Category Archives: Things women care about

One Easy Chart to Help You Communicate with Women

Finding the Key to Marketing to Women

One Easy Chart to Help You Communicate with Women

Women and men respond to marketing communication in different ways because they communicate in different ways. They have different patterns and rituals of expression. Successfully marketing to women requires you to understand women’s communication keys. Luckily, I have a chart for that:

Women’s Communication Keys

Men’s Communication Keys

Full Context

“Complete article” – Women stress the importance of context and richness of detail. Her stories start with background and build to the main point.

Key Points

“Headlines” – Men believe in starting with the main point and only supplying detail if asked. They strip away extraneous detail.

Rapport Talk

Build connections – To win over women, you need to have conversations with them that creates a connection with her and her circle.

Report Talk

Establish status – Men, on the other hand, use conversation as a way to establish or defend individual status. They don’t focus on the personal.

Connect Through Affinity 

Women connect through affinity with others and establish links that highlight similarities. They focus on empathy- so your marketing should as well.

Connect Through Competition (Rank)

Men connect through competition- the friendlier the group of men, the more good-natured taunting and challenging you will find.

Stories and Personal Details

Women’s social currency consists of stories and personal details. They trade them, save them and value them. (Surely, this gives you marketers some ideas!)

Facts and Features

Men’s social currency relies on facts and features. I believe this is why sports scores and statistics are so popular with men, eh? They are becoming rich in social currency.

These four communication strategies should give you plenty of ideas for marketing to women. How will you plan to share stories, build rapport and build links with these valuable customers?

Closing the Sale with Women

Women’s “Perfect Answer” Requires a Longer Sales Process

Here’s a critical difference between women and men when it comes to closing a sale: while men seek to make a good decision, women are looking for the Perfect Answer. As a result:

  • Expect a lot more questions from women
  • Expect a longer decision process

Closing the Sale with Women

Cowboys and Sharpshooters

Salespeople are trained to try to close the sale in the initial meeting. That may work with men because they have a faster decision process. Making decisions from the fly and “shooting from the hip” is one way men communicate their autonomy and decisiveness– the “cowboy factor.” But women are marksmen, not cowboys– and if you rush them or push them while they’re trying to zero in on what they want, all you’re going to do it irritate them.

Women want to consider, compare and talk it over with trusted advisors. It’s not enough for the product or service to meet her needs; it must be the best way to meet her needs.

Selling to women can be frustrating in this respect, but I’d advise you to refocus your attention on what you’re going to do to follow up instead of pushing too hard right away. Otherwise, she will start to distrust your motives (you’re supposed to be her agent, not her adversary!) and destroy all that great rapport you’ve been building up during the sales process.

 

Experiential Marketing is for Boomer Women, Too

Experiential Marketing is for Boomer Women, TooExperiential marketing is usually thought of in context with Millennials, and their desire for authentic, interesting experiences. But Boomer women represent an even bigger opportunity for turning experience into business. Since Boomer women have more time and money on their hands than Millennial women, they are seeking more ways to get involved. But Boomers might not want the same sort of experiences that Millennials do.

How to Create Experiences for Boomer Women

Combine an experience with a cause for a really powerful marketing to Boomer women initiative. Partnering with a nonprofit will burnish your “corporate halo” with all women– women have a propensity to be the “guardians of civilization” and therefore are much more active in supporting causes. Companies especially should try to make their corporate halos shine a little brighter with Boomer women, who are actively looking for ways to make the world a better place and leave a legacy.

An example of a good experiential marketing/cause marketing combo might be a tree planting picnic sponsored by a hybrid car brand. Interested Boomer women could bring a friend or two, plant a tree, enjoy some live music over lunch and leave with a seedling memento of the occasion in her goody bag.

Experiential Marketing is for Boomer Women, Too

One of the most emotionally powerful and successful experiences is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Race for the Cure. It is the kind of program Boomer women are looking for– an event that requires not just money but also their time and energy AND that involves being with and helping other “girlfriends.” I have heard from many participants that this is one of the most grueling yet fulfilling things they have ever done in their lives. One woman in particular summarizes it like so, “I kept waiting for someone to make a difference… then I realized that I am that someone.” She’s talking like a true Boomer woman.

 

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.

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.

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.

Some Sensitive Advice on Selling to Women

Some Sensitive Advice on Selling to WomenCompared to men, women have extrasensory sensitivity. They are able to register more subtle levels of sight, sound and touch. Also, they have “emotional X-ray vision:” they can read non-verbal signals more precisely, including tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.

There’s another important attitudinal component that magnifies these sensitivities: women are a “sensitized population.” When selling to women, salespeople must understand this about women.

Most women have had enough experience with being slighted or treated inappropriately in certain sales situations that they’ve come to expect it. Not that they are tolerant of it, but forewarned is forearmed, and they’ve learned to at least be on guard against sexism. So, when women have a negative experience with a person or business, instead of chalking it up to overall lousy service, they often assume it’s because they are female.

Some Sensitive Advice on Selling to Women

For example, car salesmen have a reputation of being condescending when selling to women. I’m sure most of them are not, but almost every woman I’ve met has a story about an unpleasant car sales experience. And the stories get around, so car salesmen’s reputation precedes them. Both male and female car buyers are going to encounter rude treatment or poor service from time to time. But when men are treated rudely, they don’t walk out of the dealership feeling they were treated that way “because they’re men.” Instead they think, “That guy’s a jerk,” But women often attribute bad behavior to disrespect for women. And the really bad part is when they tell their friends, neighbors and coworkers about the dealership.

When you consider the dramatic differences in men’s and women’s gender culture– credibility displays, rapport-building games based on “one-up” instead of “same-same” and exchange of personal details, different listening behaviors and so-on– and combine that with many men’s underlying view that small courtesies are expressions of subservience instead of consideration for others, you can see that the situation is rife with opportunities for misunderstanding. And even innocuous, unintended oversights can easily be perceived by “sensitized populations” to be just one more example of deliberate discourtesy.

I’m not trying to create an atmosphere of walking on eggshells. Rather, I’m attempting to lay out in very concrete terms how and why an extra dose of sincere consideration and thoughtfulness goes such a long way with women. I think many salesmen are genuinely puzzled by women who get upset over a “little” thing like handing the keys for her test drive to her husband. A little extra reading on the topic and a little focused sellig-to-women training for your sales force can go a long way toward making sure you get your share of the women’s market.

 

Selling to Women? Small Courtesies Make Big Points

Selling to Women? Small Courtesies Make Big Points

Women are more sensitive to nuance and underlying meanings, and they respond emphatically and negatively to what men might categorize as minor oversights. This tendency makes selling to women a more detail-oriented endeavor. The flip side is that positive actions and small courtesies go a long way towards earning her trust and business.

A couple small examples– that aren’t small to women– include offering to get her a chair if it seems she’s had a long day, or getting her kids a couple sodas from the vending machine if it’s hot out.

Not Every Salesman Can Sell to Women This Way

Selling to Women? Small Courtesies Make Big PointsAt a recent sales training seminar I was conducting, I realized I have to be a little more specific on this point. A very experienced and successful salesman came up to me after the seminar and told me how pleased he was with the seminar and all the new stuff he’d learned. He said it had never really occurred to him to do the small courtesies before, but if “sucking up to the client is what it takes to make the sale, I guess I can do that.” I thought he was joking at first, but he wasn’t!

It reminds me of a scenario in Dr. Deborah Tannen’s book You Just Don’t Understand! in which she recounts a psychologist asking a husband-wife pair of respondents what they thought “politeness” meant. They answered at the same time: the woman said “consideration for others,” while the man said “subservience.” Asking around among my male acquaintances reveals that quite a few men share this attitude.

Since, to many men, my recommendation to offer small courtesies when selling to women seems antithetical to their culture, I now hasten to add: If you can’t do it with genuine sincerity, don’t do it at all. Women will see through fakery, and instead of having gained her appreciation, you’ll have lost her trust.

3 Tips for Starting a Conversation with a Woman Prospect

It can be difficult getting to know a new prospect. Salespeople walk a fine line between learning about prospects and communicating about their offerings. Starting a conversation with a woman prospect is different than with men.

Selling to Women Tip #1: Ask about Her First

3 Tips for Starting a Conversation with a Woman ProspectStart the conversation by asking your woman prospect about herself. Don’t introduce yourself first. Women often become very interested in learning about others. If you start the conversation about yourself, she may spend the entire conversation asking questions about you. Then you’d never learn anything about her– and how can you sell to a stranger?

And don’t worry, you’ll have an opportunity to talk about yourself soon enough! Reciprocity is built into women’s natures. She will certainly ask about you and what you do.

Selling to Women Tip #2: Your First Question Sets the Tone

Asking a woman about herself can be tricky. Avoid making assumptions about your prospect’s life situation. Don’t assume she is a career women or a stay-at-home mom. You set the stage for a friendly conversation when your first question to her is neutral.

To avoid awkward situations, try these opening questions:

  1. What keeps you busy these days?
  2. What gets you up in the morning?

Selling to Women Tip #3: Listen for These 3 Key Things

3 Tips for Starting a Conversation with a Woman ProspectIt may be true that women have a lot to say, but if you listen for these three topics, you’ll be well on your way to a successful sales conversation:

  1. Information about her family and lifestyle that help you understand how your offerings could help her.
  2. Interests you share in common that can start to build a friendly acquaintanceship.
  3. Something you can follow-up on later to show her you were listening and care about the conversation you shared.