One of the consequences of the 2008 economic decline was that more men found themselves unemployed than women. With “traditional” gender roles turned on their head, savvy marketers used the opportunity to adjust their marketing strategies and conduct some research about this new demographic who are wielding purchasing power typically associated with women.
Meet the Manfluencer™. Yes, it’s trademarked.
Midan Marketing, lead by account executive Julie Murphy conducted focus groups among unemployed and underemployed men, who were now taking on the task of food preparation, grocery shopping, and making purchasing decisions. It turns out that 47% of men in the US fit this definition.
The results of the focus group research is fascinating. Among these manfluencers, almost half said they were responsible for all of their household’s cooking and food preparation. Fifty-eight percent do all the grocery shopping and three-quarters clip coupons.
If Midan’s survey of 900 men is truly representative, the data suggest that 73 million American men are manfluencers, and 27 million of them are clipping coupons. “We just couldn’t believe how high these numbers were for men,” says Murphy.
The results of their research has produced marketing strategies more directed at men. Packaging has been redesigned to attract the male consumer for products such as frozen yogurt (“brogurt”) and cold brewed coffee. Even granola bars have been branded to appeal to men.
When pressed, [Adam Carstens, director of research at Hult International Business School] admits that when buying meal bars, he prefers Nature Valley Protein Bars. Carstens didn’t realize that marketers use the keyword “protein” when attempting to appeal to men. “So then I am susceptible to [that kind of marketing],” admits Carstens.
But shopping habits aren’t really that different for men. “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? We thought [the differences in shopping habits] were going to be earth-shattering, and there would be so many differences between genders. But we found they’re very alike.” says Murphy.
Men make grocery lists (77%), 72% comparison shop, and more than half seek out coupons. Even certain details of product packaging “for men” don’t necessarily appeal to them.
Carstens notes that while he prefers the “protein” granola bars, he found the all-black packaging of Danon’s new Pro Yo frozen yogurt for men off-putting. “I saw the black box, and I was like, ‘Whoa that’s too strong.’ The Nature Valley protein bars box is very friendly–it’s no big deal, and it’s not in your face.”
Said market researcher Murphy “The biggest thing we’re driving home is, you need to know who your target is, and don’t just assume it’s a ‘she.'”