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Is Your Book Targeting Both Genders?

Jul 25, 2008
You talk to a lot of people about your book, but do both men and women hear you in just the same way?
The answer is probably no.

It's not a question of chauvinism, sexism, or any other "ism," for that matter. We're just geared differently. And the more you know about these key gender/marketing differences, the more books you'll sell. It's that simple.

So consider these differences the next time you do a radio, TV or print interview to promote your book.

"Just the Facts, Ma'am" Versus Telling the Whole Story

According to the great "Marketing to Women" book by Martha Barletta, a book I often refer to, men tend to strip propositions down to the "nuts and bolts," to the bottom-line reasons for buying or not buying.

And the faster they can do that, the happier they are. Think of this as a sort of Dragnet, "just the facts, Ma'am," buying philosophy.

Women, on the other hand, tend to be more information driven. You could say, the more information, the better, almost the opposite of men.

Martha Barletta says women are looking for "the Perfect Answer." Now I realize this is a generalization, and there will always be loads of exceptions to any "rule", but women tend to want more "surrounding" data than men do before acting.

You might try testing the above research in your next interview, talk about your book in "headlines," outlines and shorthand if you're selling to a predominantly male audience, but tell as much of the whole story as you can if you're selling mostly to women.

And, as I wrote before, if you're speaking to both genders, blend the two approaches. Decide ahead of time how to present the nuts and bolts case as well as the "inside scoop."

Maybe begin a new interview direction by doing a quick outline that covers the basics, the facts, then launch into stories that flesh out the topic, and just repeat that formula until the interview is over.

There's another thing you need to know about marketing your book to men and women.

The Value of Warm and Fuzzy

If you'll forgive another seeming cliche, women tend to care about the things they buy. Here's what Barletta wrote in her book:

"Remember that women's gender culture is geared toward empathy rather than aspiration." She goes on to write about a hypothetical SUV ad campaign that might have particular appeal to women, it wouldn't talk in terms of "our 270 horsepower engine" but instead of our "4,000 pound guardian angel."

Simply put, if you're doing media interviews to promote your book, you will be talking to a split gender audience, so it's vital you know how to tailor your message to both men and women for a successful campaign.

Also, despite these various appeals to women, don't make the rather large mistake of "going pink." That's when companies make an obvious "women-only" appeal. It doesn't work. Women will only consider it corporate patronizing and end up resenting you.
About the Author
For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI. Go to http://www.publicitythatworks.com to claim your free "Power of Public Relations" video today!
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