Tories court women and the F-word is impressed. Lib Dems say…

…well, to be honest, not very much, or at least not much that I could be find.

The Tories on the other hand have managed something I don't think I for one thought would ever happen. They seem to have pleasantly surprised Lynne Miles over at the F-word with their report on women's issues. And if they can do that with a bunch of women who identify themselves as feminist, think what they can do with the average female floating voter! OK, so it's not a call to arms by the F-word to vote Tory, but she hasread it, analysed it and has found:

'…as a statement of intent at this stage I can find far more that I like about this document than I don't like'.

Which from someone, like Lynne, whose admission that she does not consider herself a natural Tory is kind of like the understatement of the year, is enough to raise my eyebrows!! Clearly, it'll be a while before the Tories win Lynne over (!!!) but then not all female floating voters 'aren't natural Tories'.

In fact, if the US Democratic primaries are anything to go by, as a constituency, women's support is vital if we are going to make the breakthrough to 150 MPs in the next two elections.

So, why is it, that we do absolutely nothing to court such a powerful and, let's face it, easily identifiable constituency or, should be say, market segment? Or is it just my perception that we're not doing anything?

In an effort to look at what we put out there, rather than what the papers chose to report I looked at our own website as that is at least one place that we have total editorial and marketing control over.

During February out of 142 news items posted to the Lib Dems site we only found time to say two things about women specifically one statement by Sarah Teather on the strong action required to tackle the gender pay gap and Lynne Featherstone and Lorely Burt on the 90th anniversary on women's suffrage. That's 1.4% of our press releases listed on our own website.

However, we did find time to list releases on such vote winners, with of course significant potential constituencies that surely rival the constituency of, oh, just over half the nation, such as rogue parking companies, tube unions, fluoridation in water, football ticket touts, Tory proposals on lottery funds, two stories on ambulances, government casino policy, the Rover enquiry and Hill Farmers.

Of the two press releases we did manage to get out both were reacting to something, rather than proactive, the first on the publication of a report and the second on the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage. Looking in the Lib Dem main site search results for women it seems that we generally do need something like International Women's Day to say anything at all! And the press releases we put out didn't really say anything very interesting at all, probably took less than 3 minutes to write and well, I'm not exactly surprised they didn't get picked up in the press.

Of course, that's not to say that none of our other releases are on topics uninteresting to women, not at all. But given there is so much going on now, not least the impacts of the local government pay equalization, you'd think we wouldn't wait for some big anniversary or centenary to say something to women. We need to move our communications strategy away from, to use a corporate analogy, communicating our different products to everyone and working out what is of interest to different markets/constituencies.

We seem to be able to cope with this idea when it comes to geography, why can't we seem to get our head around it when it comes to other demographies?

To be fair (or maybe to just stick the knife in deeper) from the look at the variety and patchiness of press releases it doesn't look like we've got any real marketing strategy at all. There are a few notable exceptions re: Northern Rock, Brian Paddick etc. There is much room for improvement, some of which will hopefully come out of the Bones Commission but in the mean time, I think addressing our policies and talking to 'women', bearing in mind the influence they can have on votes, wouldn't be a bad place to start. Oh, and speaking as a well educated, successful and politically aware woman, I wouldn't find it patronizing at all! Oh no!

You know, to return to the corporate analogy, we have a great product (our policy), with a really good distribution channel (our campaigns) but no bloody marketing strategy at all!! If we don't sort this out then we can hardly look surprised when all the female floating voters go trooping over to the Tories without considering us a viable alternative.


Back to Home Back to Top Jo Christie-Smith. Theme ligneous by Bloggerized by Chica Blogger.