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Once upon a time, marketing to women simply meant turning everyday products pink—literally. Today, however, reaching this important group of customers is more complex and sophisticated. It takes more than just stereotypically feminine colors to win the hearts and the wallets of female customers.

As the following articles show, building a relationship with female customers starts by knowing them deeply. If you’d like to find out what truly matters to women, then you have to be willing to engage them continuously. Often, this can be achieved in a community where a company can engage customers frequently. It’s about listening to what your customers say, but also understanding their motivations and the “why” of what they do. Fail to do that, and you risk coming up with campaigns that are simply “pinkwashing.”

If you’re thinking of launching marketing campaigns that specifically target women, here are 3 tips to consider.

  1. Make your message fit the brand.

The more the message fits into the brand's overall values, the better chance it has of sticking with consumers and not getting lost in the clutter, said Kevin Keller, a marketing professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. "Execution is critical," he said. "If it's done properly, it is a way to create a richer brand that has more meaning, relevance and is reaching people in a more emotional way."

But as more and more brands jump on the bandwagon -- and industry watchers expect they will -- it will be necessary to go beyond marketing messages, lest brands be accused of "pinkwashing" -- think greenwashing, which plagued brands in the early days of the movement toward more environmentally-friendly business practices. – Natalie Zmuda and Ann-Christine Diaz, AdAge

When marketing to female customers, make sure your message fits into your brand’s overall values. (CLICK TO TWEET)

  1. Do and internalize your research.

Social commerce site Polyvore's CEO Jess Lee says having leaders that understand the user is not guaranteed simply by having women on staff. "It's also possible to find men who can understand female users," she says. "You would be amazed by the women's fashion knowledge our male engineers have picked up."

Naama Bloom, founder and CEO of HelloFlo, a feminine products subscription service, says that while it is absolutely critical that women are represented on the executive level of all companies, she doesn’t believe you have to be a woman to make or market women’s products. “What you need is an understanding of research--both quantitative and qualitative--and an ability to internalize that research in a way that resonates,” she says. – Rachel Gillett, Fast Company

To effectively market to women, you need is "an understanding of research" and an ability to "internalize that research." (CLICK TO TWEET)

  1. Provide options and meaningful benefits.

Though many women do love pink, keep in mind it is actually the color option that holds the appeal rather than the specific color. If you have the shelf space to offer color options, mix it up with red, orange, or blue.

In addition to color options, however, products created specifically for women deliver benefits that are meaningful in everyday life. For example, offering a lightweight version of a product in a variety of color options will appeal to women but likely will bring the men along too, because both can benefit from the new features. – Megan Stephens, MarketingProfs

When marketing to women, provide them with choices and offer products that deliver meaningful benefits. (CLICK TO TWEET)

How to keep your customers from cheating on you

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