During the summer, I wrote an article, “What’s She Really Thinking?” in which I declared how tired I am of trying to explain how to communicate with women. Most advisors in our industry are men, and it’s understandable that they want to do a better job, since women are getting really wealthy (on their own and, yes, by outliving the boys!) and aren’t too thrilled with financial services providers. Big problem, big opportunity.

Why Vacuum When You Can Just Use Dynamite?

In my job, when I am focused on marketing to advisors, I have the opposite problem: How do I make sure men are responding to my marketing and communications? Here’s an example: I’ve been building a marketing piece that talks about how we clear the path and reduce clutter for advisors on our platform. The creative designer did a great infographic with an icon of a vacuum cleaner. I knew what it was immediately, but my male colleagues didn’t. Not saying they don’t vacuum, it just wasn’t imagery they “got.” We changed to a stick of dynamite. They loved it -- dynamite it is.

I decided to ask three experts who work with advisors every day to describe how they translate and focus themselves as women when they are targeting men. They’ll also tell you how they would approach things if women were the audience. I’m hoping the comparisons -- like my vacuum and dynamite example -- will be a better way to help you than all the usual tips on marketing to women.

Three Wise Women

My expert panel includes Beverly Flaxington of The Collaborative, Suzanne Bergin of Bergin Communications and Brittany Liberatore of Gregory FCA. I presented each one with the same question:

When you are marketing to a predominantly male target audience, how do you translate so that your visuals, tone and content appeal to men?

Flaxington: I work with mostly male clients, so I get a lot of practice at this! The number one rule is not to be soft. I definitely don’t tread lightly when delivering information; instead I state a clear objective, or I answer with supporting data. The more confidence I can show, and the more it seems like “fact,” the better my male clients receive it. I don’t find many men who want information sugarcoated. They generally want “just the facts, ma’am” as clearly and succinctly as possible. I find that men do like a friendly smile and interest shown in them and what they are doing. While they may want to get to the point, they like to know I’m sincerely interested in them and their point of view.

Bergin: When marketing to a predominantly male audience, I focus on two things: the hook and the takeaway. The hook grabs the audience’s attention and makes them want more. This is where you can have the most fun targeting a gender-specific audience. Think “Fourth and Goal Tax Strategies” versus “Lean In to Year-End Tax Strategies.” Same core content, different hook. The takeaway is the one thing you want remembered. The “be-quick-be-smart-and-be-gone” approach works well with male audiences. It requires the use of high-impact words, crisp content and a clean design so as not to dilute the takeaway or distract the audience.

Liberatore: Many of my clients are male. For this audience, I focus on the facts, keeping my language straightforward, in factual, black-and-white context. The good thing for me is that this is my natural way of dialogue, in both the personal and professional setting. I always keep a confident, leadership-type tone with male clients, considering I am leading their PR initiatives.