With an increased focus on reducing the gender gap between men and women in employment, it begs the question: how will this and how should it impact a company’s marketing strategy?
It’s a well-known fact that within different businesses men dominate the decision making positions. This is particularly true when looking at the target audience for technology companies, although I’m sure is common across many different sectors. This means that companies build their strategy based on trends associated with males due to the need to find commonality across their audience – often this leads to sports.
Sports is a huge industry that is tapped with sponsorships. You just have to look at all major teams, across pretty much any sport, to realise how many companies have skin in the game when it comes to marketing investment. Football, Rugby, Golf, Formula 1, American Football, Cricket, Tennis, The Olympic Games – you name it, there is sponsorship. It’s a no brainer when you look at the fan base – majority male which means that there is a high chance your company’s target audience is included within that fan base. But as stats from sports clubs show that their audience is predominantly male and efforts are being made in business to ensure women are in decision making positions – are companies at risk of missing the mark and creating a marketing gap?
What happens when the workforce does become more equally weighted between genders? Will sports still have a role to play or, will companies need to think about where else their target audience is consuming content? I’m not suggesting that this will happen overnight and that everyone should start pivoting away from the sporting industry as a leverage point with their customers, but one eye on the future does help.
Gender isn’t the only way in which job positions are evolving. Millennials are increasingly moving into roles where they have influence over decisions and even the power to make them autonomously. With each generation that moves into the workplace, marketers need to remember how their customers’ consumption habits & interests are also evolving.
What’s the latest social platform that is absorbing people’s attention? What media outlets are people trusting? Are they trusting media outlets at all? What roles do influencers play? What are the new generation’s interests? Will e-sports outgrow the traditional sporting industry? How are consumers engaging with their interests? Does linear TV exist still? Is print completely obsolete or has it made a comeback?
There are so many variables that as marketers we need to stay aware of in how our industries and the people within them evolve.
It’s not just a generational movement either – of course we have to be aware of how the different generations are moving to different stages in their career but another area of focus is how the workforce is generally becoming younger. And this is current. There are a huge number of large companies now that focus on intern/graduate programmes and bringing ideas out from these populations into the boardroom. Stretch projects get assigned to teams of young employees to allow for a fresh perspective.
Imagine you’re a company with a solution to a problem that is being investigated by interns & graduates – aged generally between 18 and 25 years. Are you targeting them? Are you putting yourself in a position whereby this group of people could propose you as part of the solution? Or, are you so focused on hitting the c-suite, the older generation that you’re neglecting the fact that these young people have real influence?
Of course, it is a balancing act. Not all companies are entrusting the younger generation with decisions/influence points and it shouldn’t be a 100% pivot to only focusing on these audiences. At the end of the day, companies are waking up to the fact that a diverse workforce produces diverse thinking which produces success. So as marketers, we need to be where of that, not put all our eggs in one basket and not alienate groups of people that aren’t considered our traditional target audience.