things that are pink. Just me. But color stops being a consideration when there are other points to consider- value for money, ease of use, functionality out of the box. If I can have all those other things and still get it in pink or as part of a pink ribbon campaign, sign me up. End of the day, I have been in technology for a long time. I don't especially need "girly" tech. I just want functional, appealing tech. Oh- another thought. Marketing is fine. But the front line seller needs to consider the individual standing in front of him. If I am speaking with knowledge about a product, don't assume that my gender has rendered me an airhead. I don't have any problem at all taking my business up the street.

mfargano
mfargano

Quote: The SO, when he wanted to buy a new computer, walked in and looked for the biggest, baddest thing he could afford and bought it. No research, no real thought There are numerous other examples but I think you see where I am going. The purchasing habits of men and women are different and different things appeal to us. ---------------------------------------- I think it has to do with the person. I've known men and women like you and myself who will research with great detail over their next computer purchase. I also know others who are less computer savvy who just let the sales guy pick up the computer they need or buy the most expensive/prettiest. In that regard it comes down to people who are more computer educated vs people who aren't more than a gender issue. I agree with you though that in general marketing is fine, there aren't cell phones made to look like breasts for guys and I don't see any vibrators that answer e-mails (yet) :p. But like you said it comes down to form, function and taste. In general companies should offer little things that can make a big difference. Maybe your MacBook Pro would be even sweeter if it was pink, or you could add an engraving to it, etc. etc. The only thing we are lacking is more individualism.

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