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Clues from the kids

If you give a six year old child a piece of paper and a few pens, what do you think they will draw? If you are their parent or Grandparent, it probably doesn’t matter as you will think it a masterpiece anyway, and give it pride of place on the mantelpiece/fridge/wall.

Many children have just done this as here in the UK, last Sunday was ‘Mothering Sunday’ (not ‘Mother’s Day’, unless you want to annoy my own Mum beyond words!). Cards were being lovingly drawn up and down the country, so they could be handed over with pride.

So, what do children draw if they are given the choice?

Well, it may surprise you to know that by the age of six, there are very clear and distinct gender differences in the drawings that children produce. In a study carried out in 2001, researchers found that:

  • 92.4 % of boys drew a moving object or vehicle, compared to just 4.6% of girls
  • 96.6% of girls drew a person, compared to 26.5% of boys
  • 57.09% of girls drew a flower, compared to 7.2% of boys

So what?

Well, these give us a very strong indicator of what the different genders relate to. Moreover, it also provides us with some suggestions in terms of how we can market to them.

From a very early age (i.e. a matter of hours old) female babies hold the gaze of other people whilst male babies look away. Female babies respond with interest to a picture of a human face, whilst male babies only show such interest in a picture of a car or an aeroplane. Debate the age at which it starts by all means, whether it is caused by nature or nurture perhaps, but the evidence that females are generally interested in people, whilst males are generally interested in things, is hard to refute.

So, what does that mean for your marketing? It means you need to think about these two groups differently. You need to ensure you reach both of them in ways which they will respond to, and it means you need to apply this knowledge throughout all of your customer interactions in order to not only get, but keep their custom.

Who would have thought six-year olds could teach us so much about securing and maintaining market share?!