Marketers Refine, Expand Strategies to Reach Women

By John Consoli

It’s a safe assumption that marketers are reaching female viewers through broadcast and cable TV much differently than they did five years ago; what’s fascinating is how much different the methods are even from last season. With a majority of the broadcast primetime audience made up of women, marketers and their media planning and buying agencies are now using more sophisticated techniques that go beyond simply age demographics when putting together media plans to target women, with an emphasis on digital.

Most marketers are doing extensive studies to find out what motivates women of assorted ages and income groups to buy products, and what can be done to best influence those purchases beyond doling out product puffery in a 30-second spot. More than one agency has mentioned “path to purchase” studies as a way to learn the thought process of women’s purchasing decisions.

Recognizing this, more networks are offering online programming extensions, whether through streaming their actual shows online, creating special additional video tied into their shows or offering special websites with content tied into the female audiences who watch their programming. Advertisers are offered exclusive sponsorships of those sites.

And marketers are not only working with the traditional retail, health & beauty and consumer packaged goods categories. Marketers of products considered more traditionally male—those that have loaded up on TV sports programming over the years, like financial and insurance, upscale auto and even beer and wine—have, in this most recent upfront, spent bigger bucks trying to reach women on female-oriented cable networks.

Many a media agency exec considers today’s women the target of virtually every marketer, and most every plan of national advertisers includes both television and newer forms of video.

“Women are not watching less TV, they are just watching differently,” says Kristin Goodloe, managing partner at MediaCom, where she oversees the Revlon account, among others. “We now have to think of TV as video and buy based on women’s video viewing. Traditional television is still important for the immediacy of promoting new products and building brands, but we are now complementing that more with online video spending. We cast a wide net with broadcast and cable TV and then target in better on specific female audiences by category online.”

Read more at Broadcasting & Cable.