Consumers need to be aware of gender based marketing and how this influences the market segments and the consumer psychology of today’s products. This is especially true for toys.
Many consumers are more knowledgeable these days about children’s toys and are on the hunt for specific characteristics of a toy (educational, awareness, development, safety), but before a toy is purchased it is usually wrapped in smoke and mirrors by marketers and on the shopping floor; which cleverly dictates in what isle your child is supposed to select their toy based on their gender.
Consider the many toy isles of popular stores, you will usually find that these have been segmented according to gender. The toys for boys isles are full of blue packaging, trucks, cars and cricket bats, while the girls isles are populated with Barbie dolls and every shade of pink.
Some feel very strongly about this topic and have even called for a stop to gender based marketing. Two campaigns of thought include the UK Let toys be toys campaign and Australia No gender December campaign both believe that stereotypes limit thinking of our children. Some believe that this is an outdated concept and that we end up labelling our children.
While some products and large stores hold onto their traditional footing of gender based marketing, some organisations (with the use of clever marketing techniques) have moved to gender-neutral products. Toy makers know that by segmenting the market into demographic groups, they can sell more versions of the same toy. While one approach has been to sell the exact same product in a different gender-segment, the other approach is to market products around themes.
What other gender based marketing techniques and approaches have you seen of late? Do you consider gender-neutral the way forward for your children? or are you more comfortable with traditional toys for boys and toys for girls approach? Do marketers dictate what we buy in the end? Does market segmentation work well in this space?
Video – Hear from the end consumer