As I was developing an initial Pinterest strategy and presence for a client, I was challenged to review and develop one for Gentlemint and DartitUp, two similar sites that are geared to a largely male audience. Once I completed the initial set up for the targeted audiences on Pinterest, I began my research into uncharted waters of the male pin board social media world.
First off, I’m not a girly girl. Under no circumstances could I pass for a fashionista, I don’t scrapbook, and a lack of practical coordination keep me from crafting (yeah, that’s the only reason.) Developing the Pinterest part was fun, because I could be someone else, scrolling through looking for users and content and having a great time while I channeled the various audiences and pinned with targeted abandon.
Gentlemint and Dartitup were not so easy. I had made jokes about what type of content I would find, using the standard stereotypes of cavemen who either hang out at local legion lodges or big box home improvement stores. I initially entered both sites, expecting Pinterest for Men, and was not disappointed. That’s what they are.
I couldn’t log into Dartitup because I couldn’t pass the “Bro Compatibility Test”. I realized I as I looked at the questions they were asking, that back when I was younger the disparity of the genders should have been clearer. We both watched McGyver, and together made it a hit show. Those of us of the gender preferring goofy animal videos and pictures watched for the star, who we considered hot. We didn’t care if the volume was on or not, as long as we could see Richard Dean Anderson. We never realized that the dudes we watched the show with actually thought the science behind it was real and doable.
After going through the sites it’s clear that was the case. And only now do I understand why there was such an uproar when the first Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie came out, totally acknowledging the comedy of the series that most guys never realized was the basis of the movie series.
So I ended up poking around Gentlemint. Ads along the side of one promoted a $500 leather book bag that matched the old fashioned private school monstrosities we had as kids. There were an alarmingly large number of pictures of products from microbreweries, and cars, but I expected the cars.
I persevered. I sought out my targeted audience and their interests, channeling the dudes with ‘tudes for one segment, the ironic hipsters, the cigar-smoking misogynists, the man-cave dwellers, and the deeply sensitive and dark artists who are expressing themselves through digital platforms as an outlet for their unheard voice muted by years of dating dominant, independent women who just don’t know how to love.
I found more cars. And some motorcycles, a few Star Wars references, and a strangely large amount of Beatles references. I also learned that there is a new report available that Hitler used cocaine and suffered from problem farting. I didn’t find my audiences.
I felt very uncomfortable.
As a marketer I have always prided myself in being able to put myself out of the equation and channel audience members. I have an alter ego who blogs (among other things) who is a male. I have developed successful strategies, campaigns and initiatives for men for years, but somehow I felt like I was in a peep show, looking into the forbidden workings of a club I wasn’t supposed to know existed.
It reminded me of when I logged into Physician’s Online years ago with a doctor-friend’s id. It was scary. It was uncomfortable and disturbing, but much more horrifying than the Batman symbol mustache/goatee picture I’m looking at right now. POL was a professional site where an arrogant audience has a sense of safety being able to state their views and opinions without the lesser-human general public hearing their actual commentary.
Do the pinners at Gentlemint know that we can see, without logging in, their posts, their blurbs, and their comments? Do they know that we can see all the postings of massive weaponry you guys seem obsessed with?
Before actually looking at the stats, after spending an hour or so on the site poking around and researching comments and marketing interviews about it, I can pull an audience out of it.
I can assume that the audience is the 1% male population, or aspirational 1% who are working in finance and business take overs, and plan to be able to afford the yachts they are fawning over. The shoes and accessories they are interested cost more than most cars, but the occasional inspirational posts of handicapped athletes or non-profit support shows that they are still clinging desperately to the hopes that they don’t have to sell their ENTIRE soul for the next quarter filing quotas, but secretly they know they will. That right there pigeonholes the age.
Based on that, my gander at the demographic of users is:
- Entitled Republican
- Metrosexuals who have never EVER used that term
- Single, but only in that they are not married or aware of any children, but probably have several women who believe they are dating them exclusively
- College graduates, but attended top schools in the North East where they belonged to elite groups and were sworn to secrecy by penalty not of death, but of banishment and public shaming, if they ever told.
- They are the 1%
- They think the 99% are merely lazy
- They have no understanding of other people
- Their dogs pity them
- I would also surmise that there are fewer than 1000 users, who post …. when they remember, which is when they first were told to sign up and then never again.
- And they browse at work only, not at home, because they’ve forgotten about it when they get home.
But here’s the thing, there’s no available stats on Gentlemint. According to the free version of Alexa, I’m pretty well on the mark. I can’t find the number of users anywhere, because anyone asking the owners questions are other dudes, and so they’re more focused on the accomplishment (coding it in 12 hours, man, on a dare) than what it’s doing, how it’s working, and what the plans are.
So all this research, exposure and trying it out, and what’s my conclusion?My male audience isn’t on Gentlemint. They might be on DartitUp, but probably only for a hot minute. They won’t come back.
My audience for this product is not there. They’re probably on Google+, but what I did learn more deeply is that guys are not posting things to get their friend’s input or suggestions. They are posting on social media sites to get guffaws and accolades. To market to my male audience I need to go more traditional routes, through tech reviews, bloggers, gaming sites. Not through Gentlemint.
So I learned a Duh lesson. And that’s time in my life I will never get back. Not to mention it scarred me a little.
Oh, and I seriously need to do something girly to cleanse the strangeness off me. I think I’ll go buy shoes.