We know that women and men buy things differently, and marketing to women requires a different approach from traditional marketing. To women, “good enough” or even “just right” aren’t the Perfect Answer. When she’s holding the purse strings and calling the shots (which is 80% of the time!), she’s going to seek the Perfect Answer. Marketing professionals should follow these five guidelines to gain the fullest advantage of the differences in women and men’s buying processes.
1. Don’t Forget About Marketing to Women
Marketers are used to the five stages of the purchase process:
3. Investigation & Decision
Women lead four of these five stages-Activation, Nomination, Retention and Recommendation. Women typically recognize the need to buy, make the decision to buy and determine which brands to consider. After the purchase, she is more likely to evaluate the product and give referrals.
From the marketing perspective, all of these four stages are behind the scenes. Men typically lead the third stage, Investigation & Decision-the one stage that salespeople actually see. Just because she doesn’t appear to be front-and-center, don’t forget about marketing to women.
Recently, Toyota has been marketing to women quite aggressively. Some of their latest commercials, featuring the literal message of, “We’re women friendly,” might be a bit heavy-handed, but they certainly recognize the potential in the market. Let’s follow the brand through the rest of the four tips, shall we?
2. Word-of-Mouth Marketing Works
It shouldn’t be surprising that word-of-mouth is frequently how women begin their purchasing process-and, of course, they participate in spreading word-of-mouth themselves. Too many brands seem to avoid putting effort into word-of-mouth marketing efforts. Don’t be one of them.
Toyota has an effort to increase word-of-mouth called the Toyota Women’s Influencer Network, which brings together women bloggers and even offers a camp event at their headquarters. The women who are part of the network seem quite proud of the privilege and eager to share their Toyota experiences.
3. Share Information
Women want plenty of information when they cycle through the buying process. The more information you make accessible to her, the more you prime her with what she needs to make a decision. Through media such as print, web, social and retail merchandising, you can appeal in multiple dimensions-a marketing strategy to which women respond well.
Brands can also provide a great deal of information through a well-trained sales force that understands and respects how much information women frequently already have when they reach the sales floor because of advance data-gathering.
One way Toyota shares information is through their Owner’s Manual videos, purportedly aimed at current owners, but available publicly to consumers who want to delve into the details of each model.
4. Overcome Her Decision Reluctance
Develop marketing tactics to overcome her decision reluctance as she seeks the Perfect Answer. Do the comparison shopping for her by finding out what her needs are and presenting three options with pros and cons of each. Emphasize the benefits of making a decision now, one that can be fine-tuned later by adding a warranty or options that can be purchased separately.
5. Train Your Sales Team
Prepare your salespeople for the reality that the initial selling process will take longer with women customers-and it’s well worth it to hang in there because of the greater payoff in repeat business and referrals.
This final point is where Toyota really shines. They have a training program for dealers that allows them to become Signature Certified. Part of this program is to learn better methods for selling to women.