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What is it that women marketers bring to the table that men can’t?

‘Empathy’, along with ‘intuitive thinking and perceptive skillset’, a ‘fresh perspective’, and several other factors emerged that help the women in the industry stay a step ahead of their male counterparts

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the courage and persistence of those who have had a positive impact on society and are contributing to its growth. Keeping up with the spirit of the day, tried to find out the X-factor which women marketers possess over and above their male colleagues.

It is important to mention here that ‘empathy’, along with ‘intuitive thinking and perceptive skillset’, a ‘fresh perspective’, and several other factors emerged that help the women in the industry stay a step ahead of their male counterparts.

Perception of female marketers

Pallavi Singh – Senior Marketing Leader - Mobility and New Age Brands, who has worked with BMW, Harley-Davidson and MG Motor India in the past, pointed out that one key factor is ‘empathy’. She said, “So, if you talk about what women marketers bring to the table that men can't, it's empathy, because of the nature of who we are. It just comes very naturally to us.”

While speaking about the pandemic, and how things have changed dramatically post-Covid19, she said, “In a nutshell, what people need during a crisis is what women are already trained for and that is to do with empathy. So, that’s why women, when it comes to crisis, we’re the first ones to step up and say that we have it all in control.”

To this, Meghana Dave - Head Marketing and PR, Lamborghini India, added, “Marketing is all about connecting the dots and aligning the gaps with ideas and relationships. Women with their intuitive thinking and perceptive skillset have a strong understanding of what will connect the brand's uniqueness to its users and audiences.”

She went on to cite an example of how women have been excelling in their jobs for centuries. Dave said, “Women since centuries have been a value creator in terms of being a homemaker, having control of the household spends, bearing a child, to raising the child and making the child capable of handling social, economic and environmental challenges. Hence, women can steer a strong inclusive strategy which is imperative for the marketing challenges of the 21st century.”

Rumi Ambastha, Director- Brand Marketing at The Man Company, said that women marketers can also bring a fresh perspective to the table for a brand that is for men and is led largely by men. She said, “About TMC, what a female marketer brings to the table is the fresh perspective. Because here, they too need to know the sensitive side or the other side of the opposite gender. Because of so many years of men listening that this is the right way and any other way is the wrong way. But now, there’s more female representation on the table and they’re open to other ideas, other ways of doing things. They are willing to learn.” 

Meanwhile, Ruchira Jaitly- EVP Marketing, Diageo India, said, “Irrespective of their gender, what a marketer must focus on is how you are able to bring a combination of not just strategic thinking, foundational research married with data and analytics as inputs, but also empathy with the context and the challenges in the consumer universe. It amounts to a strong connection with the consumer, which reflects really in its entirety the kind of changes that are coming into the consumer world today.

Categories that outperformed under female leadership

There are categories that have been around for ages but the influx of female marketers revolutionised them and even opened up room for new innovation.

Dave said, “Auto and technology industry is synonymous with men leading the industry. However, today I am seeing strong leaderships such as Hildegard Wortmann – a member of the board of management for sales and marketing Audi, Former Chief Marketing and Communications Automobili Lamborghini Katia Bassi, or Anjali Sud who was Head marketing for Vimeo and now the CEO of the company – changing the landscape of the industry. In India, I closely follow the works of Pallavi Singh from BMW India and Bidisha Nagaraj from Schneider Electric India.”

“Also, super impressed with women athletes such as Serena Williams, PV Sindhu and Mithali Raaj; they are advocates of marketing women strength and are shaping the future of many young female talents. They are no less than corporate marketers. I would like to highlight how Renuka Kriplani, a female senior auto journalist is influencing women auto enthusiasts and marketing the nuances of the automaker’s best products,” she added.

Jaitly, on the other hand, spoke about women-centric categories that grew exceptionally over the years and paved the way for more relevant conversations. She said, “Categories like personal care, sustainable feminine hygiene care or inner wear products, by brands and businesses like Nykaa, Zivame are noteworthy. And frankly, it’s irrelevant if the marketeers are men or women. What’s interesting is the manner of the conversation with consumers and the new business models that address the barriers and pain points. For example, subjects that people skirted around or didn’t speak of earlier, like ill-fitting innerwear, body image issues, skin colour-based discrimination and makeup options or sustainable and hygienic menstrual cycle products including menopause.”

“The way these categories have brought about a change to make the consumer feel it is ok to have a conversation about it is something that we are witness to and is extremely heartening. The other category that comes to my mind is the financial products category that actually talks to women in a far more progressive manner than they did. While earlier they spoke about what a woman would do if she lost her husband, to now asking them to invest and secure their future and helping them realise that it is in their hands, which is a very positive empowering dialogue,” she further said.

Singh, on the other hand, spoke about the IT and banking sectors. She said, “Look at the technology forms today, whether it's SAP or Google or small start-ups which are coming in the EV space, you see women in every brand. From digitalisation to technology pieces and even sciences, women are actually getting into that space a lot. Automotive is also a category where we’re seeing more women. Banking – look at all the top banks, they’re all led by women. Sometimes people say that women can’t handle finances but look at all the top banks around the world that are headed by women.”

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