Today’s women have emerged as the primary consumers in the U.S. today, making over 85 percent of all consumer purchase decisions, and controlling nearly $7 trillion in consumer and business spending. Yet many marketers continue to recognize this group as a niche market, rather than who they really are: the primary drivers and influencers of most purchase decisions.
The following tips are designed to help marketers and brands build lasting relationships with these key consumers:
1. Don’t engage in one-way dialogue. Many brand campaigns aimed at engaging women fail because they’re delivering one-way messages by talking “at” women, instead of “with” women. Marketers who successfully engage women will do so because they provide information that is both useful and interesting, and that provides the ability for women to engage not only with the brand, but also with each other.
2. Remember that pink is not a marketing strategy. Today’s women are not looking for a watered-down version of a male offering that has been feminized with clicked colors. Instead, they’re looking for solid information, ease of use, stellar customer service, and brands that are looking to build real relationships with them based on their interests, personal identities and problems that they need to solve.
Instead of relying on outdated assumptions and stereotypes, marketers must do the hard work to be relevant to women consumers – taking the time to learn what motivates them to order to present their brands in a meaningful way. A woman’s b.s. meter is always on – she knows when she’s being addressed in an authentic way…and when she’s not.
3. Recognize that women think differently than men. All human brains start as female brains, until the male brain is flooded with testosterone. But there they part paths. A woman’s brain has four times as many connections between the left and right hemispheres as a man’s. All of those signals hurtle down the superhighway into her right brain – the home of emotional memory, intuition and experience. A woman not only reads – she attaches feelings to what she’s reading. A woman’s heart is in her brain – tell her a story that is filled with emotion, and explain why your brand is relevant to her.
4. Don’t segment women strictly by age. Whether a woman is 28, 39, or 52, she’ll respond more to marketing messages that address her life stage, not her biological age. Unlike previous generations, today’s women are experiencing life in a less linear fashion; women are having babies in their 40s, starting new careers in their 50s, and re-entering the dating scene in their 60s. Marketers need to clearly understand the differentiation in marketing to the different life stages of women, and tailor their messages accordingly.
5. Don’t ignore the time women spend online and influencing their networks. Women spend a tremendous amount of time online visiting company Web sites, posting to discussion boards, reading blogs and influencing peer groups. Marketers have the opportunity to engage them online in a very interactive way, and then carry that relationship offline to build lasting engagement.
6. Don’t underestimate the power of the women’s boomer market. Coast to coast, marketers are waking to the sheer numbers of this market segment, and the purchasing power that lies therein. Every fifth adult in the U.S. today is a female over 50. They have established careers and money to spend on themselves, as well as the ability to influence the majority of their households’ purchasing decisions. In addition, boomer women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade. These women think, live and behave in a manner different than the generation before them, and they are reinventing and rediscovering life on their own terms.