Women over 40: is your brand connecting with them in a meaningful way?

Written by Kaia Vincent
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marketing to women over 40

Women over 40 are NOT all the same

Women over 40 tend to be lumped together in one group when it comes to marketing – we are not homogeneous; we have a wealth of different life experiences behind us and can be at different stages in our lives. Some women over 40 can have university-age children, babies, toddlers or no children, and we can be trailblazing our way on a career path or even having a career change.  It’s also important to remember that ‘over 40’ isn’t one identical age group either, it  includes women in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and so on; empty nesters, grandparents, retirees and workers. We are a disparate group of people with different wants, needs and priorities.

Money, money, money

Traditionally advertising sticks to gender and age stereotypes when it comes to promoting domestic products, which is infuriating as it maintains the myth of sex-based division of labour in the home. In a 2018 US survey, 76% of women said they feel brands play a negative role in the perception of women over 40 and 80% feel brands perpetuate negative gender stereotypes. There’s certainly more to us and our lives than just shouldering the responsibility of cleaning and running an orderly home.

Considering that women over 40 have major spending power, the survey also revealed that 64% felt brands systematically underestimated their influence on the family’s purse strings. As a group they have a lot of disposable income, and as the UK is an ageing population the importance as demographic will only grow.

So where does this disconnect come from? Belinda Parmar, Founder and chief executive of The Empathy Business says,

Older women and men are an under-exploited and ignored audience. It is not seen as sexy for many marketers, despite the commercial gain, because often the people creating the marketing are men in their 30s and therefore unconscious bias means they are developing marketing and advertising for themselves. The perceptions advertisers have of older people is 20 years out of date, which leads to clichéd, lazy marketing.’

What can brands do?

  • Include the women who buy your brand in your marketing – if you’re targeting 50 years olds ensure that you use real women so your audience can see themselves in your story, rather than someone more than 30 years younger.

  • Hire more women 40+ – and properly listen to their views and ideas.

  • Don’t stereotype – ditch the pink and don’t always believe female equals pink, fluffy and flowery because colours are gender-neutral so use the whole colour spectrum in your comms. Give accurate representations of all women by featuring them in your campaigns and giving them visibility. Challenge your own beliefs what about it means to be a woman in her 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

  • Uplift and celebrate women in your campaigns – sexist stereotypes and misogyny do not belong in the 21st Century so ensure your campaigns reflect the inclusive values of the 2020’s. Don’t make assumptions about how women feel about themselves as they could and should be embracing and celebrating their age rather than lamenting their youth.

  • Be honest – with lots of life experience, women over 40 will see straight through any insincere and phony campaigns and won’t connect with your brand.

Brevity can help you connect with the groups of 40+ women

Do you have a product or service that needs to reach this group and you’re not quite sure how to best approach it? Brevity is an all-female team of marketing and PR professionals who will support your brand to get the right message to the right people to make your business flourish.

To talk to us about tailoring your marketing, campaigns and PR to your audience, email hello@brevity.marketing or call on Basingstoke 01256 536 000 and Brighton 01273 286 771