Have We Gotten it All Wrong?
Today’s rally cry is no longer
market to women, but
to market to women. Because guess what: not all women arethe same, and it’s about time we try to find out who they really are and what they really want. This may seem obvious,but many marketers around the world still aren’t getting itright. In industries such as automotives, home improvementand electronics, marketers seem to lump women into onecategory: the soccer mom who makes the majority of household buying decisions. Same goes for healthcare: she’sthe healthcare decision maker of the household, but then what? Why aren’t we delving deeper? Why aren’t werejecting stereotypes and actually trying to figure out thedifferent personas of women? Saying “women make most of the household decisions” is not enough. We have to get toknow them and understand them in order to persuadethem. Because when it comes down to it, women want to betaken seriously and have marketers understand their needs,no matter what their age, income, education, marital statusor career may suggest.
Today’s Woman: A Force to be Reckoned With
Marti Barletta, president of TrendSight and author of Marketing to Women: How to Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market, says, “Women are the no. 1economic opportunity in America, the largest marketsegment in the world, the chief purchasing officers of justabout everything consumer, corporate or small business—and most importantly, there is no close second.” Women control most of the consumer spending decisions worldwide, and in the U.S. most of the corporate andsmall-business spending decisions as well.Household Income: Women bring in at least half of the income in 55%of U.S households.In 27% of U.S. households, single women are thesole earners.30% of working wives earn more than theirhusbands.Consumer Spending: Women operate as the “chief purchasing officers”in almost all households, and they are estimated tomake 80% of all household buying decisions.In addition to traditional female categories of spending, women are responsible for more than:50% of all do-it-yourself purchases.51% of electronics.89% of bank accounts.80% of healthcare.Corporate Spending:In corporations, they constitute 50% of managersand professionals. Women have accounted for 70% of all privately held start-ups and small businesses over the last 15 years. Women and the Internet: Women account for 60% of Internet users.They use the Internet to manage their lives, fromshopping to health and wellness research, to socialnetworking and paying bills online. Word of Mouth: Women are 3x more likely to share personal stories with a friend than men.64 million US women regularly share advice onproducts or services.25 million of them wield their influence online viablogs and social networking.These statistics clearly show that women cannot be seenas a niche, but rather the majority of your audience. Butin order to truly connect with our women, we must delvea little deeper. We must identify, understand andappreciate their personas to help us create relevantmessages that will stick.Marketers must understand that women are elusive.Today’s woman is modern and confident, yet still holdsonto some of the traditions of the past. So while they don’t want to be associated with the nuclear family of the‘50s, they also don’t want marketers to assume they are somodern that they don’t value traditional family roles.Marketers must move away from the status quo andtowards a fresh approach that mirrors the attitudes andthinking of the current female segment.
Past, Present and Future
To help us get to know the woman inside the mother, wife, grandmother, caregiver and daughter, let’s take atrip down memory lane and review who women werethen and compare it to who they are now.The last thing a woman wants is to feel is pigeonholed intoa segment or stereotype. As Fara Warner, author of
ThePower of the Purse,
suggests, there is a bit of tension betweenthe past and the present. While women continue to hold astronger position in the corporate world and choose to besingle, they still hold onto some of the traditional roles andresponsibilities of the past. They cherish family and friends yet push hard up the corporate ladder. They hope for theengagement ring even though they may out-earn theirpotential husbands in the workforce. Understanding thisnatural tension between the past, present and future thatmany women face is a big step towards brand loyalty.