What women want (in 2016)

From real words to real men, Marketelle's Jessie Sternthal weighs in on what ladies want from marketers.


By Jessie Sternthal

This is my favourite column to write. I love January. Not because my jeans are tighter, my complexion more corpse-like or my sun drenched dreams more often interrupted by snow removal sirens at 6:40 in the morning. (But those are obviously all amazing.) I love January because we’re all back at our desks ready to tackle new briefs and sell new ideas with fresh, unbridled enthusiasm and many varieties of David’s Tea. And, with so many brands continuing to market fiercely to females, I’ve compiled a list of the top eight things women want to see more of, hear more of, feel more of and share more of this year more than ever. Marketers, take note.

8. Less about beautiful. More about fearless.

For years, lots of ads and content stemmed from an (older) truth that for the most part, women have low self-esteem in the looks department. Offer a woman outer beauty confidence and she will be a happier, more desirable version of herself. Last year, we finally started seeing some insightful work that aimed to do the same thing but didn’t start in the same place. That instead, started with strength, courage, health, joying out and being nicer to oneself. Work that dialed into trying new things, looking silly doing new things, laughing at ourselves and putting ourselves out there. We liked it. And my bet is we’ll continue to do so. Fearless is the new fabulous.

7. Real words.

Women know how to read. We read all kinds of things. We read newspapers, books, articles, blogs, report cards, copy decks, nutrition labels, instruction manuals, legal documents, bed time stories and other people’s thoughts. So why must oh so many marketers speak to us in hashtags and text abbreviations coined by 14-year-olds? We love words. So let’s bring back well-crafted work that actually uses them. #Yes?

6. People being nice to other people.

Smart work that raises awareness to genuinely help kids, the poor, refugees, the sick, the elderly and the bullied is on the rise. We’re more connected than ever. And we’re seeing, sharing and caring about more stuff online than ever. More marketing for good? Yes, very good.

5. Our boyfriends/husbands/married work crushes.

Nobody’s dating Chris Hemsworth. Okay, likely somebody is, but she’s not any one of us reading this article. (…or is she?) But lots and lots of women are waking up to nice, normal, cute guys who tear up during Marley And Me and, like us, also have to force themselves to go to the gym three times a week. Nice, normal, cute guys are relatable and lovable and we kinda like their accessibility. We feel comfortable with them. We trust them. So why not more of those guys in 2016? Casting agents, you’re about to make many a man-dream come true.

4.  Permission.

Permission to be very funny. Permission to look foolish. Permission to have REAL dessert. Permission to be over 35 and smokin’. Permission to make our own rules, our own beds and our own minds up. Let 2016 be the year where everything is just OKAY and cool. Where judgment is for courtrooms only and where women can see themselves not as canvases for constant self-improvement but rather, as charmingly flawed bar-setters to all around them. (I’m on the dessert train, myself).

3.  Working moms who are also awesome moms.

How many moms do you actually know who don’t work nowadays? One or two tops. So let’s see some stuff that’s actually reflective of the times – without the expected “chicken without a head” loonyspoon super mom or the “Pinterest perfect” Martha mom. And dare I say, work that actually gives props to the hard working mamas who personally astound me constantly with how much they take on and what incredible, attentive, warm parents they are.

2.  Single and un-sad

Marketers: here’s the thing about single people in their 30′s and 40′s: they actually buy lots of things. They buy lots of things OTHER than monthly subscriptions to match.com and ice cream to sob into. (I actually know a few married people who sob into ice cream. Another piece, for another time.) So let’s honor single women – one of the fastest growing spending demographics in the county. Fact.

1. Honesty.

Amy Schumer. Tina Fey. Amy Pohler. Julia Louis Dreyfus. Patricia Arquette. AND this link.

(*Disclaimer! a little bit of worth-it swearing here)

And with that, I bid you an insightful, surprising, witty and ultimately, very very successful year.

jessie_1Jessie Sternthal is a senior writer at Marketelle.