Itâs been difficult to go onto any social site over the past few months without hearing about Pinterest. The upstart, which focuses on letting users âpinâ things that interest them, has been blazing a rocket-like ascent in traffic and social mentions, with hardly any notice from the technology world. But the reasons behind this rise are no secret. In fact, Pinterest is following one of the oldest adages of sales and marketing.
To get to the bottom of what motivates Pinterestâs throngs of users, you first have to realize who those users are. I challenge you to go to Twitter, search for Pinterest, and see whoâs using it. No, not whoâs writing about it, but whoâs actually using it. The vast majority? Female.
At the risk of sounding sexist, we have to examine the traditional habits of females versus males. To that end, women tend to like to shop more than men do. You could easily define Pinterest as a way for people to âwindow shopâ for anything that interests them, whether thatâs a physical object or something as intangible as quotes. They can then show off their âpurchasesâ (pins) to their friends, and even re-pin and create discussions around what theyâve found.
Itâs a social shopping experience, disguised as a website full of interests.
Think Iâm out of my mind with that metaphor? Then you havenât seen the fact that Pinterest is driving exponentially higher traffic numbers to retailers than Google+ already, and itâs gaining steadily on other names. Now the scramble is on by content marketers and âsocial media gurusâ to figure out how to utilize the service for their own purpose. Unfortunately, theyâre very late to an already-successful game.
So the interest has been captured, but how do you maintain it? Hereâs where that ages-old marketing idea comes in to play â If youâre a salesperson, and youâre approached by a male/female couple, always sell to the woman. The most successful salespeople in the world knows this to be effective, and itâs exactly what Pinterest is doing.
Oh sure, itâs leveraging some keys that we see in other sites. Repinning? Itâs reblogging from Tumblr. But the biggest thing that itâs doing is focusing on its core audience of shoppers. It has that inspirational element, as TNWâs Harrison Weber points out, much like weheartit. It also uses that old Tumblr function of being able to browse the main page via thumbnails, so itâs helping its top users grow even more popular.
All the while, the tech press has largely ignored the service since its launch. Only recently have people really started to write about it and to see its potential. That potential? It garnered the site 11 million unique visitors in December.
Thereâs alsoÂ an argumentÂ on QuoraÂ that the site is tapping into the ânext generationâ of social. Instead of algorithmic or social curation, itâs a top-down, interest-based strategy. Be that argument wrong or right, itâs definitely interesting that so many of todayâs hot services are moving in this direction.
The company has managed to corner its market, then capitalize on it. Sitting on nearly $38 million in funding, it also has a lot of runway before it has to nail down a monetization strategy, so the goal right now appears to be âgather users, gather them fastâ.
So for those of you who are pondering, wondering how Pinterest is getting so big in such a short amount of time, wonder no more. The secret is no secret. It is, in fact, one of the oldest sales and marketing tricks in the proverbial book. Sell to the woman. Maybe someone should pin that.
â¤ TNW on Pinterest