International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8. But, how can you use the day to benefit your sales as well as womankind? I’m taking a look at 3 Marketing Ideas for International Women’s Day that do both.
Think the world is fair for women? It’s not. Here are some stats that illustrate why we should all care about Women’s Day:
- The World Economic Forum has projected that correcting gender segregation in employment and in entrepreneurship could increase aggregate productivity globally by as much as 16%.
- 60% of women from all racial backgrounds experienced unwanted comments or jokes about their gender.
- Women only hold about 10% of the top executive positions at U.S. companies, with women making up just 5% of chief executives of S&P 1500 companies. (Silicon Valley Bank, Women in Technology Leadership 2019)
- Recruiters are 13% less likely to click on a woman’s profile than a man’s when she shows up a in a search. (Glassdoor, 50 HR and Recruiting Stats for 2019)
- Female job seekers/workers are 50% more likely than male job seekers/workers to cite CEO misbehavior as a reason to drop from the recruitment process.
- Less than 40% of countries provide girls and boys with equal access to education. Only 39% of countries have equal proportions of boys and girls enrolled in secondary education.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, it will take the poorest girls 60 more years to complete primary school, than the richest boys.
- Of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults, 2/3 are women. The share of illiterate women has not changed for the past 20 years.
- Each extra year of a mother’s schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5% – 10%
- An educated female population increases a country’s productivity and fuels economic growth. Some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys.
International Women’s Day History
According to the United Nations, International Women’s Day started in America in 1909, when the Socialist Party of America took to the streets to honor garment workers who had protested against inhumane working conditions the year before. The following year, the Social International established Women’s Day in Copenhagen to celebrate those working for women’s rights and universal suffrage.
In 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland celebrated the first official International Women’s Day. More than one million people attended rallies focused on suffrage, representation, education, and workers’ rights. Since 1975, the holiday has gained awareness around the globe as a way to recognise women.
Fueled by an ongoing mission to empower women around the world, this year’s #EqualforEqual encourages individuality with the message that everyone’s responsible for their own thoughts and actions, while collectively each of us can help create a gender equal world. It may seem that using Women’s Day to sell products is unethical. So let’s find a balance. My 3 marketing ideas for International Women’s Day are designed to benefit everyone.
#1 Highlight The Women Behind Your Products
Highlight the women using your products and working for your organisation. Perhaps you can also promote products from female designers or ones that highlight a female specific issue? Perhaps it’s a shirt with a powerful message or a product range made by females? Make sure you are clear that the promotion will end on x date to create a sense of FOMO and a clear call to action (CTA). A note on this, the vast majority of men support women’s day and what it stands for. Don’t exclude them from your marketing campaigns. This is not an “us V them” situation.
Warehouse teamed up with Rosa, a UK-wide fund dedicated to women and girls, to celebrate International Women’s Day.
They asked 5 women including designer Esme Young, CEO Nafisa Bakkar and campaigner Bryony Gordon, to share their stories. The landing page includes a video with interviews of the women. There was also a nod to the women who’ve worked on the project at the end of the landing page, which gives a behind-the-scenes look and makes it relatable.
Alongside the campaign, Warehouse hosted a panel discussion and sold t-shirts with 100% of sales going to Rosa.
Storytelling is huge right now so tell the stories of the females behind your brand. I love how author Khaled Hosseini does this on his site that promotes art and jewellery made by Afghani women. As a consumer, I love learning the stories behind my purchases. How were they made, how did they benefit the women who made them? For example, this little clutch bag I purchased last year, is made from burkhas by women looking to rebuild their lives after war and oppression.
Make sure you get the word out with a targeted email, PR campaign and social media updates.
#2 Care About Issues That Affect Women
Following conversation around their Just Do It campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, Nike released a similarly striking video titled ‘Dream Crazier’.
Nike said the video “shines a spotlight on female athletes who have broken barriers, brought people together through their performance and inspired generations of athletes to chase after their dreams.” Narrated by Serena Williams, ‘Dream Crazier’ features footage of female athletes, including Caster Semenya and Kathrine Switzer, who have achieved success despite facing adversity.
Don’t have the Nike marketing budget or Serena Williams at your disposal? No problem. Brands of all sizes can care about issues that affect women without a huge budget spend. Examples may include
- Lobbying government for free sanitary products
- Making a stand on the lack of women in power
- Campaigning for better education for girls around the world
- Joining forces with local women’s shelters to raise awareness
- Raising awareness for key issues like literacy, violence against women or gender discrimination
- Standing against human trafficking and modern day slavery
Remember, it’s essential to pick a cause that’s authentic. There’s no point in objecting to the lack of women in power if your entire board of directors is male. (I have worked in an organisation who did this) You can show you care with a company video, blog post or social media update. At my agency Contentworks, we support the charity Room to Read which aims to improve literacy among children, especially girls who are often forgotten. Gender equality and the right to an equal education is something Contentworks feels extremely passionate about.
Our team tweets updates from the charity, urgent appeal information and good news stories in our regular blog roundups. If you are aligning your brand with a charity then don’t forget them after Women’s Day. Bonus points for following up on this later in the year when you have achieved your goal.
Brands donating for Women’s Day this year include:
Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet – the brand has teamed up with London-based artist Lakwena to advance the artist’s messages of empowerment. The company is donating 10% of sales to LifeWay Network, an organization fighting to end human trafficking by raising consciousness and providing safe housing and mentorships to survivors. The collection is available at aliceandolivia.com, as well as select retailers.
Banana Republic is donating $100,000 to CARE, an organization that focuses on the advancement of women and girls around the world, in recognition of International Women’s Day. Directed by Banana Republic creative director Len Peltier, the campaign challenges the traditional notion of where, how and why we work and what we wear to do it.
Saks Off 5th – the brand is partnering with nonprofit Girls Inc., for the second year. Together, they have created the Gold Vermeil Paperclip Chain, a necklace that honors the connection of women. The necklace will be available exclusively for purchase from March 3 – 31 in Saks Off 5th U.S. stores and online at Saksoff5th.com. To celebrate the partnership, events will be held at Saks Off 5th locations in New York, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Dallas. Twenty-five percent of the net proceeds from the sale of the necklace during the events will also be donated to Girls Inc.
Puma is supporting girls and women in sport around the world by giving away ultraviolet laces, the official color of IWD. For each pair given away, Puma will donate one euro to Women Win, a global leader in girls’ and women’s empowerment through sport. To be “Forever Tied Together” on that day, Puma is also launching a social media initiative with its network of ambassadors, athletes and social fans to sport the laces. In total, the brand will make a donation of up to 100,000 euros. The laces will be distributed with every Puma footwear purchase on Puma.com and at the New York flagship store from March 1 – 8.
#3 Give A Gift
CEOS everywhere take a sharp intake of breath! I don’t mean give free gifts for everyone, unless of course you can. There are plenty of ways to acknowledge and reward shoppers that will still increase your ROI. Here are some ideas:
- Create a discount code for Women’s Day. Sure, you won’t be the only brand doing it. But do you want to be the only brand not doing it? A discount code can be applied to consumer shopping carts for the week of Women’s Day. Or better still, just the day to create FOMO. You can set conditions such as *for orders over $50 or *applied to a certain range.
- Give a free trial for Women’s Day. Promoting a new product or service? Offer it free for a limited time only. This might be a free trial size cup of your latest coffee. Or a trial beauty product when the consumer checks out online. Be sure to package your offer to be exciting and fun for Women’s Day shoppers.
- Create a fun offline vibe. If your business is offline then create a fun vibe with flowers, balloons, cake or treats. Team up with local florists or cake shops to offer visiting customers a special treat. Bonus points for creating a photo booth corner and a hashtag that you can monitor later.
Women’s Day 2020
- The International Women’s Day theme for 2020 is #EachforEqual, which reminds everyone that it’s on each of us to help create a gender equal world. Last year, the International Women’s Day 2019 theme was #BalanceforBetter, focusing on the importance of achieving a gender-balanced world.
- Ahhh hashtags. You’re going to need those. The main one is #WomensDay followed by #EachforEqual, #IWD2020, #InternationalWomensDay, and #SeeHer.
I hope you enjoyed reading 3 Marketing Ideas for International Women’s Day. If you did then hit that share button! How are you celebrating women’s Day? Tweet me @charli_says