Katie Martell: How ‘Femvertising’ is Failing Female Consumers

July 12 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Expert Perspective

Regardless of whether you want to admit it, you’ve bought something because of how it was marketed. If you’re a one-woman business or startup, the idea of hiring a marketing expert or agency might make you shudder. Here’s some real talk for you: It’s OK if you don’t know how to get the word out about your biz. You’ve got better things to do, girlfriend. Getting an expert on board with a specialized skill set will give you an outside perspective, save you time (no need to Google “What is an algorithm?”) and guide you to more customers. Today, scan your budget and set aside at least 2 percent to focus on brand awareness.


Efficient branding and marketing play a huge role in the purchasing process. A recent survey notes 52 percent of women admitted to buying something based on the way the product was marketed or advertised to their gender. It’s important, though, to take a deeper look at a company beyond its ads and identify whether it truly cares about women or if it’s just trying to get in their purses. (Full disclosure: On The Dot is run by ladies, for ladies. Empowered women empower other women. Duh.)

WOMAN TO WATCH: Katie Martell, On-demand Marketing Consultant

Today’s Woman to Watch has made it clear that a glossy women’s advertisement doesn’t necessarily come with the purest of intentions. Katie Martell is an on-demand marketing consultant—the kind of woman you should hire to boost your company’s scope.

Katie co-founded a customer-intelligence startup called Cintell and has served in communications roles for a few different companies. Dubbed the “millennial CMO,” Katie used her skills to tackle a problem: Companies had no clue who their buyers were. By understanding how customers think, research products, consume new content and so on, Katie has helped businesses lower marketing costs and raise results.

Along with her roles as a marketing consultant and co-founder, Katie is also co-executive director for Boston Content, a community of a couple thousand marketers that fosters innovative strategies and tips. Clients praise Katie for her “brand storytelling,” meaning she doesn’t just slap a photo and slogan together and call it a day; she develops an influential narrative that businesses can implement in the long term.

What’s most alluring about Katie is that she tells it like it is. During the 2017 Women in Digital conference, she spoke about “faux femvertising,” or the idea that while many businesses produce feminist-like promotional content, their actual businesses fail to support women. She believes femvertising is a step backward for the women’s movement, and that women everywhere must hold companies accountable by not buying their products.

Katie hopes these companies internally change their marketing approaches by hiring diverse women, providing equal pay, supporting working parents and so on. By changing their marketing practices, companies can align their operations with movements like intersectional feminism, ensuring more women feel like these businesses care about them.


I’ll leave you with a quote from the one and only Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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