The many stages of women (oneupmanship on the 7 stages of man)

3 Jun


We’ve all heard of the 7 stages of man. It still resonates despite the fact that Shakespeare wrote it over 4 centuries ago. Marketing  in the 16th century was literally at the market.  And what was available to sell and buy? Only what was needed and very little of what was wanted – unless you count sackcloth vs silk, of course.

These days we are bombarded with advertising, but do we know who we are marketing to? We’re not so sure.

Let’s move forward to modern day life. The homemakers, housewives, househusbands, parents, mums, dads.  Perhaps marketers ought to remember that these people are actually… people. It sounds obvious, doesn’t it?

However so many brands are way off the mark in their understanding of this demographic –in particular women aged 25-44. The biggest consumers of mum stuff, and household stuff. They buy a fair amount of make-up too. And clothes.  Probably substantially more wine than the alcopop generation too. Let’s face it, when you’ve dealt with family life all day you need a large glass of something with which to wind down. Just not in a wine bar, because a babysitter is impossible to get on a Weds night, and actually too expensive, and you want to crash out on the sofa in front of Masterchef anyway.

Who are these people in reality? We know their ages, likely locations and income. We know that women with small children are less likely to be in full time work and may be working part time or not at all (who came up with that?! They obviously have never spent the day in the company of toddlers; it is work; and hard work too!)

What I’d like to moot is that they are different women at different times of the day.

Here’s scenario number 1

7am to 9am

Let’s assume that our mum here has school aged children. Maybe aged 5 and 7.

This is harassed mum stage 1 (see later stages for harassed and exhausted mum). Don’t believe any parent who says they are super organised; those people send their children to bed in their school uniform to save time in the morning.  The real mum is the woman who is grateful for the advert on the back of the cereal pack because it gives the kids something to look at, or more likely, fight over. This is the woman who gets out another cereal pack so they each have something to distract them.

Some parents allow TV watching as an alternative option. It has never worked for me as it distracts from the actual eating which is necessary to prevent meltdown at the next step (which superwoman above has cleverly avoided) – getting dressed.

There will be more attacks on the nervous system of the modern woman here insomuch as her nerves are likely to be shredded when dear daughter refuses to wear anything other than her Hello Kitty knickers; which are in the wash. Joy.

Advertising gets the kids too. In fact they have already eaten Coco Pops for breakfast, despite the alarming sugar content, as they saw the advert on Nickelodeon and pestered mum into buying them. Modern mum just can’t be bothered to fight that advertising behemoth so any breakfast will do, (just bloody eat it!)

Eventually the kids are dressed, packed lunches are ready  (in the Ben 10 and Hello Kitty lunchboxes, of course) and all manner of branded treats are thrown in. No more sandwich, apple and unbranded crisps for today’s under tens.

At some point this morning our modern mum may have grabbed a shower and possibly even applied a little makeup. This is more likely if she has either risen well before the children or has a significant other to supervise the little darlings. Note – all perfectly made-up school gate mothers will have both of these, and will also have used TV as a distraction for the children.  She’s wily if she has to be.

Out of the door, off to school, quick chat at the school gates (unless it’s raining) and then our modern mum has a brief respite; for the hours of 9 to 3 she becomes an individual. A shopper, someone who can pop to the loo in peace, an internet surfer and modern woman. See stage 2.


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