Men’s Wear CEO Summit: Marketing to Men

Matthew Willcox of the Draftfcb Institute of Decision Making gives marketers a leg up.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 03/31/2011

When it comes to the differences between men and women, the truth might be overrated.

This story first appeared in the March 31, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“The question is, ‘Should marketers think of men and women as different?’ ” said Matthew Willcox, executive director of the Draftfcb Institute of Decision Making.

“Really, it depends,” he said. “Despite the differences between gender that seem obvious to us every day, in much of the behavioral research that we’ve reviewed…there seems to be little difference between genders.”

It’s not as if women aren’t good at multitasking while men are bad at it, Willcox said. In fact, both men and women are bad at multitasking. And 95 percent of decision making by both men and women has an intuitive or emotional base, he said.

But Willcox said it doesn’t matter what the truth is as long the target audience believes the stereotype.

If men believe they make rational decisions and not emotional ones, Willcox said, “by all means feed that back to them, exaggerate it, make it comedic, make it poignant to get your target nodding along with you and agreeing with you. You’d probably be wasting money telling them otherwise.”

But knowing the truth about how men make decisions can give marketers a leg up.

“Remember that they are just like women and that they make the emotional and intuitive decisions,” Willcox said. “Understand how your customer sees the world in order to make the connection to them, but understand the realities about how they behave.”