Monday, October 03, 2005

Men and Marketing: Are they missing something?

Through Docuticker, a link to a press release about the Leo Burnett 2005 Man Study. While readers can only see the press release, the document does provide some highlights of the study's results. The Web page also has a link to a section of surprising facts. The survey basically shows that men are not as simple (or simplistic?) as they seem to be. In fact, their (or our) attitudes can be conflicting and complex. For purposes of the study, four male segments are defined:

The Four Segments Examined:

The Metros

  • Much-hyped modern man who has adopted more feminine traits
  • Adapting to new societal roles

The Metros are more likely to agree that men should share domestic chores and be taught how to cook. They believe it is alright to show their feelings and a more feminine side to their personality. They are concerned about their appearance.

The Retros

  • Entrenched in old-school, stereotypical male behavior
  • Rejecting new societal roles

The Retros believe it is important to be the breadwinner and the boss of the house. They would be bothered if their wives earned more money than they did. They don't see their wives as equals and don't tend to share parenting duties.

The Patriarchs

  • Struggling with what makes a man successful in the eyes of other men
  • Personal motivation is home life

The Patriarchs believe that having children and being a father are the most important things in a man's life. Everything they do, they do for their family. While they don't shun career advancement, it is not what makes them tick, and they struggle to find work-life balance.

The Power Seekers

  • Struggling with what makes a man successful in the eyes of other men
  • Personal motivation is career

The Power Seekers play to win and chase after career advancement. They admire men who can push themselves to the limit, and hate to show signs of weakness.

All these men share a view of the world that is distinctly masculine. However, the way marketers speak to them—and with them—depends on the way these individual segments view their world and what is important to them. Throughout the study, it became apparent that most of the men we spoke to had become both aware and informed by the social and cultural forces shaping their lives.

This is where I get to wonder what happens to guys who do not quite fit into one of the four molds. For instance, I highly value doing things for my family, which according to the scheme would make me a patriarchal male, but I also believe in sharing the chores and the household (I had a mom who made sure her three boys would know how to cook, iron, etc. because, in her words, "no woman would come do it for you."), which would make me a metro male, though I am not exactly very keen on personal appearance (I am a jeans and tee guy). Maybe me wondering about this reflects about the complexity of male identity, or I am just a bit messed up? Or maybe I ask too many questions. In my case, I think males are a bit more complex than just four molds. Then again, some guys fit those molds perfectly.

Do keep in mind this study is addressed to advertisers and marketers, so read accordingly. It does make for an interesting glance at what makes guys tick. I found interesting some of the selected quotes from guys. By the way, they also have a link to a survey. One of the questions in the survey bothered. It asked me if I would rather be a good partner/spouse OR a good father. It was one or the other. I had to ask why does it have to be one or the other? Why can it not be both? I think I would consider myself to have lived a successful life if my wife can say I was a good mate to her, and my child can some day say I was a good parent to her. I think both can coexist, and actually, they probably should. I mean, how is a child to learn about relating to others, maybe to a mate someday, if they do not see a good example of spouses relating to each other in their parents? I am not saying parents should be engaged in heavy PDA's, but they certainly should model affection and love as partners in front of their children. Fathers should also model good and positive ways of how women should be treated and how men should behave. Mothers play their part too in this. Do I sound a little old-fashioned? Hmm, maybe, but it just seems like common sense that the answer to that trick question should be both. At any rate, readers go and have a look.

1 comment:

Mark said...

No Angel, you are NOT messed up, at least not on this count. :)

I had the exact same thoughts as you as I was reading the descriptions. And I also would have caught the highly dichotomous question if I bothered to look.

Thanks for posting this; it helps me understand why I am so mis-marketed to.