Emerging Gender Identity Trends and Your Marketing Voice / by Katie Bolin

I received a really thought-provoking comment on a recent Facebook post for a retail client of mine.

It was sparked by a post that began with “Today's the day ladies!!” about an event we were throwing that coming weekend.

“Is this event open to folks of all genders, or just ladies? Asking because I'm a non binary trans person, and I know other non binary and male identified plus sized people in our local community who would love your clothes!”

I’m so happy this person reached out and commented on this post, because it’s something I’ve thought a lot about to be honest. Even though my client sells clothing designed and tailored to women’s bodies, what does that mean in 2017? Post-Caitlyn Jenner, Facebook’s 58 gender options, half of millennials agreeing that gender is a spectrum, and review giant Yelp listing if restaurants have gender neutral bathrooms?

Does it mean that you’re exclusively selling to your definition of a woman, or are you happy to make a sale to anybody who has a need for your product?

Part of my job–or any marketer or advertiser–is to get more of the target, paying audience through the door. In a weird way, it’s a sort of a beautiful part of capitalism: One that accepts everyone for who they are (as long as they’re willing to be a customer). This is definitely an oversimplified definition, but you get my point: As long as our marketing strategy is bringing in more paying customers, the boss is typically very happy.

At first I was a little worried there weren’t going to be many English options to use to adopt a more gender-inclusive vocabulary. But then I realized there are actually a lot to choose from to address a wider audience without excluding potential non-conforming customers:

  • Everyone

  • Everybody

  • Folks

  • All

  • Stars

  • People

  • Friends

  • Fans

  • Minnesotans (or whichever city/state you’re in)

  • Pals

  • Buddies

  • Lovers (definitely depends on the audience and your brand voice, but you get the point)

Now I’ve started using “ladies and folks” to be more inclusive. It doesn’t take anything away from our majority audience who identify as women, it takes no time at all to add one simple word, AND it keeps the door open and welcome to everyone—no matter how they identify. Would love to know other marketers/business owners thoughts on this.