Why Tech Companies Should Focus on Women, Not Young Men

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News Posted: Mon, Jun 11 2012 9:46 AM
In the movie Gladiator, Proximo offers words of advice to Maximus, telling him "Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom." If Proximo was alive today and enjoyed a career as a market analyst, he'd tell tech firms, "Win the women, and you'll win profits for your investors." He might also be ignored and his advice dismissed, shrugged off as someone who doesn't understand the tech industry where young men between the ages of 18 to 35 are the most important demographic. Or are they?

Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, suggests otherwise, saying "The body of evidence amassed by Intel researcher Genevieve Bell indisputably shows that men's role in technology adoption continues to be overstated." According to Bell, women in Western countries use the Internet 17 percent more per month than men. They're also more likely to be using the mobile phones they own, whether it's for talking, texting, or using GPS services, and they're the most active users on every social networking site save for LinkedIn.

That's not all. As Bell tells it, women dominate eBook readers, healthcare devices, Internet-connected devices, and are the fastest growing demographic on Skype. Despite this, tech companies continue to put the majority of the focus on young men. Madrigal points to a tweet by Asus that shows just how entrenched the idea of men leading the charge as technology adopters really is. Sometimes it's more subtle, like a handful of Apple ads for FaceTime that showcase men using the technology.

Image Source: Apple

The question, then, is why do tech companies continue to emphasize a lesser demographic over the larger one?

"The technology industry's focus on men is reflexive and all too intuitive to the men who run the companies. And it's built on a plain wrong reading of the reality of the market," Madrigal argues.

Madrigal might be right. A year ago, Inc.com reported how women in technology face an uphill battle. Based on the numbers at the time (and they may have changed since a year ago), women make up half the U.S. workforce but comprise only 25 percent to tech related jobs, which means the tech field is dominated by men at a ratio of 3:1.
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acarzt replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 11:25 AM

When new tech and gadgets come out, I tell my wife about them, and then she wants them... She has more gadgets than me. She has 2 nooks, a Galaxy Tab, 2 ipods, an Evo 3D (Which she is trading in for an Evo 4g LTE next month) and a Zenbook...

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It's known that women are more likely to "want" something new and are more likely to keep up with trends. My friend's parents used to say "Fashion(seasonal) is for the ladies, style(doesn't change much) is for the gents" LOL.

Why the companies market primarily to men, as stated by the women in the article cited, is wrong IMO.I know people who work sales capacities in various industries. The fact is, men still earn more money than women do on average (whether you think its "fair" or not is not a discussion I'm interested in, just stating facts) so perhaps they go after men, because a few things can happen: the man buys what's being sold for himself, or he buys it for a lady in his life or some other similar scenario.

Yes, this may be an aging model that may need some tweaking as our society changes (more women earn their own money in a little more significant amount than in the past, for example), but it still is functional to some extent, at least outside consumer electronics .

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wil2200 replied on Tue, Jun 12 2012 7:59 AM

". The fact is, men still earn more money than women do on average (whether you think its "fair" or not is not a discussion I'm interested in, just stating facts)" ==> Men also work longer, harder, don't take as much time off, and do more dangerous work. That is the 'fact' you are looking for.

"how women in technology face an uphill battle" - women have the same or even better opportunities than men when it comes to education and thus career choices. Is it now suddenly society's fault that women choose not to do math, science or technology in general?

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