03/11/10

By Claire West

Women consistently prove to be better than their male counterparts when it comes to brand marketing, according to Professor Mark Ritson of Melbourne Business School. And it’s because their brains are better suited to it.

Ritson , associate professor of marketing at the school says, “One of the most common observations in my brand strategy class is that in the case studies, the women consistently outperform the men. It’s actually become a bit of a running joke in the classroom — senior male marketer produces average or horrible result. Female marketer repeatedly produces a superior approach.”

He adds, “If I was to list the top 10 marketers I have worked with in my career, the list of women outnumbers the men. Despite the fact that the vast majority of my clients have been male.”

According to Ritson the reason behind this lies in genetics. Women’s brains are hard wired for empathy, can read non-verbal messages better and have a far greater ability to convey sympathy. By contrast, men generally struggle with the challenge of understanding others.

“There is, perhaps, no greater skill for a marketer than empathy. Women are genetically geared towards being empathetic from before they are born. In the womb, men’s brains are affected hugely by testosterone which destroys cells in the communication centres of the brain and a growth of cells in the sex and aggression centres. This doesn’t happen to women’s brains and so they continue to grow unaffected”, he says.

But that’s not all. Ritson goes on to say that women’s brains are better suited to combining qualitative and quantitative research, have a greater attention to detail and are more able to treat each new client as unique, rather than putting them into groups based on previous experiences — something men, Ritson says, are prone to do.

He adds, “It’s important to remember that we are exclusively talking about marketing. I do believe that women have an edge when it comes to this discipline but it’s a matter of fit. It could equally be argued that men are better suited genetically to being successful finance people or logistics analysts.”