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1/31/2008
08:14 PM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
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Does This Storage Make My Butt Look Big?

This is a curious link to follow if you agree that women as storage buyers: A) Are aliens B) Constitute a completely different species C) Need to be spoken to like prostitutes (the "Pretty Woman" Julia Roberts kind, not that Theresa Russell sort)

This is a curious link to follow if you agree that women as storage buyers: A) Are aliens B) Constitute a completely different species C) Need to be spoken to like prostitutes (the "Pretty Woman" Julia Roberts kind, not that Theresa Russell sort)For the record, I think women as a storage-buying demographic are tremendously under-served. So I was a bit taken aback by tech marketer Andy Marken's freewheeling newsletter, e-mailed today. It's an extended riff on how tech vendors have missed the boat when it comes to getting half the world's population to buy their products, even if Marken recycles every tired, sexist stereotype in the process.

He posits that terabyte-capacity home storage devices fill up quickly because somebody (Ladies: He means you) is storing digital photos, music, video clips, personal videos, and other presumably feminine media. Sadly, he leaves unexplored the issue of whether iPods are capable of delivering an estrogen rush.

Marken points to ad agency research that found "women don't want to be patronized with pink stuff but rather products that are sleek, [and] well-designed." And he cites camera manufacturers that have introduced "female-friendly devices." I have no idea what that means. But it did remind me of a colleague's rant long ago about these ridiculous homes-of-the-future displays at trade shows showing computers in kitchens for storing recipes. Convenient, digital, ultramodern. Not at all feminine.

Women, Marken continues, use the Web for more than just "women only" sites; and in fact account for a large portion of the gaming audience/user base. Then this cringe-inducer: "Women don't control all of the decisions and purchases in a family or relationship…just the ones that count. Or as Vivian/Julia said [in "Pretty Woman"], 'I can do anything I want to baby, I ain't lost.'"

Maybe that's not the best archetype to use for illustration. Where this all leads? The idea that women don't feel particularly listened to when it comes to technology purchasing. I may be terrifically offbase here, but don't all customers want to be listened to? And at the risk of generalizing, maybe men are more inured to retail indifference. Or maybe women are tired of seeing male buyers treated differently.

Should female buyers of storage and other technology be treated differently? In what way? Let us in your comments below. I, for one, promise to listen.

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