I read stuff from all over the place. Mostly, it’s thanks to www.reveries.com, which you should check out if you haven’t already. Reveries.com pointed me to the East African Financial Standard last week, and specifically to an article called “The Female Takeover” about how women in Africa are starting to dominate the marketing field. (www.eastandard.net/mags/fs/news.php?articleid=25532)
I’m often asked if this “whole marketing to women thing” is a North American thing, a developed country thing, or a global thing. As we’ve mentioned here several times, it’s a global thing and here’s another bit of support.
At meetings of the Marketing Society of Kenya, you’re more likely to see female faces than male. Nearly 60 percent of the members are women like the marketing directors of an oil company, a major bank, an interactive media company, and Coca-Cola.
According to the article, “The revolution in marketing has been so systematic and complete that some have chosen to refer to it as the female takeover.”
Yet, Catherine Njoroge of Kenya Commercial Bank, says it’s not a gender thing. “It’s about understanding the role marketing plays in the organization, identifying the competencies needed to perform it and getting the right person to do it.”
Catherine, I don’t even know you, but I have to disagree. It might be a gender thing. The American Journal of Psychology (www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/ajp.html) has reported that there are three characteristics that seem to point to success in marketing – getting along with people, multi-tasking, and persuasion. And, it seems, women have the upper hand on these three characteristics. Women are naturally collaborative, so talking with others, even strangers, comes more easily than it might for men. Women are expert multi-taskers whereas men tend to think and act more linearly. Finally, marketing is about persuasion whereas sales is more about assertiveness. Women tend to want to build connections with others, a skill that requires persuasion rather than aggression.
A South African company has developed a computerized (those cool South Africans spell it “computerised”) to measure the suitability of candidates for a job. Seems that when they tested a male candidate for a marketing job and a female candidate for the same job, it returned very interesting results.
The man was classified as “gregarious, mobile, conventional, accurate, assertive, verbally aggressive, influential, alert, active, competitive, and asks who and how.” The woman was observed to be “inquisitive, logical, shrewd, manipulative, competitive, impatient, energetic, alert, direct, independent, an achiever and asks why and what.”
Hmmm. Wonder who got the job?