The traditional messages to reach high-powered male attendees might not be as effective with their female counterparts. Women, like men, want to know the key features and benefits of your meeting, but they also want to know the specifics, the deeper context, and the potential impact of what you propose. These key points might help guide your marketing efforts to reach this group.

Women Are People-Powered

Traditionally, we market meetings according to the facts and features of what we have to offer, such as CE credits and networking opportunities. But women seek more.

“Women look at the next level—how these features can impact people, because they truly believe that people are the most important element of any event,” says Martha Barletta, author of the newly published book Marketing to Women. A 1995 survey conducted by Grey Advertising revealed that the majority of women wished to leave the world a better place. Men, in contrast, preferred to leave a mark on the world. It’s a subtle—but important—difference. You need to create an emotional appeal to women; for instance, when marketing a medical meeting, you need to show how your program will improve the lives of patients.

Networking: A Waste of Time?

This may come as a surprise to many marketers: Despite women’s deep concern for the human element of what they wish to learn, they do not necessarily want to use program time for networking or socializing.

“Women are focused on the task at hand, the work,” says Barletta. “Using a business meeting to extract favors from ‘friends’ makes women uncomfortable, so networking doesn’t hold the same appeal as it does for men. So, too, many golf outings or social hours built into your program can actually irritate women or discourage them from selecting it. They feel it is an outright waste of their time.” Balance traditional networking opportunities with discussions or roundtable luncheons.

For more tips, watch for the July/August issue of Medical Meetings.