Why Stereotypes Are Bad For Business


Stereotypes are bad for business. The current marketing landscape is awash with brilliant tools that can help you to better understand what makes your audience take action, and how you can drive engagement across your marketing portfolio.

You would think that by now, the wider marketing industry was past the point of using what can only be described as harmful stereotypes to inform marketing activity… well, sadly that’s not the case. Surprisingly, brands and marketers are still making decisions based on outdated assumptions that just don’t reflect the reality of today’s modern world.

Don’t get me wrong, some generalisations can be helpful, but more often than not, introducing our personal biases and opinions to the marketing process can cloud our judgements and be detrimental to marketing success.

Why Are Stereotypes Bad for Business?

By their very nature stereotypes are very impersonal summarisations of a group or category of people. They essentially gather some stand out traits of a selected group, and apply that same understanding to each individual regardless of whether it applies or not. An example of a historic stereotype is that all girls like pink. Or that motorsport and anything related to cars is for men.

Whilst there are of course women out there that love pink, and men that are into fixing up their cars.. this doesn’t apply for the mass population as a whole. In a recent micro-study of purchasing habits in the motor industry, we found that women actually outnumbered men when looking at the total number of vehicle sales by gender. So… this essentially goes against any statement suggesting cars are exclusively of male interest when looking at purchase power alone.

Can we avoid stereotypes all together?

In short, yes. When designing campaigns, or building marketing strategies for our clients, one of the biggest components of their creation is research. Extremely thorough research.

By looking at data, profiling historic transactions/purchase history and looking at additional data sources we can accurately build gender neutral persona’s that are unbiased and are made up of facts rather assumptions.

With this approach, we have been able to save our clients thousands of pounds in wasted marketing spend by focussing the conversation(s) they’re having with potential consumers to the channels that deliver the greatest return, and allow ad spend to be allocated to the areas where it can deliver the greatest ROAS.

Final Thoughts

By harnessing the power of data, and combining that with our understanding of emotional and behavioural science we can develop persona’s that speak to the true needs of your audience, on an emotional level and offer a heightened sense of relevance in the eyes of your ideal customer.

When building advertising programmes, we make use of interest, behaviour and online activity data as the basis of our targeting rather than relying on outdated perspectives of male/female preferences- and achieve a greater level of cut through than we would be able to from using a more generalised approach.

In addition by continually reviewing data points such as sales attribution, traffic sources, and geographical data we can plot an accurate map of exactly where your customers are to then advise ongoing marketing efforts from both a digital and offline perspective.

Essentially by utilising the plethora of marketing tools, and investing the time in upfront research that presents a detailed understanding of your ideal customer, you can save yourself a lot of time, and more importantly money. Ensuring that you make time to continually interrogate and back up your understanding of who your customer is, and what matters most to them, you can make changes where necessary and become an increasingly attractive proposition to your audience(s).

If you liked this article , and want to hear more about our approach to marketing and personification as a whole, drop us a note using our contact form to arrange a call with a member of the team. Better still, pop in for a coffee!