Published On: Tue, May 31st, 2011

Takeaways from Marketing to Men Report

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive an ‘abridged’ version of Marketing to Men a report by Mintel, the market research company. Due to the comprehensive nature of the report, work commitments, travel and a couple of blog hosting issues, it has taken me a while to fully digest its findings.

It was worth the wait. Marketing to Men is a thorough and insightful read for anyone planning campaigns aimed at men. The report offers a great insight into men including what influences purchasing decisions, media consumption habits, the different types of technology men use and importantly, what marketing channels guys are receptive to.

The study segmented men into several personality types; accomplished, cultured, exuberant, passive and uncomplicated, as well as providing an indication of how prevalent each personality type is within the UK. Interestingly, the report’s author makes the point marketers should think in terms of personality type when marketing to men, as it is more stable in comparison to behaviour, which is too variable.

My five key takeaways from Marketing to Men are:

1. It’s the Smartphone, stupid!
It is becoming increasingly clear that if you want to communicate effectively with men, you’ve got to ensure mobile is factored into the equation. The report discovered Smartphones are rated as the most popular technology item amongst men with 45% owning a Smartphone; 11% iPhone and 9% BlackBerry. Indeed, many of our client’s website analytics supports this finding; with an increasing amount of traffic coming via Smartphones. Mobile is the next digital frontier ready to be discovered by brands, but at present too few are ready to leverage its vast potential, especially with near field communication (NFC) chips around the corner.

2. Rethink ads
I would never suggest forgetting paid media as ads are and will remain an important part of the marketing mix. But, I would advise rethinking their importance when targeting men. The fact is most men avoid advertising and Mintel found 51% of men fast forward through TV advertising, 41% change channels or their activity and 34% of men bin all junk mail without reading it. These are striking figures and with such high opposition to ads, brands should review paid media budgets and employ ads to supplement activity and not lead it.

3. Gaming: not just for geeks
Its official. Gaming is no longer the preserve of Geeks. In fact the majority of men game and it is now the most popular leisure activity, behind only eating, drinking and going to the cinema cinema. The challenge for marketers is how they can help brands engage with men via games. Although the glow around Second Life has faded, there are other thriving online worlds, such as FarmVille (62 millions users) and Warcraft (12 million users). There is huge demand for social gaming and both IBM and the National Trust have used games to engage stakeholders and tell their story.

For a more detailed look at gaming and how these virtual worlds impact upon the real one, I’d recommend reading ‘Engagement Through Play: How Games Shape the New Reality’ by my Edelman colleague, Antoine Soussaline. It can be found on page 20 of last years Edelman Public Engagement essays book.

4. Don’t forget TV
We all know men watch TV, but Marketing to Men found it is the news (74%), movies (73%) and documentaries (72%) which men regularly tune in to. The challenge and rewards for marketers getting brands featured on these distinct TV types is great. However, to achieve this goal, marketers will have to focus on crafting an interesting brand narrative worthy of appearing on the news – which is no easy task. In addition, resource should be dedicated to seeking relevant partnerships with movies and documentaries, diverted away from paid media, which are proving increasingly ineffective when communicating to men.

5. WOM is the way
Interestingly, the report found that men consider Word of Mouth (WOM) the most influential source of information for buying decisions. Indeed, Mintel found 50% of men base buying a holiday on WOM, compared to just 2% for celebrity endorsements and 1% for radio coverage – both, potentially expensive tactics which are unlikely to yield results. The research suggests greater priority and budgets should be given to social activity, such as social media that generates third-party recommendations, rather than more direct and traditional forms of marketing.

With declining rates of marriage coupled with the seemingly unstoppable rise of single person households, understanding how men spend their money has never been more important. Marketing to Men is packed full of useful data and actionable insights, in particular around engagement and peer recommendations which will help in the planning stage of a campaign. If you’re developing marketing activity aimed at men, the report is well worth a read.

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at and Chief Quaffer at .

Displaying 4 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Mark Dorey says:

    Accomplished, cultured, exuberant…seems familiar! Interesting review Ben, totally agree about the fast forwarding of TV adverts. Although, I will watch them on YouTube if I know they are particularly clever!

    • Ben says:

      Ha ha! I thought exactly the same thing 🙂

      In all seriousness, marketers need to rethink the importance of paid media. The days of generic one-size fits-all ads are numbered and are slowly being replaced by online, niche and hyper-targeted ads that we see on Facebook and to some extent Google.

      Ads are and will remain an important part of the marketing mix, but brands should employ ads to supplement activity and not lead it.

  2. Intrapreneur says:

    Ben – a really useful post. I’m not sure if I should be worried that I could identify with each of those points..!

    • Ben Cotton says:

      Hi Rich,

      I’m pleased you found the post useful.

      Apart from gaming, the other points all ring home true for me as I’m sure they do for most guys.

      Having read the report, I’d definitely recommend giving it the once over if you’re developing marketing activity aimed at men.



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