Getting Marketing to Women to Work

Bust through the Walls of the Corporate Silo

Getting Marketing to Women to Work

In working with companies that have decided to pursue the women’s market, I often observe that the actual marketing to women is a breeze compared to dealing with the organizational challenges, which is more like leaning into a hurricane. It doesn’t matter whether the company is structured by product (as it is with the Ford Focus or Ford Explorer) or by function (as in advertising, sales, IT, etc.). The problem remains the same: because the company is not organized by the customer, it’s almost impossible to get the whole team pulling in the same direction.

Getting Marketing to Women to WorkEverybody in the organization may agree that marketing to women is a great idea. “Absolutely, marketing to women; let’s get right on it!” Unfortunately, everyone’s budgets are already maxed out on other priorities this year, so it will have to wait until next year. Unless someone at the top builds “Opportunity Number One” (as Tom Peters refers to the women’s market) into the company’s strategic priorities, you don’t have a prayer at putting a concerted effort into the marketplace.

To get the maximum horsepower out of any strategic initiative, every department that touches the customer needs to participate. Moreover, every customer contact needs to be consistent and integrated with all others, so that the company delivers a “one look, one voice” message to the customer. This is particularly true with marketing to women initiatives because of a woman’s greater propensity to respond to context and multiplicity, the sum total of the brand contacts she encounters from day to day.

The Spirit is Willing, but the Budgets Don’t Work

Getting Marketing to Women to WorkWhat this means is that Moses (that would be you, oh Chief Exec!) must come down from the mountain and communicate the company commitment to marketing to women in no uncertain terms. Right after you’ve put down the heavy stone tablets, you need to create a cross-functional team with the same objectives, authority and budget as a new product launch team– and the same accountability for success.

Both men and women should be equally represented on this team. Too many men and you won’t have the female perspective you need to make the right judgment calls. Too many women and– rightly or wrongly– but in any case, realistically, the team will lose credibility and its efforts will be discounted as “the women’s project.”

Let’s get marketing to women efforts to work at your organization! Reach out to me for more personalized advice for your product and brand.

Surprising Personal Touches Bring the WOW when Marketing to Women

Surprising Personal Touches Bring the WOW when Marketing to WomenMarketing to women professionals can sometimes get caught up in the statistics of campaigns– open rates, click rates, conversions, etc. Our data-driven environment does indeed help us be better marketers. But we also need to remember the personal, and the value women find in being surprised and delighted.

Years ago, out of the blue, for absolutely no reason, I got a letter from Jeff Bezos of Amazon (well, he signed it, didn’t he?). The letter included ten one-cent stamps and arrived just after the price of stamps went up a penny. “We can’t replace your refrigerator lightbulb,” the letter read, “and we can’t make your tuna salad just the way you like it– but we can save you time.” It felt as if Jeff himself had taken a peek into my lifestyle and recognized how very busy I am; when am I going to get to the post office for a book of add-on stamps? Jeff did it for me. As a marketing to women campaign, this message was spot-on. Amazon builds its brand on convenience and personal recommendations. For return on investment, you can bet that mailing beat a coupon.

Surprising Personal Touches Bring the WOW when Marketing to WomenOne of the most original “nice surprises” I’ve heard of comes from a financial advisor at Investors Group in Canada. One of their top 5% producers builds most of his business with women, and with his marketing to women approach, I have no doubt why he’s so successful. Whenever he gets a new client or significant new business from an existing client, he sends her a jar of homemade apricot jam. The jar even has a hand-lettered label, personalizing it further. The twist on this that I love is that his clients often call up and thank him for the thank-you! You can be sure they’re telling all of their friends about this– and that’s how he keeps getting more and more referrals!

Finding a balance between crunching the numbers and remembering the emotional and practical motivations of your customers will result in memorable marketing to women campaigns that are wildly successful.

Selling to Women: DON’T ‘Always Be Closing’

Selling to Women: DON'T 'Always Be Closing'We all know the ABC’s of sales: Always Be Closing! However, women find this sales approach tiresome and exhausting. If you’re always trying to close the sale, she will close her mind to your offerings.

To avoid irritating your women customers, reach out to her occasionally for a non-sales reason. Here are two examples of thoughtful, non-sales communications that women appreciate.

Selling to Women: DON'T 'Always Be Closing'

Every so often, I get an email from United Airlines, which I fly frequently, telling me about new developments I might like to know about. And they aren’t trying to get anything from me. For instance, one email told me about an impending strike from mechanics that might affect my flight choices.

Similarly, a friend who bought a Ford Explorer got a follow-up call from the dealership a few weeks after she had purchased it, just letting her know that Ford was there to answer any questions or problems, and asking if she liked the car.

Women are suspicious of salespeople who are always trying to get something from them. And they can spot an ulterior motive or sales agenda from a mile away. So be genuine. Stay in touch with your women customers now and then, even if you aren’t selling anything to her at the time.

[VIDEO] Financial Advisors: Don’t Let the Wealthy Widows Get Away!

OK, financial services providers, here’s a tough fact: 70% of widows walk. That means she doesn’t feel any loyalty for the financial advisor her husband chose. And this is a big problem for you. The average age of widowhood for women is 60 years old– and she’s going to live 20 years beyond that. Keep those wealthy widow clients!

Watch the video: Don’t Let the Wealthy Widows Get Away!

Top Visuals that Appeal to Women (and Some that Women Hate)

Women pay attention to visuals even more than the population at large. As such, your marketing team should pay special attention to the visuals they use for anything targeted towards women, such as advertising, product packaging and web design.

Top 5 Marketing to Women Visuals

Marketing to Women Visuals

Here are my top five recommendations for what to include in visuals that market to women:

  1. People, people, people. Women put people first, and you should too. Visuals should feature expressions and emotions. The “people” in your ads don’t need to be photographs or live action video. Animations and cartoons of both people and animals work well to attract women’s attention.
  2. Make sure people are realistic. Feature people your target audience can identify with and relate to, attractive “normal” women rather than perfect “aspirational” women.
  3. Show some emotion. Use emotional visuals to attract women’s attention. Showing that somebody cares one way or another is always going to be powerful- and memorable- to women.
  4. Immersion. Use your visuals to tell a story that immerses women into your brand or product. It can get messy, and it definitely is the opposite of the “one headline and one visual” school of thought, but when masterfully done, it’s much more effective, too.
  5. Show collaboration, friendships, warmth and working together. Women love collaboration more than competition and friendships more than rivalry.

Bottom 5 Marketing to Women Visuals

Marketing to Women Visuals

When marketing to women, avoid these visuals at all cost!

  1. Product-centric. Your product is not the hero. The best way to lose women is to show your product without a human context.
  2. Dystopian women. Don’t portray women as harried, frenzied and at the end of their rope. Women are proud that they can “handle it all.” Honor that.
  3. Utopian women. Conversely, don’t use visuals of “supermodel women.” In general, women don’t aspire to be perfect archetypes. They want to relate to other women like them.
  4. Isolation. Avoid visuals that could be interpreted as isolating or portraying customers as independent loners.
  5. Simplistic. Women are detail-oriented and are attracted to visuals that have depth and intricacy.

Use these tips in your marketing to women efforts to portray people in ways that are interesting and appealing to women.

55 Alive! Marketing to Boomer Women in the Prime of Her Life

55 Alive! Marketing to Boomer Women in the Prime of Her LifeWith healthier diets, different lifestyles and advances in health care, we’re all living longer. At first glance, this would seem to add an extra decade to the end of life, but on the contrary! It’s more like adding an extra decade to the middle, somewhere around age 50. These days, 55 is very alive. The stereotype of ages 50-70 may be “the sunset years,” but the reality is that it’s more like high noon!

Boomer women encounter the added decade of life very differently from the way midlife men do. While both men and women approach their 50th birthdays with a good deal of apprehension, as it turns out, the midlife transition is a good deal easier on women.

Most men reach 50 alarmed about sliding downhill for the rest of their lives. They want to stay where they are, to keep what they’ve got. Some try to recapture the feelings of their youth—they act on their rebellious impulses. Some don’t know what to do with themselves after retirement and no longer have a power role in society. They stay at home and putter around the house, declining to exercise or socialize.

55 Alive! Marketing to Boomer Women in the Prime of Her LifeTo women, 50 comes as a gift. For most, it’s a major life shift, from the “mom” mode to the “me” mode (In case you think I’m overgeneralizing about the mom mode, consider that by the age of 40, 84% of women have had children). At the same time as the kids are leaving home, leaving mothers with more time, those moms get a little extra boost of post-menopausal zest. They use the added decade of life to go back to college or start a new business. It’s finally “my time,” and they make the most of it. They feel lucky to have the luxury of focusing on themselves, finding their inner individuality, and fulfilling long-suppressed dreams.

The potential for marketing to these Boomer women should be quite apparent—but how does one go about developing marketing strategies? The most powerful ways for marketers to create relevance and appeal for women is to elicit “That’s me!” moments—when a woman sees herself in the situation and your product or service as the solution. As women approach their 50s, they are even more in tune with “That’s me!” moments than before. And we already know this is a sizeable marketing target—the National Association of Baby Boomer Women share that there are over 39 million Boomer women in the US.

Selling to Affluent Couples is Tricky Business

Selling to Affluent Couples is Tricky BusinessSelling to women one-on-one is fairly easy to master. If you understand women’s gender culture and respect her decision-making process, you’ll be miles ahead of most other salespeople.

But selling to couples is trickier. The adage “three’s a crowd,” comes into play because you’re managing three personalities and styles– the woman, the man and yourself. And when you’re selling complex, high-investment products or services, like financial planning or home remodeling, it can start to feel like you’re a counselor as much as you’re a salesperson!

Identify the answer to this question to get started:

Who is the Primary Buyer/User?

Selling to Affluent Couples is Tricky Business

When the couple is buying something for her— her car, her computer, her new kitchen, if the salesman talks to the husband, he gets one warning, often from the husband. If the salesman continues, they leave. There is no room for mistakes here.

When the couple is buying for him, you still need to talk to her. Whether it’s a man cave or a yacht, the wife needs to be sold also. There was once a young yacht salesman who figured out how to sell to couples. He said that he doesn’t target the husband; he already wants the boat. He sells to the wife because she’s the one who needs to be convinced. And he became one of the most successful salespeople in his company using this strategy.

Remember, women have enormous influence on the conventionally male big-ticket items, whether she intends to be the primary user or not.

[VIDEO] Understand that Women Often Have Hidden Financial Control

When you’re selling financial services to women, it can be easy to miss who controls the finances behind the scenes. In affluent families, control of wealth and finances may not be as straightforward as it seems. Marti’s story of one affluent Boomer couple reveals that women often have “hidden” financial control.

Watch the video: Women’s Hidden Financial Acumen

Marketing to Women Beyond the Sale

Marketing to Women Beyond the SaleWomen are more interested in, and place more value on, warranties, guarantees and customer support availability. Women want to be sure that they have help if they encounter problems with your product. And 65% of the time, it’s the woman who takes the car into the repair shop. The numbers are similar for other home-related maintenance. Offering back-end or post-purchase features are an important part of marketing to women, especially if you’re selling complex or high-end products.

The fact is, there aren’t that many companies that truly satisfy customer concerns, questions or complaints. Instead, you get stuck in an endless phone menus or directed to “knowledgebase articles.” When you do reach a voice from the Land of the Living, the answer is ultimately that nothing can be done about your problem anyway/

Marketing to Women Beyond the SaleFor anyone reading this who says, “That’s not our customer policy,” let me say two things. First, of course it’s not! No one makes a commitment to delivering bad customer service. Second, try using your own customer service system anonymously– not from a company phone or device. I’m afraid that you’re likely to discover what most customers discover: the service is terrible.

That’s right. I said it. And I bet you’ve probably said it, too, about other companies. But most people believe their own marketing about their company.

I heard of one study that included the question, “Would you come back to…?” in reference to the company that sold the product. Of the people who answered no, not one mentioned the product; all of them instead identified a service-related problem.

Make sure to keep marketing to women beyond the sale. She wants to be a loyal customer, but you have to reciprocate that loyalty. When customer service resolves questions and problems and does so via a caring, intelligent person who genuinely wants to help reach a resolution, it’s surprising and delightful.

Win Big with these Marketing to Boomer Women Contest Tips

Promotional contests can really win big in marketing to Boomer women. Here are three insights on incentive programs that resonate with this promising market. Boomer women have “been there, done that” and are jaded on the promise of t-shirts and ball caps. It’s time to break through the promotional clutter and offer incentives uniquely motivating to Boomers.

Change the Prize Structure to Encourage More Boomer Women Word of Mouth

Rather than have one big prize (a new car!) and then a bazillion small prizes (free product samples, keychains, pens), consider spreading the wealth out across the top tier of prizes and offering fewer trivial, lower-level prizes. The goal is to give as many people as you can something “talk-worthy” rather than throwing your money into low-value prizes that aren’t worth mentioning. The costs can be exactly the same, but the prize structure is flatter and more interesting to consumers.

Entice Boomer Women with Experiences, not Clutter

Instead of products or price discounts, offer experiences interesting to Boomer women. They are in the prime of their lives and have time to be adventurous. She doesn’t want another knickknack to sit on the shelf. She wants to live life to the fullest. And if she can share that experience with friends, the reward will be valued even more. Spa services, dance lessons, NASCAR rides, day trips and wine tastings are all shareable experiences that might appeal to your particular Boomer women target. Get creative!

Random Acts of Kindness vs. Organized Incentives

Sometimes, a “surprise and delight” campaign can be more effective at helping you reach your marketing goals than an organized contest or event that’s heavily promoted. For example, the Peapod delivery person once surprised me with a lovely bouquet of red roses. “Wow,” I said, “They’re beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t order any roses, so they must be for someone else.” Turns out, because it was Valentine’s Day, Peapod had decided that all customers receiving orders that day would be surprised with flowers. It wasn’t an incentive or a reward that I claimed for ordering more or ordering sooner. It was a sweet surprise, totally unexpected and forever remembered.