I don't often laugh when preparing my articles. But the lengths to which some companies are going to boost profits have created some amusing anecdotes.

For instance, companies have always tried to target certain types of customers with specialized products. But one product idea that's attracted attention around the blogosphere recently is a credit card specifically targeted to women. MasterCard (NYSE:MA) is considering introducing such a card, while companies like HSBC (NYSE:HBC) have already created such cards for overseas markets. Many find the idea silly and outdated.

As funny as such ideas may seem, they're hardly unique or innovative. Plenty of companies market items especially for women. I recently noticed a hot pink digital camera put out by Canon (NYSE:CAJ), and pink tools on sale at Home Depot (NYSE:HD). It's easy to scoff at these items, but if they attract new buyers, then it makes sense for companies to produce them. And many of them must be succeeding for the trend to be continuing.

Men are targets, too
Women are not the only targeted segment of the population. Think about the focus on male grooming, for example, with lotions and cleansers to spruce men up. To those who initially saw those items as strictly women's products, these new product lines may have seemed silly.

But the coin-counters at big consumer products companies don't see it as a joke. Some estimates put the size of the male grooming industry at $43 billion, and say that it's growing faster than women's grooming products. Accordingly, companies such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Unilever (NYSE:UL), and Dial are chasing the new dollars. Unilever, for example, is running a campaign for its Vaseline for Men product in cooperation with Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ESPN network.

Learn more
Paying attention to how companies market to the genders can pay off, when you find companies doing it well. Better still, spend some time learning how companies can profit by having more women in top positions, and how we investors can profit by investing as many women do.

Further female Foolishness:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Home Depot. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Walt Disney and Home Depot are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Try our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.