Remember last year’s “Are You Geared Up?” commercial, which pitted two men against each other in a battle for a girl, making the point that the man with the Smartwatch had a better chance of success than the man who’s constantly fumbling around with his cumbersome smartphone? While the advertisement was an obvious attempt at pushing the convenience of a wrist device, it touched on the more obvious “what a girl wants” tropes that drive a large sector of the tech market. It was also a small example of how tech companies are purposely marketing toward women, who are becoming more of a dominant presence in the tech world.
Companies are learning to go with women. The Little Miss Geek blog cites an eDigitalResearch infographic, which shows that “The rise in phone ownership saw an increase in women using them – 58% over 42% of men.” The website She-Conomy says it best: “It’s much easier to market a product your audience wants. And hearing the female voice early rather than later could mean a significant difference in your bottom line.” In a Verizon Wireless article entitled “The New Face of Tech…Is Wearing Mascara,” they used information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report that “the tech industry added 60,000 jobs, and more than half of those positions—60 percent to be exact—went to women.”
So, it makes perfect sense that tech companies are moving in the direction of targeting women with their products. Next month, when Samsung releases its new phone, the Galaxy S5, one of its selling points will be that it’s both dust-proof and waterproof. Some places are already finding ways to spin this feature into something that will attract women. For example, this article entitled “Samsung Designs Waterproof Galaxy S5 for the Shower” implies, in a very obvious and strange way, that the phone will become every woman’s bathroom accessory. The only problem with this is that the waterproof feature was probably added as a protective measure instead of a go-ahead to submerge the phone in water. Now, add the fact that the article in question is accompanied by a photograph of a businesswoman sitting in a portable toilet rather than taking a shower, and you have all of the workings of female-targeted story.
In Samsung’s case, marketing to women might be a great idea following some of the criticism it took last year over a television ad for the S5’s predecessor. Still, the company has been making considerable ground when it comes to reversing consumer’s brand loyalty—especially among women who used to have an allegiance to iPhones. Mobile Marketer reports that “Samsung has slowly been stealing typically brand-loyal iPhone users away as Apple loses some of its edge, which will likely continue into 2014.” It then goes on to identify women as the majority of these “vulnerable” iPhone users.
But however they’re described, there’s no denying that women are the key to growing profits. And as that same Little Miss Geek article points out, “Two 17-year-old girls from Central Foundation Girls’ School in the UK, through Apps for Good, have actually designed a gardening app that impressed private mobile investors.” So, gradually, younger generations of women are making sure that they won’t have to worry about being targeted by marketing. Instead, they’ll be the ones in charge of making and marketing the products.
About our guest blogger: Sara Upton is a newcomer in the world of online journalism. You can find her writing about a number of different topics, but her favorite is tech and how it relates to the advancement of women in the industry.