Have you thought about marketing to men?

Maybe you should.

In this article, we’ll look at Duluth Trading, a company that isn’t all that different from L.L. Bean or Lands End except for one very important marketing move; they are targeting men.

If you’re still focused on gender neutral marketing, these tips might encourage you to develop marketing targeted to your make audience.

Will Targeting Men Alienate Women Customers?

No.  If you do this right, you’ll increase sales to men, and the women who love them.

Look, just because you choose to focus your marketing on men doesn’t mean that you’re ignoring your female customers.

I can’t emphasize this enough:

Targeting men just means that you’re intentionally taking the time to understand the buying behavior of a group of your customers.

How to Target Male Customers

Marketing to men, takes us into an area that can be littered with land mines.

Knowing the men who are your customers is critical to effectively communicating with them and making sales.

What follows is a blueprint of how to do just that with as few pitfalls as possible.

Add Humor Without Being Patronizing

The gender marketing pendulum has swung from the Mad Men days of patronizing women to the “hunkvertising” or doofus guy ads that make men look incompetent and stupid.

These extremes didn’t work for the big brands, and they will not work for a small business.

First thing we need to understand as marketers is that men and women are very different as are children and adults. Each gender has to be communicated with in a different way and on a different level.

When marketing to women, you have to be sure to think like a woman. But for men, you have to put your hard hat on.

Focus on Concrete Relatable Experiences

Duluth has targeted male customers, but their marketing copy is so entertaining that women who are purchasing for the men in their life can completely relate to the copy.

Take a look at this short advertisement for underwear from Duluth.

Deciding to sell to men (or women) brings with it the very real possibility of offending the very customer you’re trying to attract.

Duluth recognizes that the way to market to men (and the women who love them) is to focus on relatable experiences.

They know exactly who their target customer is, how they feel about clothing and how they WANT to feel about the clothes they wear.

They aren’t so focused on a specific demographic of men (although it seems that way) they are focused on mens EXPERIENCE with clothing in general. This means that even my sensitive-new-age-guy husband can relate to the?wonders of Duluth’s “Ball-room Pants”.

Don’t be afraid, shy or cautious about what it’s like to be a man

So the first of these three things that we need to do is understand how a man thinks and feels. 

Men aren’t as easily swayed by their emotions as women.

They’re more of a “just tell me what the thing does and what it will do for me” kind of person, with an emphasis on what it will do for me. That’s why you see so many bodybuilding promotions simply showing the results of their product.

For a man, a picture is sometimes all they need.  Duluth seizes on this train in most of their images.

Duluth buck naked underwear ad example

There are plenty of studies of male psychology around the Internet. To be up on your marketing skills to this demographic, it is recommended that you read at least one of these. That’s your first step in understanding what men feel and want out of life in general.

Run surveys and just plain hang out with GUYS

Next thing you want to do is conduct surveys.

Don’t believe everything that you hear and read. Find out for yourself. If you have free space on your web site, assuming you have one, place a survey box on it with some basic questions related to your product. If you’re an offline business, build a mailing list and send out questionnaires. Get as much data as you can. It’s critical to your success.

For example, let’s say you’re selling golf clubs. Golf is a typical thing that a man does in his free time, though women are into it as well. But both have different expectations out of the golfing experience (refer back to how men and woman feel differently) unless of course they’re playing on a pro level.

Ask the prospect what they want most out of a golf club. Is it the feel? Is it how far they can drive the ball over all else? How important is price? Are they more inclined to trust a brand name over a no name brand? And so on.

You can get more information out of surveys then you can by simply trying to guess. Nothing beats going directly to the horse’s mouth for the answer.

Troll the competition. Don’t just copy, look for what’s missing

Finally, and this is so easy to do, is to actually look and see what the competition itself is doing. There is an old rule of thumb in marketing. Your competition will tell you all you need to know about your target market by the way THEY approach that market. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The successful companies in your niche have already done the leg work. Look to see what the best selling products are in your niche. Then analyze the approach. This is an excellent exercise in improving your own marketing skills as you might see tactics that you might have never thought of before such as using videos or Facebook ads to reach your target market.

What you need to get, more than anything, out of this article is that men and women are indeed different and you can’t market to them the same way. Men, for the most part, are driven by power, money and sex and not necessarily in that order. They need to be in control of their situation at all time. They do not like feeling vulnerable and become very uncomfortable when they are. Don’t try to sweet talk him with how he’ll fall in love with his new Porsche. Just tell him how fast it’ll go and how all the women will be climbing all over him.

In other words, get to the point. What’s in it for him?

Do that, understand his feelings and scope out the competition and you’ll be more than on your way to marketing to a man in a, whether we like it or not, man’s world.