Marketing Tech? Don’t Forget Women

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New York -- Pitches for advanced services and new technologies are often misdirected.

That was one of the takeaway points from a panel held at Women in Cable & Telecommunications’ executive luncheon here Tuesday afternoon.

Panel members Betty Cohen, CEO of Lifetime Television; Brooke Johnson, president of Food Network; Lynne Costantini, senior vice president of programming at Time Warner Cable; and Holly Leff Pressman, executive VP and general manager of television and on-demand at Nielsen Entertainment, concurred that most marketing efforts for technology and consumer-electronics products are aimed at men, usually the early adopters of the latest in gadgetry.

However, once the product or device takes root in the home, women are typically the largest users of the equipment, they said. As such, messages might be better directed at the distaff side of the home.

“Men may bring the DVD into the home, but women buy more DVDs,” Leff Pressman said.

“Women are the key force behind the mass marketing of technology,” Costantini said. “Men are interested in the fancy, high-tech appeal of products. Women are more interested in the value proposition. Maybe the messaging needs to be softer and we need more relationship marketing.”

That view also served to reflect another dual view of technology held by women. Cohen, citing research conducted by Lifetime, said, “80% are interested in technology and engaged” by it. At the same time, 60% felt “stressed and overwhelmed” by the advances.

Johnson noted that when it comes to convergence, women are often at the leading edge.
She said women view network programming, then go to Food’s Web site (www.foodnetwork.com) to get more information and recipes, adding, “That’s part of the way they interact with the network.”

To underline her point, she also mentioned that when kitchens are being designed these days, there are places set aside for TVs and computers. “Women are leading the way for technology convergence,” she said.

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