It used to be easy to tell women from men according to my grandfather. He said they were the ones who danced backwards. Times have changed and nowadays it is not that simple. So why do we bother to collect stats on subscribers based on gender with our email marketing software?
There is a bus Shelter in Oxford Street that plays a video for the charity Plan UK only if a woman or girl is looking at it. Whilst the charity would not refuse money from men, as they support poor children they feel it would appeal to women more. The sophisticated face recognition software used to identify women and girls is about 90% accurate. One feels for the poor women whom it ignores. Read the article here.
There is a fair amount of research which shows that despite women and men having similar reactions to advertising overall there are some significant differences. For instance men like sexual imagery while women go more for lifestyle ads. Whether this is nature or nurture is not an argument for here.
There is little doubt that targeting your marketing emails on a gender basis can be useful. The benefits will vary from product to product and the only way you will know if it is worthwhile for you is to experiment. It is easy enough using email marketing software to check the results.
Many might feel that the Plan UK differentiation as to whom it is displayed to is nothing more than a gimmick to publicise its charity. If so then it is very clever. Reports suggest there are queues of women at the shelter with, no doubt, the occasional nervous man. That should not deter you from testing its usefulness.
Try splitting your email marketing list on gender lines. Check the returns on your email marketing software and the results will show if your design was received better by men or women. If so then try modifying it towards those who were less impressed.
Do not go over the top. Subtle can work wonders. A mother and child replacing the high powered suits in offices might give an increase in ROI. Your email marketing software will show you one way or the other.