Andrea Learned provides insight to Where are the Women?
I am pleased to introduce Andrea Learned, marketing to women expert and co-author of Dont Think Pink, to the readers of the blog Synergy. She has graciously consented to an interview as part of our April discussion: Where are the Women interested in the Power of We?
Andrea, what do you think of the April topic on the blog Synergy?
I wasn't surprised in your findings. It reflected both the way I tend to do things, and what I know about women in terms of the "buying" process/which can be applied to their "participation" process, I'd imagine: We may be using our online/blogging time more wisely because we want to make sure we maintain/have time for our more enriching offline life.
Paco Underhill talks about the buying angle in Why We Buy. Traditionally "shopping" is something women like to do as a social past time, and men (traditionally, again) dislike it and want to get it done quickly. Behaviors are reversed online, however (and so very tellingly, I think). Women are more strategic online, going straight to their intended destination, doing their research or making their purchase and then getting out so they can go back to "real" life and what needs to be done at the office or in the yard. Men will surf around for hours. They like meandering through the online "mall" of possibilities.
I think there is a correlation to leadership in "group" gatherings. We women want to "get it done," and have found that we can do more by taking action and moving forward for ourselves in the business realm. I read a statistic recently about how many women entrepreneurs are starting their own business, and choosing NOT to hire employees. I, for one, represent this statistic in my business and in tennis. I want to go it alone so I know how much work I can take on and guarantee it is done to my standards. I prefer to play singles tennis, because I want the responsibility for getting the shots or blowing a game.
There are specific realms where women embrace community and the social connections that come from it, and there are others where it just makes more sense, from a practical standpoint, to get the job done themselves.
Do you have any suggestions on how the blog Synergy can engage women readers?
Well, discussions like this one help where you are posting interviews with a wide variety of women. And, perhaps you could refer to the now-classic studies of women and leadership, like The Female Advantage by Sally Helgesen or The First Sex by Helen Fisher - and start to discussions from their findings. Another possibility is to look at the language you use (is it corporate-speak, for one) or how you present it.
Sharing stories of how men and women tackled a business problem, rather than framing everything in the usual labels can be much more useful/attractive for male and female readers who are looking for full-brain stimulation. A woman's brain may not separate "business" from "life" as much as a man's does. Business-y discussions, solely, don't tell the whole story for us.
Again look at how Sally Helgesen wrote The Female Advantage, with chapters like "The Web of Inclusion" and "The Leader as Transmitter." Concepts like inclusion and transmission of ideas are much more "feminine." They are words and concepts of connection, not hierarchy.
But that may be a big digression from your question. I don't think there is an easy answer about how to get more participation from women on the Synergy blog. I suspect it will just depend on topics and to your doing a little extra reaching out as you have done with this. That is a LOT more than most other blogs would do.
Excellent, Andrea. This will give us some food for thought and further discussion. Lets shift a little to provide some background and context to what you do. Do you have your own blog?
I do have a blog you can get there via my site: http://learned.typepad.com/learned_on_women/.
How does the blog fit into your overall business?
Well, because my work is all about staying up on marketing to women trends and consulting or speaking on the topic. Having a blog is a way to make sure I stay current I have to keep finding fresh things to write about. It gives me a reason to monitor a wide variety of media on a daily basis and gives me a way to connect the dots for my readers between any larger articles or books I might publish. Its also a great way to keep my speaking audiences interested in, and motivated by, the concepts Ive introduced in presentations. I see blogging as a tool to keep my writing skills up, and a way to stay connected with past and future clients and editors.
How comfortable are you with blogging technology?
Hmmm I use technology where it serves a particular purpose, but I do not jump on every bandwagon. I bought an iBook recently (did the big jump away from Dell), but didn't really pay attention to what it could do beyond my immediate needs. I already love it, but over time I will get into its full capacity and love it more. It may take longer, but I do remain loyal to technology once I have figured it out. This is true for a lot of women, I've found.
And, I am a very low-key blogger. I use the basic typepad stuff and may very slowly comprehend all the additional possibilities, but only IF I discover a need. I may start podcasting later this year, but I am slowly getting used to even how to put an audio clip on my web site. I see all the things that other bloggers are doing, and though I'm impressed, it overwhelms me to give it space in my head. I like to write therefore I blog. It's that simple. And, that's all I need to connect with people as readers and potential clients.
Did you hear of the blog Synergy before (being contacted by one of the team)?
I actually had not. Because I survey so many publications, and get so many e-newsletters, and subscribe to a number of blogs, I really filter what I'll take time to keep up with. When I got into the blogging realm two years ago, I could quickly see that it would take over my life, so I maintain clear parameters and "let it go" if I miss some amazing blog post that everyone else is talking about.
Bottom-line: I tend to form a connection with a person - which opens my highly structured blog world to new blogs. People connections, not issues, catch my interest/motivate me to participate.
Well thank you, Andrea. I appreciate the time and feedback you have provided for us.
To our readers, I would encourage you to stop by Andreas blog, Learned On Women, to read more of what Andrea has to say on The womens market deconstructed.
I would encourage you to join in the discussion of this months topic by leaving your comment here.