Effects of gender marketing on consumer behaviour

Seminar Paper 2007 22 Pages

Business economics - Offline Marketing and Online Marketing


Table of Content


Gender differences

Theoretical models
Centrality of visual product aesthetics (CVPA)
Selectivity Model



Managerial Implications and Further Research



Consumers decision-making styles are supposed to represent a durable cognitive orientation towards shopping and purchasing that dominates choices. Therefore they should be important to marketers because they are linked to purchase behaviour and sales inseparably (Mitchell and Walsh 2004).

Bristor and Fischer (1993) stated, “gender is a social concept referring to psychologically, sociologically, or culturally rooted traits, attitudes, beliefs, and behavioural tendencies. Because gender is a pervasive filter through which individuals experience their social world, consumption activities are fundamentally gendered.”

When Gender Marketing was developed in the United States 15 years ago, it evolved out of the diversity approach. To realize that men’s and women’s needs are different and that products are not gender neutral was just a logical consequence out of the practice with differing consumer needs within different ethnical, religious or cultural groups (Flocke 2006).

The main goal of gender marketing is to implement differing needs of men and women into the development, distribution, price setting and communication of products and services. Maintainers of this approach consider it as important because of the emerging differences between men and women in their way to articulate consumption desires, making purchase intentions or evaluate products (Flocke 2006).

According to Mitchell and Walsh (2004) “males and females want different products and they are likely to have different ways of thinking about obtaining these” (:331).

The aim of this paper is to find out how the commitment to a product is increasing by using gender specific advertisement compared to gender neutral advertisement. Therefore, after a short overview about stated gender differences in the scientific literature, it will discuss three different theoretical models in order to design a testing method: the CVPA (Centrality of Visual Product Aesthetics) as an approach to identify customer concerns about visuals, the selectivity model to discover gender differences in information processing and finally the C-S- construct to detect affections to either connected or separated advertisement appeals.

After the evolvement of several hypotheses according to the used models the proposal provides a method for testing the stated presumptions and end up with managerial implications and suggestions for further research.

Gender differences

Gender is frequently used to implement segmentation strategies. As suggested by Darley and Smith (1995) there are three main reasons for that: (1) gender is easy to identify, (2) gender segments are accessible (most media provides information) and (3) gender segments are large and therefore profitable.

According to the literature in this field there are several significant gender differences across a huge variety of tasks and traits. Due to limitations of this paper it will provide a short overview about the most useful differences concerning to purchase intentions.

Mitchell and Walsh (2004) stated in their work a lot of particularities in male consumer behaviour:

Men demand for clear structures and symbols of status, while women are more likely to emphasize on interpersonal relationships. Therefore, men are more likely to support a product which is improving their status in society, while women want to intensify, improve or express relationships. Men are also less tended to engage in active information provision to other consumers. Moreover they are less likely to be impulsive as well as compulsive buyers and more likely to engage in variety-seeking purchasing.

Meyers-Levy and Maheswaran (1991) stated that males “engage in less detailed elaboration of commercial messages than females and be less likely to engage in a detailed and thorough examination of commercial messages which involves extended decisions based on product attributes” (:64).

Males are compared to females usually more analytical and logical and also tend to prefer simplifying decision heuristics (Mitchell and Walsh 2004).

“In terms of personality traits, men are reported to be more independent, confident, competitive, externally motivated, more willing to take risks, especially with money and less prone to perceive product risk than females” (Darley and Smith 1995: 43).

About the used language Croft et al. (2007) stated “that the language women use is designed to make connections and to reinforce intimacy: men, by contrast, use words to establish status and to delimit their independence”(:716). They also found out that “males tended to speak more neutrally about specific topics, whereas women were more inclined to refer to subjects in either a positive or negative manner”(:718).

All this leads to the notion that males and females will approach shopping differently. Men and women are looking for different kinds of product benefits and qualities. Focussing on these different needs of men and women in the development, marketing and communication of products, specific groups can be targeted more efficiently.

Identifying and understanding gender-specific preferences will lead to different kinds of marketing advantages in highly competitive environments (McIntosh 2007). An overview with advices how to reach different genders effectively is provided in table 1.

Table 1

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Roberts 2004.

Theoretical models

According to Mitchell and Walsh (2004) “evidence suggests that gender differences exist in the aids used to arrive at buying decisions as well as in the decisions themselves” (:332). How does the usage of gender specified marketing affect customers commitment to a product? In order to give an answer to this question and to design a testing method this article will use three different theoretical models.

As an approach to identify and measure customer concerns about visuals the used model is the CVPA (Centrality of Visual Product Aesthetics). The usage of this model enables statements about the impacts of gender specified designs on consumer purchase intentions.

Secondly, the selectivity model is used to discover gender differences in information processing. The fact that women and men process different types and amounts of information cues is an important factor for the design of gender specified advertisement campaigns.

Finally the connectedness-separateness-construct is used in this paper to detect gender specified affections to either connected or separated advertisement appeals. In addition to the selectivity model the C-S-construct is the second important factor for the advertisement design.

In the following literature review below the three models are described in detail.

Centrality of visual product aesthetics (CVPA)

Bloch et al. (2003) defined in their work about individual differences in the centrality of visual product aesthetics CVPA as “the overall level of significance that visual aesthetics hold for a particular consumer in his/her relationships with products (:552).” Therefore, consumers who scores high on the CVPA are expected to concern for visual aesthetics higher than the average, no matter in which category of products. “The CVPA reflects an enduring concern with the aesthetic benefits provided by a product” (Bloch et al. 2003: 561).

Based on this theory CVPA consists of four related dimensions:

(1) personal and social value of design (2) acumen (3) level of response and
(4) design determinancy. These dimensions are described in detail below.

(1) Personal and Social Value of Design

First element of CVPA is the perceived value of visual product aesthetics as an instrument to enhance personal and social quality of life. High Scoring consumers tend to believe that received rewards from aesthetic properties of products improve their live quality by producing substantial benefits or allowing satisfaction of higher- level needs (Yalch and Brunel 1996). These consumers may define themselves partly by the value design plays in their life and are also likely to believe that fine design is valuable to society generally (Bloch et al. 2003).



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Effects Understanding Consumer Gender Marketing Gender Diversity Marketing



Title: Effects of gender marketing on consumer behaviour