Category Archives: Profitability

Why Bother Marketing to Women?

Women already buy the majority of products in almost every category. They are responsible for 80% of consumer spending.

So what’s the point of marketing to women? It may seem redundant. Surely marketers couldn’t be doing such a terrible job, or women wouldn’t be buying anything at all.

2 Reasons Marketing to Women Will Boost Your Brand

Why Bother Marketing to Women?Marketing to women is about two main factors:

  1. To gain share with women. Motivate women to choose your brand instead of your competitors’ brand. Marketing to women will help you build share.
  2. To enhance your profits. Women are more loyal customers, which means they make repeat purchases and actively spread word of mouth. Because women have a long decision-making process, once she makes a decision, she wants to stick with it and build a relationship with your brand.  Also, because she believes so strongly in her decisions, women’s word of mouth is phenomenal. In fact, I say that Women are Referral Megaphones!

Currently, women purchase many brands through necessity or chance, because these brands don’t support her decision-making process or appeal to what she cares about during the sales cycle. Even if you have a high market share among women now, marketing to women is important for your brand. You never know when a clever competitor could come along and offer your women customers the Perfect Answer they’ve been seeking.

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.

6 Reasons for Marketing Financial Services to Women

6 Reasons for Marketing Financial Services to Women

Here are six points to share with your financial advisory team about why you should be marketing financial services to women:

  1. Women are enjoying growing earnings- and will continue to do so
  2. Women have a growing participation in investment management
  3. Women already command the majority of financial assets
  4. Women will inherit twice – from family and spouses
  5. The most wealthy age group, those who are 65+, becomes increasingly female as the population ages. Women have longer average lifespans
  6. Half of all millionaires are women

So put these points up on your bulletin board, add them to your internal communications and make sure everyone understands the opportunity you’re missing if you’re not marketing to women!

Be Loyal to Your Women Customers, and They Will Stay Loyal to You

Loyalty marketing to women

Once a woman has purchased your brand, she converts from being a prospect to being a customer. Given women’s greater brand loyalty after the initial purchase, they’re basically yours to lose from thereon out-she did decide your brand is the “perfect answer,” after all. As long as you don’t do anything too egregious (she’s forgiving, but only up to a point), she’ll keep coming back.

Marketing to women after the first purchase has two objectives:

  1. Build the customer relationship and enhance her sense of brand commitment, so she returns to the brand for any subsequent or related purchases.
  2. Motivate her to become an enthusiastic brand ambassador and recommend the brand to her family, friends and acquaintances.

How to Prove Marketing to Women Works

How to Prove Marketing to Women Works

If you are leading the marketing to women charge in an organization skeptical of the power of the purse, it is imperative you capture the results that validate your program’s impact. Build measures that track the impact of your marketing to women initiatives– these systems aren’t easy to implement and are hardly ever free, but they are essential to overcoming corporate inertia.

Tracking must be comprehensive and should include elements such as:

  • Brand preference
  • Sales
  • Repeat purchases
  • Customer satisfaction

Measure men as well as women. Many companies fear that by reaching out to women, they may alienate men. But the opposite is actually true-because women have a longer list of wants and seek the Perfect Answer, improving effectiveness with women tends to boost customer satisfaction among men. Track it and prove it.

Presales Indicators Will Be Key

Because women’s decision cycle is longer than men’s, it’s likely that you will see presales indicators from female consumers before you notice strong improvement in actual sales. These indicators might include:

  • Increased awareness
  • More favorable perceptions
  • Increased requests for information and sales materials

Given the pressure companies face to deliver quarter by quarter, your ability to sustain marketing to women programs throughout the ramp-up time may depend on your ability to demonstrate preliminary movement in the right direction using these “stand-in” measures.

How to Track Presales Indicators

Quantitative surveys conducted via phone, mail or online and mall-intercept are a great way to track changes in women consumers’ awareness of, attitude towards and interest in your product at the expense of your competitors.

Given that the competitive future of your company may well depend on its ability to market successfully to women, it would be a really good idea to put those tracking systems into place right from the start.

If You Can’t Count it, Does it Exist?

If you can't count it, does it exist?

Not every company is structured to measure the results of their marketing efforts by gender, which makes determining the success of marketing to women strategies difficult-if not impossible. If you can’t measure something, is it worth doing at all?

I’d like to remind you of the McNamara Fallacy, former U.S. secretary of defense Robert McNamara’s answer as to what led the U.S. to defeat during the Vietnam War. Charles Handy outlined the fallacy in The Age of Paradox:

The McNamara Fallacy

Step One: Measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes.

Step Two: Disregard that which can’t be easily measured, or give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading.

Step Three: Presume that what can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness.

Step Four: Say that what can’t be easily measured doesn’t really exist. This is suicide.

Ideally, your company will start to collect gender-specific data to effectively measure response to marketing to women (and men!) efforts. In the meantime, though, avoid falling into the trap of assuming that what can’t be easily measured isn’t important or doesn’t exist. You don’t want to be either blind or suicidal, now do you?

Women Want to Be Loyal to Your Brand

Women Want to Be Loyal to Your Brand

Women are more loyal customers than men when it comes to long-term relationships that involve regular contact, like her financial advisor, hair stylist or mechanic. (Perhaps some find this unsurprising, given the stereotypes about “commitment,” but I’m not trying to take a jab at men here… really…)

A woman looks for “advisors” that can bring a high level of expertise to a situation and give her new perspectives. Women become increasingly comfortable relying on the advisor’s recommendations without nearly as much due diligence she showed during her initial search.

Once she gets experience with the advisor’s competency and develops confidence that her or she is truly acting in her best interests and not just trying to sell more product, she becomes more open than a male customer to the advisor’s advice and recommendations.

Whereas men resist being influenced by others, seeing it as compromising their autonomy and framing them as having lower authority, women actually seek out advice and welcome the opportunity to learn from someone with greater expertise.

For women, this streamlines the decision process for subsequent purchases; she trusts the person she has selected as advisor and realizes that the advisor knows more than she does. This relieves her of the need to do all the research herself-she’s got fewer hoops to jump through and fewer loops to recycle on her Spiral Buying Path.

In fact, the same holds true for trusted brands. Even if the relationship is not with another person but with a brand, women will continue to use that brand if they’ve had a satisfactory first experience, because they’ve already done the due diligence to find the Perfect Answer. Finding the right brand to meet her needs means she won’t have to search again, and this is a key part of keeping her loyalty.

Women want to be loyal to your brand-they consider the buying process an investment in the Perfect Answer to their needs and don’t relish starting the process afresh. Keep a woman’s trust, and your brand will have a loyal customer-perhaps for life. Lose that trust, and she’ll move on to a competitor, probably never giving your brand another chance again.

Women are more profitable customers

Marketing to women will deliver more bucks to your bottom line than putting the same budget against an all-male target. Consider the following trends and facts found in today’s marketplace:

  • The sales potential of the “women’s market” is enormous and on a steep upward trend. Earning and spending trends increases are just the tip of the iceberg. As women continue their advances in the workplace, they are acquiring more disposable income. Women also control the majority of all household spending, and have the “final say” on major purchase decisions, such as cars and home renovations. As Baby Boomer women receive inheritances, first from their parents, then from their husbands, more and more buying power will accrue to women’s wallets.
  • Women are more profitable customers than men. Women are more loyal customers than men, making every follow-up marketing and sales dollar more efficient. Also, women’s word-of-mouth and referrals constitute inexpensive marketing of the most powerful kind.
  • Effectively targeting women leads to higher customer satisfaction among both men and women. Companies as diverse as BMW, Wyndham Hotels and Merrill Lynch have found that improvements designed to enhance brand appeal among women actually deliver greater customer satisfaction among men, too. When you meet the expectations of women, companies exceed the expectations of men.
  • Marketing to women delivers a better return on your marketing dollar through both greater opportunity and greater impact. While in many categories the traditional male targets are saturated, the corresponding women’s segments are untapped and virtually uncontested by competition.

The largest, fastest growing market in the world is waiting. Worldwide, women control consumer spending. They are accumulating income and investable assets as never before in history. And, they’re expanding their decision-making presence in corporations and small businesses.

The business is there; the real question is: Are you?