How to Market to Men


If you’ve gone grocery shopping lately, you might be surprised by the number of dads you see pushing grocery carts around. It isn’t surprising that they are shopping for groceries, because it is the year 2014 after all and the ratio of working mothers to working fathers has fairly equalized. Rather, it might be surprising to see how confident these dads feel amongst a sea of women. They know which aisle the milk is in, what sort of vegetables to purchase, and what meat options they need for dinner. Historically, women have dominated the purchasing power in households and men have taken a backseat role. But if the image of a dad in suit and tie with a few kids around his shopping cart says anything at all, it says that men are becoming more valuable in making purchasing decisions and marketers need to take note of this change.


Similar to the way advertisers had to adapt to women trading in aprons for business suits throughout the 1970s and onward, they must now adapt to a shift in who makes purchasing decisions for families. Digital and social media marketers need to consider men when marketing consumer products.


Content that Men Love


1.      Employ humor. Men crave entertainment with whatever they are watching and tend to respond to one-liners and jokes. Humor will not only pique men’s interest by keeping them engaged but will also encourage them to share it with their friends.

2.      Appeal to their aspirations. Choose a figure that men aspire to whether it’s someone like Steve Jobs or the Incredible Hulk. Why is it that Fantasy Football is so popular among male consumers? Because it encourages competition and men aspire to be the best in their respective circles.

3.      Make it visual. YouTube is the ultimate resource for visual content and yet, it is surprisingly underutilized. Only 2% of the top 5,000 channels are from brands. This number should be much, much higher. YouTube creates the ultimate domino effect for guys – they see something they like, they might comment, and then pass it along to friends who spread it on their social media channels (hopefully) like wildfire.

4.      Sometimes the obvious choice works. Sports might seem an obvious choice but that doesn’t mean your brand should ignore sports in your marketing mix. Maybe your brand already does this but sports will continue to be a front-row pass for reaching men. It’s just important to distinguish yourself from the competition – this might mean turning a sports underdog into a brand icon or attaching your brand to a team (or even a sport) that isn’t #1.


But…don’t women still like watching sports?


Yes, this isn’t to say that women don’t enjoy a one-liner or watching sports, or using YouTube to share things with their friends. It is 2014 and that means that just as men are starting to do the grocery shopping a bit more, women are beginning to take an interest in traditional “manly” things more as well. It’s only to say that in case study after case study, men overwhelmingly respond positively to these kinds of tactics.


To explore the pitfalls of gendered marketing, click here.