What Do Women Really Want? The Use of Sensuality in Advertising.

What do women want, and how do you write copy for them?

  1. How do you advertise a product (such as a face/body cream) to women?
  2. How do women experience a product and how does it differ from men?

It seems to me that in order for a male copywriter to write copy for a female, he should try to understand how a woman thinks. As a woman, my answer is: we are not thinking, but feeling. I once heard that men are visual–that they respond most to what they see. I believe that women are generally more sensual in nature — meaning that they respond to all the senses, but less to the sense of vision than men.

I myself prefer very simple, natural products, and in fact, make my own from simple ingredients and essential oils. I do not want to use anything with artificial ingredients or chemically-made fragrances. However, I think most women want to hear (intellectually) that the product will make them look and feel younger.

When I apply a body or face cream, the faculty of vision takes the backseat to the senses of smell and touch. I luxuriate in the scent of the cream, and the fine, smooth feel of the lotion on my skin. I love how my skin smells and feels after the application, and I love it even more if the scent lingers for hours. I used to buy a cream from a store in NYC that I put it on every morning— I could still smell it on skin at the end of the day.

So, engaging more senses in a woman can really attract her to a product (or to a mate! Guys, pay attention; be more sensual if you want her to stick around). I’ll repeat the same advice I gave a client when she consulted me about how to write copy for her natural skin care line.

I recommend what I like to call the 3-pronged approach: appeal to the potential customer’s PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL bodies (in that order).

1. PHYSICAL. Appeal to her senses:
Use sensual words to appeal to her innate sensuality: write copy that engages her imagination, and her senses of touch and smell.

2. EMOTIONAL. Appeal to her desire for beauty (youth):
Include copy that tells her that she will look younger, and that her skin will be healthier and brighter with repeated use. Imply that the product will make her more appealing to others.

3. MENTAL. Justify the purchase:
If you still have room on the bottle or on the ad, now help her justify her purchase. Justifications include: expensive price, health, beauty, convenience. These are potential obstacles if not justified. Once justified, they often turn into benefits.

However, none of this will fool the woman who loves natural products or who is savvy enough to know that no chemical will make her skin younger or make her skin healthier. I like to adhere to the adage: “truth in advertising.” So if I cannot truthfully stand behind a product or service, I don’t engage these people or companies as clients.

Natural is the word most women like to hear, but the commercial products available in the stores are rarely natural; therefore I would caution against the use of this word. It is my belief that it is increasingly important that corporations tell the truth. Beyond the fact that it is ethical to tell the truth, the power of User Generated Opinion will eventually expose the untruths and misdeeds of corporations and business/political leaders everywhere.

 More on social media marketing, read: Squawk! Social Media for the Solitary Bird

The only companies left standing will be those who tell the truth, those who provide excellent customer service, those who don’t pollute, and those who treat their employees well. This is called CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and it will become ever more important around the world, as the use of viral mediums like YouTube allow the consumers to communicate with one another.

Copyright Aliyah Marr


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