Shop or invade a country

"When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country," said comedian Elayne Boosler.

When it comes to the brain, the variations between the sexes are many. And, they have clear implications for marketers, according to NeuroFocus, which specializes in understanding and measuring how the brain responds to any stimulus a person receives, through any of their five senses, reports The New York Times.

There are fundamental differences between the male and female brain. They're both structural and behavioral, are formed at birth, last throughout life, and affect many different aspects of our attitudes and behaviors.

Some of the most important differences include: Women's brains have more distributed functions than men, especially for language and memory; women's brains have stronger connections between the two hemispheres; women have a larger hippocampus, a major area of the brain that is involved in memory function; and women rely more heavily on brain areas that contain mirror neurons during empathic interaction (mirror neurons enable a person to feel what they see another person is feeling).

Women have better memory for detailed information than do men. They have a greater capacity to empathize, enhanced language ability, and stronger emotional memory. Men tend to have superior spatial ability, and the ability to build systems. These hard-wired brain differences are revealed in infancy: female babies make more eye contact with caregivers than baby boys. On the other hand, male infants prefer to look at machines or puzzles.

What does all this mean for marketers looking to reach and persuade female consumers? NeuroFocus compiled a series of guidelines to follow if you want your messaging to be as neurologically effective as it can be with the female shopper. Chief Science Advisor Dr. Robert Knight, one of the world's top neuroscientists, said 'the brain makes behavior.' NeuroFocus finds women respond significantly more strongly to certain styles of packaging designs, advertising messages, and store layouts. We also know already, from our library of neurological 'best practices', that women respond to language and imagery differently than men.

NeuroFocus' guidelines for marketing to women include: Be authentic; focus on cooperative, reciprocal, collaborative conversations; keep messaging exploratory, not flatly declarative; provide plenty of information; and acknowledge that she's integrating many goals with every shopping experience and purchase.