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No stereotypes for no-label men

News, 03 February 2017
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LONDON: Marketing to men has largely developed beyond the boorish bloke to embrace modern dads and the "new man" but now needs to evolve yet again and to throw away labels altogether, an industry figure believes.

In a Warc Best Practice paper, How to market effectively to men, Scott Manson, director of content at OgilvyOne London, notes that "men can be gay, straight, trans, a bore, a lad, a geek or a god" in today's developed markets.

"Increasingly, there are no labels, no boundaries and no judgements, " he says.

An overview of "the manscape" reinforces that statement, with men increasingly seen as multi-faceted, capable of being, for example, lorry-driving fathers who cry at films like Finding Dory.

So, Manson's first guiding principle is to ditch the stereotypes. "The one-dimensional images of men as useless cooks, hapless dads, geeks, or sex-obsessed lads are as outdated as the typecast housewife," he states. "Don't dictate to men who they should be."

Instead, marketers need to use data-driven insights to understand their audience and its customer journey and to then establish the role (and type) of marketing content required at each stage.

Another principle is that brands shouldn't be afraid of tackling issues that are important to modern men such as mental health, money worries, and sexuality – particularly if it's done in a sensitive manner.

Manson also suggests leveraging the power of influencers – or 'manfluencers' – to make a marketing message more authentic. "The more virtual a man's life becomes, the more he hungers for something genuine," he advises.

And, perhaps more than anything, "good marketers should create advertising that is useful as well as entertaining and engaging". In this context, content can be particularly effective in promoting a value exchange – "they give their time and attention in return for something of genuine worth from you".

The editorial section of Mr Porter is one example of a brand doing this well. "From fashion advice to cooking tips, and wellness to music trends, it's incredible that, at its heart, this is simply a shopping website," says Manson.

Data sourced from Warc

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