"Even children’s comic book makers do it…"

Well, in Japan, anyway.

Comic book makers for schoolgirls and boys in Japan offer different fare to boys and girls…so that BOTH groups buy those comics like crazy, not just the traditional boy market.

In their June “Japanese Schoolgirl Watch,” Wired magazine notes, “Anyone who thinks schoolgirls and boys enjoy the same fantasies needs to bone up on shojo manga.” The Japanese comics for gals are the antitheses of typical boy titles, they write.

“In the series for guys, Dragon Ball Z, for example, robots are death machines and sound effects of pitched battles (bwa-whoom!) are common. In the series for girls, like Absolute Boyfriend, bots (=robots) are cute guys…stories get interspersed with shopping tips on clothes and cosmetics…”

Note that even the titles fit the gender preferences – so that each group will buy them. Dragon Ball Z, vs Boyfriend. Dragons versus friends. Pitched battles versus caring for the bots (guys) and the giving of tips to look better. And they sell so many comics to both groups that they’re translated into English now.

The different marketing approach designed for schoolgirls versus the boys was the focus of the piece in Wired.

Don’t such preferences grow stronger inside most children as they become adults?

The recruiting and sales training practices of nearly every company I know focuses on the male style and idolizes the accomplishments that only full time men or women can attain (read: big money). Rather than developing approaches to fit women, who are 80% of our sales force and customer base, and most of whom are 5-10 hours per week, I guess they figure the male way is enough.

How we doing so far? Well, does the 95% drop out rate tell us anything? Remember that 80% of the people IN the business are women, so we know who’s dropping out, yes?

Madison Avenue is trying to catch up, too. Women, 51% of the US population today, are suddenly the majority. There are BOOKS about marketing to this new majority “Marketing to Women”.

Shall we catch up, too, for the benefit of the 10.4 million women trying to create something of their own in network marketing?

The latest thing we did is create a way for the thousands of women who are looking for some support to come together once a month, on the phone, all together. We created a new society for ourselves: “Nylon Woman Society”.

Let me know what you’re doing.

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About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Kim,

    We’re making progress little by little!

    I’ve secured a committment from my current favorite program to create parallel marketing efforts.

    I’m still working on the training side of things, but at least the message isn’t they typical male message… now it’s one of “talk less, listen more, ask about sharing, and follow up”.

    No more of the old hit ’em over the head puke ’til they say yes stuff!

    We will overcome, one program at a time!

    Shari Thomas
    Forest Grove OR

  • Just be careful that you don’t oversimplify too much with the manga reference. It is true that manga for girls has really revitalized comics in the US (who had given up on girls, and kids in general for that matter, as readers). It is also true that they tend to emphasize different things. Still, it also challenges other common beliefs.

    For instance, one of the most popular titles in the US has been Love Hina, a romantic comedy aimed at boys. Petshop of Horrors is a horror anthology aimed at girls. Basara involves a female protagonist who must dress up as a man in order to impersonate her dead brother an battle against the king oppressing her people (however her and a prince of the enemy fall for each other while not knowing each other’s identity).

    Also, one of the fastest growing markets in the US is titles involving two beautiful guys that fall for each other, but written by and for girls instead of for gay men.

    Generally manga for girls will have a greater emphasis on relationships and men will be drawn as very attractive, but the range of things built on top of that also accounts for the popularity.

    And the mention of Absolute Boyfriend is actually kind of ironic. Typically, the storyline of a protagonist who falls for a robot in manga has a male lead, like in the popular series Chobits. It is part of the bigger umbrella of “magical girlfriend” stories. Absolute Boyfriend reverses the old forumla by having a boy robot and girl protagonist.

    Something like Dragon Ball takes fighting, brotherhood, and muscles to an extreme that you won’t see in much manga for girls. But on the other side, Angel Sanctuary goes to the extreme of angst, incest, angels, demons, and willowy beauty. No less dark and bloody than many titles for boys, but just with different focuses.

    If you look at the lineup in the new Shojo Beat manga anthology (coming to newstands in a couples of months), the titles range from robotic boyfriend, gothic mystery with a male protagonist, modern romantic drama involving two very different women with the same names (and some rock and roll), a tomboy volleyball player, a boy who has to raise his little brother, and a crossdressing girl who aspires to be a samura.

    I think that is what marketers really need to take away from manga as a lesson. That different techniques are needed than those aiming at boys, but also that the ladies are varied in their own tastes, so there isn’t a magic bullet.

  • Shwan:

    You are absolutely correct, there is no magic bullet.

    But in our field, the fact that there ought to be a difference in marketing and content to men and women at all, is the lesson they have not learned yet.

    However, once they get there, they can hopefully make the kinds of distinctions you document – for different wants of women – right here.

    Thanks for your very insightful post.

    You gave me a wonderful and quick education in the world of comics and anime content.

  • Hi Kim,

    I listened to the call with Kathy. Excellent call and I’m so glad that you’re telling it like it is! That doesn’t happen very often in our industry.

    I’m very upfront with people and sometimes people don’t like to hear the real truth and sometimes
    people like to shove things under the rug and keep stuff from newbies because maybe they think it would push them away.

    In the long run it’s always best to be upfront and honest.

    I love your training style and recommend your tapes and books to my team and everyone I network with because what you train on is the REAL deal!

    It’s taken me years and years of going through the refining fire to learn how to help people get what THEY want. First though I had to GET IT!

    Thanks again for being real and for always giving it to us straight!!

    Sue Seward
    Lake Jackson, Texas

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