The Advantages of Gender-Neutral Marketing

July 9, 2021 | 3 minute read
Monica McClure
Senior Copywriter, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
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What might hinder your marketing campaigns without you even being aware of it?

Gendered marketing reduces your addressable audience and alienates a growing number of consumers who prefer non-binary messaging, while gender-neutral marketing actually creates new possibilities for your customers, allowing them to view your products and services free of gender constraints. To put it plainly, gender-neutral marketing is more inclusive and more reflective of our changing society.

This is especially true for Generation Z, which is 20% of the US population. According to a 2021 study published by advertising agency Bigeye, half of the Generation Z individuals surveyed agree that binary gender labels are outdated, and 56% of Millennials believe the same. This shift requires brands to evolve with their customers and requires some soul searching to determine whether current marketing is falling into gender stereotypes.

Marketing Best Practices for Gender Neutrality

Here are six ways to avoid gender-limiting practices in your marketing efforts:

1. If you’re unsure whether you’re applying gender biases to your marketing, ask yourself:

  • Are we gendering a product when we don’t need to?
  • Who is the target for this product? Why do we think that?
  • Are there other customer segments who share some characteristics with this group who might also be interested in this product?
  • Is there another way to define the audience most likely to buy your product?

2. Use plural pronouns and gender-neutral language. For example, consider using they, you, we, or us instead of he and she, and use they as a gender-neutral singular. Merriam-Webster declared “they” its 2019 Word of the Year, amending its definition to acknowledge that “they” was already widely used and can refer to “a single person whose gender identity is non-binary.”

3. Follow through on your gender-neutral language by using inclusive photography when representing customers who use your products and services.

4. Provide more options on forms than “male” and “female”—or allow the customer to define their gender as they wish.

5. Don’t segment your audiences based on traditional gender norms. When building personas, focus on buying behaviors rather than gender.

6. Beware of assuming certain behaviors based on gender—consciously or unconsciously. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning functions are based on datasets that humans generate, collect, and label. Any gender bias held by its creators will skew the AI.

Need help with your marketing campaigns to free them from bias and focus on your audience? Oracle Digital Experience Agency can help.

Brands at the Forefront

While many companies are new to the value of gender-neutral positioning and rushing to capitalize on this gap in the customer experience (CX), other brands have been focused on this for years. Here are some brands you can draw inspiration from:

  • Telfar. This unisex brand has been designing nongendered clothing for nearly 20 years.
  • Collusion. Launched exclusively on ASOS in 2018, Collusion is a Gen Z brand focusing on inclusivity, collaboration, and experimental fashion.
  • Olderbrother. The Portland-based company believes in supporting self-definition and creating garments for anybody.
  • Ijji. Founded in California in 2016, Ijji is a genderless clothing label with a goal to “create clothing that is considered and purchased with care.”
  • Cold Laundry. The brand offers a gender-neutral wardrobe focused on minimalist styling.

How to Get Started

  • Start by building diversity and inclusion into your teams.
  • Free your segmentation from traditional gendered assumptions. Test into gender-neutral segments, beginning with something simple like A/B subject line tests.
  • Build on your learnings to create more gender-neutral digital experiences for your customers. Your tests will likely reveal opportunities that a simplistic gender binary was concealing.

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Need help with your customer and employee experiences? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers, partners, and employees, even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Handling everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management, we consistently exceed our clients’ expectations, earning a customer satisfaction rate of 96%.

 

For help overcoming your challenges or seizing your opportunities, talk to your Oracle account manager, visit us online, or email us at OracleAgency_US@Oracle.com.

Monica McClure

Senior Copywriter, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Monica McClure is a senior copywriter for creative services at Oracle Digital Experience Agency. She is the author of several poetry books and a former creative writing professor. With her background in fashion ecommerce, she enjoys bringing elevated, surprising approaches to storytelling in the consulting space.


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