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The Feminization of Technology : What it Means for Your Businesses

feminization technology update choicesWhen most people hear the phrase “the feminization of technology” they immediately form a picture in their mind that looks something like this:

It’s a fun image, and funny. Definitely worthy of a chuckle, but the phrase, and that image, drives home a valuable and fundamental point. Men and women tend to look at the world, and by extension, technology, in very different ways.

Actually It’s About Adaptability

When you think about it, using the heel of a high heeled shoe as a makeshift hammer, or a butter knife as a makeshift flat head screwdriver makes a fair bit of sense, and be honest, who hasn’t pulled the old butter knife trick at least once in their lives? Show of hands. That’s what I thought.

Here’s another example of how wide and deep those differences can be. When I go to the store, before I leave the house, I’ve mentally mapped my route. I may not know where I’ll park the car, but I’m not picky and will take the first open spot. Once inside the store, I know what aisle the thing or things I’m looking for are on, and I know the shortest route to get there. I’m in the door, at my selected items like a cat on a mouse, at the register to pay, and back out the door before you can make a cup of coffee.

When my wife goes, she drives around the parking lot for sometimes ten minutes to get a space two slots closer than the one she’s been driving past the whole time. Once inside, she’ll test half a dozen shopping carts to get the one that has all four wheels rolling smoothly. Then she starts at aisle one. Slowly, methodically making her way down each and every aisle of the store. Stopping to check deals, stopping to check her shopping app, maybe going to customer service or the cashier’s desk to check on a deal or confirm a price, and then the hunt continues.

Even if there are only three items on her list, she will invariably scope out every potential deal in the place, and check at least two hundred prices before she makes her way to the items she actually went to the store to get. Sometimes, she comes home with just the three items on her list. If it’s a good “deal day,” sometimes she comes home with much more than that.

There’s something to be said for her methodology. She finds great deals. There’s something to be said for my methodology . It’s fast and uber-efficient. Neither is necessarily “better” than the other, they’re just judged by different metrics.

You Have Two Main, Distinct Markets

Your company’s products and services are used by two fundamentally different types of people, who measure its usefulness with very different yard sticks. One of the best things you can do is start a product focus group and include both men and women, of varying ages. Ask them how they use your product. Ask them what they like best about it. What they like least. The answers, and specifically, the differences in the answers of people of different genders will surprise and amaze you.

Several years ago, one of the major American auto-makers did an exceptionally smart thing. They invented the “mom test.” Initially, it was a focus group, led by women engineers, that invited women to come look at the company’s newest model minivan. These ladies tore the minivan to pieces, examining every aspect of it, from how easy it was to get an infant car seat in at various positions in the car, to how many cup holders there were, and how big they were. No detail was too small, and the end result was a hugely better (and more successful) car that was designed mostly for women.

Woman Power

Here’s something you may not have known. Women make more than 60% of a household’s total purchases. If your products and services aren’t designed with women in mind, do you imagine that you might be losing market share? Might it be worth at least a token effort to see what you could change, and how you could change it, to make your product infinitely more appealing to the fairer sex?

At the start, the title of this piece posed a question you may not have given much thought to. The answer is simply this; if you’re not embracing the feminization of technology, you’re probably losing business. I’d start today.

January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am