Category Archives: Market Research

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer Women

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer WomenCall them what you will, Boomer women, older women or—my preference—PrimeTime Women. Women aged 50-70 are in the prime of their lives and represent an amazing marketing opportunity. But what do these Boomer women care about? And what strategies are best for marketing to Boomer women?

For my book, PrimeTime Women, I worked with agency powerhouse DDB Chicago to learn what makes Boomer women tick. We conducted Girlfriend Groups with women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, respectively. DDB also has a remarkable research knowledge base in their proprietary Life Style Study that has captured a treasure trove of consumer and category data for over 30 years.

What You Need to Know About Marketing to Boomer Women

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer Women

Here are five amazing facts about marketing to Boomer women. These are key aspects about Boomer women marketers need to know.

  1. Experiencing the Joy of Being – What is particularly striking about the Boomer woman is the contentment, joy and enthusiasm with which she lives her life. Although she describes herself as serious, being serious does not equate to being negative. She’s happier and more content and possesses a brighter, more optimistic disposition than Generation X and Millennial women who are many years who junior.
  2. Relishing Liberation – Boomer women relish their liberation. Identifying with their new-found sense of freedom and independence will ensure your marketing efforts resonate with Boomer women. But this isn’t the same old “women’s liberation” you’ve heard about your entire life. Boomer women are redefining the term. They are enjoying a “liberation from expectation.” Even in the face of challenges and demands on their time like children moving back home and caring for aging parents, most Boomer women still say that they feel freer than they did when they were younger.
  3. Rocking Her World – You need to rock her world when it comes to marketing to Boomer women. The social and political activism that was the imprimatur of the 1960s is still alive among Boomer women, and beating with a much stronger heart than is the one beating in younger women. Many of the more activist attitudes and behaviors that were formed when Boomer women were in their youth have stayed with them as they’ve gotten older. They still want their voices to be heard—be they liberal or conservative.
  4. Brimming with Confidence – In the Girlfriend Groups conducted with DDB Chicago,Boomer women told us that getting older better equips them to make decisions more confidently than when they were younger. They know how to handle unexpected turbulence and how to get around obstacles in ways that younger women have yet to figure out. With age comes experience. And with experience comes wisdom. This wisdom has given Boomer women confidence and control over their lives, indeed a swagger.
  5. Living Life in “Drive” – 59% of Boomer women agree with the statement, “My greatest achievements are still ahead of me.” Further, Boomer women have a very clear idea of what it is they want to achieve and how they are going to get there. Over two-thirds (68%) of Boomer women agree, “I am the kind of person who knows what I want to accomplish in life and how to achieve it.”

Are You an Advertising Bully?

Women might think you’re an advertising bully if you’ve ever pitted one group against another, even in a seemingly innocuous manner.

Are You an Advertising Bully?

Marketing to Women Approaches Must Avoid Put-Downs

Comparative scenarios with one party at a disadvantage or portrayed as inferior make women uncomfortable, and they react surprisingly strongly. Even indirect language can trigger this reaction.

When my client Wachovia was developing a campaign addressed to women business owners, one of the ads we tested included the statistic Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. Would you believe that not one woman, but several women, immediately rejected that language on the grounds that it was putting down men? We changed the statement to read Women are starting 70% of all new businesses, and it tested much more positively.

Similarly, when my Allstate client tested a copy claim that stated Women drivers have 15% fewer accidents than male drivers. To women drivers everywhere, we say THANK YOU, a number of women in focus groups saw that as male bashing, objecting, “That’s just as bad as they’ve always been about us.”

Women don’t like putting people down. With their peer group mindset, we’re all in this together. (For more detail, read “9 Key Differences Between Men and Women That Affect Your Marketing Approach“)

In marketing to women, no people put-downs are allowed. That means men, competitors, other women– anyone. While fact-based product superiority claims are probably OK, if they’re not too heavy-handed, user-based superiority claims are definitely not. Keep it positive or show self-deprecating “me too!” moments that are very relatable to your customers’ life experiences.

Nobody Prospects Women!

Nobody prospects women!We know that 55% of affluent women think wealth managers could do a better job serving women. And 73% are overall “most dissatisfied” with the financial services industry.

And no wonder. Almost nobody even bothers to prospect women (let alone building great client relationships with them)! According to LIMRA:

Of female producers, only 50% prospect women. Of male producers, only 20-25% do!

Some financial advisors have told me that men don’t prospect women because, “Women investors prefer women advisors.” Nope, I’m not buying it!  Economist Dr. Sasha Galbraith revealed that merely 11% of women prefer a woman advisor, with 85% having no preference concerning their advisor’s gender.

Selling Financial Services to Women — What a Golden Opportunity

In a market where women will soon control 70% of private wealth and 50% of millionaires are women, I’m almost in shock that financial advisors would basically ignore this lucrative segment. Besides her affluence, women make better clients.

Three Long-Term Rewards for Prospecting Women

  1. Women have the money. Women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.
  2. Once she chooses you as her advisor, she’s loyal. Advisors report women are much less likely to defect during downturns.
  3. Make her happy, and she’ll send you way more referrals than men do. I mean WAY more. An average woman client will refer you 26 times compared to a man referring you twice.

If you aren’t prospecting women already, what’s holding you back? Please leave a comment and let me know– I’m incredibly curious.


Moms: a Powerhouse Marketing to Women Market

And M2Moms Presents the Marketing Research to Prove It

I love research! It was data and facts that helped me break through misconceptions about women consumers in my first book Marketing to Women, and I have kept researching ever since.


So when I heard that the 11th Annual M2Moms Conference was focusing on research presentations from Univision, Saatchi & Saatchi, Smarty Pants and C+R Research, I fell in love. Moms are a powerhouse marketing to women market, and there are so many under-served niches within this market. If only marketers understood the opportunity! Well, now you can.

M2Mom research sessions and presenters will include:

  • Unlocking the Power of the Hispanic Mom for Future Growth by Liz Sanderson, VP, Strategy and Insights, Univision Communications, Inc.
  • Don’t Forget the Kids! Secrets to Winning With The Whole Family by Michelle Poris, Ph.D. Director of Quantitative Research, Smarty Pants
  • Moms New Truth by Wanda Pogue, Chief Strategy Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Mythbusting: Five Digital Assumptions About Kids & Families That Are Just Plain Wrong by Mary McIlrath, Ph.D., SVP, C+R Research.

If you sell a brand that moms buy (and you probably do), get to NYC for M2M! Oh, and one last thing… Save 25% on registration with code MB25!

When Women and Men Can’t Work Together – Here’s Why

Everyone talks about the importance of teamwork in the workplace– but men and women define it differently! When women and men have difficulty working together, it’s because they approach ‘teamwork’ from different angles.

Watch the video: When Women and Men Can’t Work Together – Here’s Why

Find Yourself a Wealthy Widow

It’s time to break through a few myths about affluent, widowed women. With 50% of U.S. millionaires being women, marketing to affluent women needs to become a high priority for financial planners and insurance companies. And a large portion of these affluent women are widowed or divorced. Here are the tropes I am likely to hear from industry ‘experts:’

“There’s no point in targeting widows.”

“Widows are neither involved nor interested in financial management.”

And here I thought it was 2015, not 1915 (or even 1815!). Many women must sense this attitude and look for greener pastures, because…

70% of Widows Walk

Find Yourself a Wealthy Widow

According to Allianz research, 70% of widows and divorced women leave the financial advisors their spouses used. That seems pretty involved and interested to me.

The sales and marketing opportunity for the widowed market is huge. The average age of widowhood is 60, and a 60-year-old woman today can expect to live another 23.4 years. These women will control the combined assets of both sides of their family for over two decades.

Wealthy Women Will Get Wealthier

Here’s a market that will keep growing. Over the next 40 years, women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer, according to Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy.

Marketing to Women Only Makes Sense

Considering their lifespan and wealth accumulation, marketing to women who are widowed and divorced will hold a significant early-mover advantage for financial and insurance firms that act quickly. Because, hey, I hear that 70% of widows are looking for a new financial advisor.

The New Face of Wealth: 50% of Millionaires are Women!

Wow, I bet you didn’t know that 50% of millionaires in the U.S. are women, did you?

Millionaires make up 9% of U.S. adults:

  • 50% of those are men, with an average age of 46
  • 50% of them are women, with an average age of 50


These days, most wealthy women earn their own wealth. Of women with at least $3m in investable assets, 61% earned it themselves, according to Russ Prince and Hannah Grove in Women of WealthWomen like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, fashion designer Tory Burch and Spanx inventor Sara Blakely are becoming the new face of wealth.

And here’s another shocking fact:

Nobody prospects high net-worth women!

LIMRA, the insurance and financial services trade organization, finds only 50% of female producers prospect women, with only 20-25% of male producers prospecting women. Marketing to these wealthy women is not only smart– but it’s also less competitive!

Consider this heads-up my favor to you. But you’d better act fast before someone else earns the loyalty of these high net-worth women.

Going to the Chapel and I’m Going to Keep my Surname

More Women Keep Birth Surnames After MarriageNever since the 1970s have more women decided to keep their birth surnames after marriage. The New York Times reports in a piece titled, “Maiden Names, on the Rise Again:”

“Roughly 20 percent of women married in recent years have kept their names, according to a Google Consumer Survey conducted by The Upshot. (An additional 10 percent or so chose a third option, such as hyphenating their name or legally changing it while continuing to use their birth name professionally.) By comparison, about 17 percent of women who married for the first time in the 1970s kept their names, a number that fell to 14 percent in the more conservative 1980s before rising to 18 percent in the 1990s, the Google survey shows.”

As the average age of marriage in the United States increases, I believe many women decide to keep their birth surnames as a convenience. Their professional reputation, not to mention their social media and email handles, would become complicated by a name change. One friend of mine, Amanda, comments:

“I adopted my husband’s name when we got married eight years ago, but the change had its challenges. Gmail had been around long enough that my new name was already taken, and I had to get creative by using a nickname. On Facebook, I still include my maiden name in my profile so friends from high school or college can find me. If I had been more established in my career, the difficulties would have been even greater.”

Compare women’s attitude today with the 1970s woman who chose to keep her surname as a social or political statement. These Boomer women wanted to break free of traditional roles and asset their independence. As Stephanie Coontz says in the Times article:

“You had a militancy about it in the ’70s, a period when in many states, marriage was still legally defined as an unequal relationship,” said Stephanie Coontz, who teaches history and family studies at Evergreen State College and wrote “Marriage: A History.” “Many women are saying now: ‘This is not such a big deal to me. How you treat me and what you pay me is a huge deal to me.’ ”

It’s a sign of progress that women considering marriage now feel secure in their independence and free to make the choice to keep their birth name or change it based on their lifestyles and individual preferences.

When marketing to women, remember that women today feel free– free to be who they are and to have their own opinions. They aren’t tied down to cultural pressure to be either “a good girl” or “a good feminist.” Honor this new reality in your marketing to women efforts, and women will feel free to choose your brand!

Who are Boomer Women?

who-are-boomer-womenWhen people talk of “older women,” images of the stereotypical grandmother come to mind. But while Boomer women (or, as I call them, PrimeTime women), likely may be grandmothers, they won’t fit most stereotypes. While yesterday’s grandma may have sat in a rocker, reading a book and sipping tea during her leisure hours, today’s grandma is more likely to be sitting at her computer, checking her investments and sipping bottled green tea, just come in from her tennis match.

Today’s woman 50-70 years old is very different from women of previous generations. In fact, it may be said that this is the first generation who can legitimately be called “PrimeTime,” for two reasons:

  1. As recently as 50 years ago, 50-70 wasn’t really the “prime of life.” Boomer women are the first generation of women to have the benefit of recent significant advances in health, fitness and nutritional awareness, as well as access to miracles of modern medicine like knee replacements and heart transplants.
  2. Additionally, 50 years ago, 50-70 wasn’t really a “prime marketing target,” either. The things we buy now with our discretionary income simply didn’t exist then. There were virtually no consumer electronics—no smart phones, no personal computers, no GPS devices, no Internet. There were no spas, no cosmetic surgery, no gourmet grocery stores, no home furnishing stores (except for Sears), no Home Shopping Channel, no personal trainers, no venti decaf nonfat vanilla lattes. There were few real investments besides one’s home, little participation in life insurance, and a good deal of reluctance to get involved in the stock market. (Remember, the great stock market crash was still fresh in many minds).

Fifty years ago, the relatively recent innovation of Social Security enabled most people to retire at 65. Note that when Social Security was established in 1935, the average life expectancy was 61. So, for most people, there were at best only a few years between retirement and death. Travel, hobbies and socializing were modest.

So who are Boomer women? They are women who defy historical precedent. They represent an inflection point in history- a dramatic, radical change from those who went before them.

And the opportunity for marketing to Boomer women is just as dramatic and radical. We now have an entire generation to buy our products and services that simply never existed in the past. For most companies, this amazing realization has yet to dawn on them—and I wonder when they will finally take notice.

Marketing to Mid-Life Crisis? Women Won’t Buy It.

Marketing to Mid-Life Crisis? Women Won’t Buy It.Mid-life for Boomer women defies the cultural assumption that people become unhappier as they age. Marketing and sales professionals should focus on the many reasons Boomer women have to celebrate mid-life. One reason mid-life is such a revitalizing time for women is that women have built a support network throughout their lives, which only strengthens them as they age.

Women bond with each other by talking. Oh, there may be an activity involved—dining, shopping, working out—but it’s all a background to the conversation. They like hearing another person’s stories and problems because it builds an empathetic connection—it’s one of the things women are wired for. Women friends are great when you’re feeling low; they’re like your own personal psychotherapist.

When things are rough, like when she’s going through a mid-life crisis, a woman has a whole network of personal therapists to draw on. And this network can be a lifesaver, as some of the participants in our Marketing to PrimeTime Women research said:

“My friends and I meet and walk for an hour five days a week. We all try to touch base and be our own therapy group. It’s so healthy for me. We have helped each other out.” – Lynn, 50

“My friends… without them, I would be a basket case and much, much lonelier.” – Anne, 54

Marketing to PrimeTime WomenResearch shows that friendship lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and promotes healing. It may help explain one of the mysteries of medical science: why women, on average, have lower rates of heart disease and longer life expectancies than men.

A focus of your marketing to Boomer women strategies should include the importance of friendship and networks. Communicate the Boomer woman’s strength through her network, and how she is strong for own her friends.