- Posted August 6, 2013 by
Do prospects in the online marketing industry accept women as a fully-fledged conversational partner?
All information shared in this article is based on personal views.
Here is the story background: I am the CEO of an Internet Marketing company by the name Projectweb. We deal with clients mostly from Greece so we have a steady flow of inbound and outbound communication with prospects on a daily basis. We also employ a lot of cold-calling hours promoting our services to businesses and webmasters.
The company is a small business with few people working for it, and different tasks appointed to each one. We have the tech staff (programmers), the sales dpt, the accountants etc.
Among the programmers there is one woman, who is in charge with the clients' communication (getting feedback, sharing advice, sending out quotes etc) and assisting to our SEO projects. She implements all programming tasks pretty well and soon will be an expert on the field, yet the only issue is that prospects evidently do not trust a woman holding the phone on the other side of the line and giving them advice or asking things about their web sites. They might not even engage in an online conversation through email but try to skip her and go directly to the male programmer.
Evidently, there is a clear difference between the online marketing and traditional advertising on how women get acknowledged.
Male prospects seem to trust more a man's voice regardless of the expertise of their conversational partner. Of course we tried to overcome this barrier by employing various methods that would help her gaining more 'authority and trust' in the prospects' eyes as there is no real deficiency and she would accomplish the task efficiently if they let her 'breathe' a little. What we did is that we made her sound more 'techie' than usual particularly when addressing male prospects, using her advanced knowledge of our industry during the conversation, getting into details and asking advanced stuff.
I regret to say, we did not have much luck. For some male prospects, a woman's voice seemed an obstacle to their reaching for the 'man in charge'. They used all kinds of excuses for not sharing information regardless of their web site issue not until they spoke with a male programmer. This fact seemed totally unacceptable by us.
We kept on trying to change this mentality and it worked for a few people. There is a lot of work to be done in this direction and we will not stop fighting this 'discrimination'. We strongly believe we will be more successful in the future, as people see more women involved in our industry. When the time is right to understand that there should be no boundaries between the two sexes in a such a competitive technology field, where there is too much information shared daily and so much expertise in need.