The major political parties need to better understand what women want, according to the women’s advertising agency reportedly behind a Liberal Party campaign to improve Tony Abbott’s image.

According to The Australian, the Liberal Party has hired Splash Consulting — an advertising agency which specialises in marketing to women — to build a stronger connection between the opposition leader and female voters.

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Despite drawing closer in the polls over the last few months, Abbott is still struggling to entice the female population, a problem compounded by Julia Gillard’s replacement of Kevin Rudd as prime minister.

Splash managing director Amanda Stevens would not confirm the veracity of The Oz story to Crikey, however she did say it was “important” for political parties to know “what women want and what they think and feel”.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out women’s voting decisions have changed, compared with a generation ago,” she said. “Back then a lot of people used to vote how their husbands voted. Marketing to women is not a niche, their opinion is very critical when it comes to elections.”

To understand what women want, Splash gathers specific data on how men and women differ from a neurological perspective by employing a “scientific” approach known as ‘SheMarketing’.

According to the company’s website, the SheMarketing approach “is a way of thinking” that can help organisations “harness the power of the purse”:

“At its heart is the SheMarketing Maximisation Model, a ten-step approach to attracting, retaining and maximising a loyal female customer base. It is the key to building and benefiting from a long-term relationship with women and turning them into walking advocates for you brand.”

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Amanda Stevens is adamant political parties focusing their attention on women will not see any detrimental effect in their standing with men.

“The biggest misconception is that when you market to women you are not marketing to men,” she said. “There is an old saying: if you meet the expectations of women you often exceed the expectations of men.”

Crikey spoke with other marketing research companies about selling Abbott to female voters but they were either not willing to comment or had not heard of SheMarketing.

Peter Fray

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