Tag Archives: Women’s Market

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.

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.

 

3 Marketing to Women NEWS FLASHES

Attention, CEOs, CMOs, COOs and everyone in the C-suite!

3 Marketing to Women NEWS FLASHES

BREAKING: Here are three executive summary news flashes you need to know before developing your next strategic initiative. 

Women Are Not a Niche

Women are not a “niche,” so get your marketing to women initiatives out of the specialty markets group.

Sometimes, ya gotta laugh. Time and time again, I’m invited to speak at a major corporation by the executive heading up a business group called something like Specialty Markets, Minority Markets or Emerging Markets. This group has responsibility for marketing to various niches– and women. All I can say is, “Wait a minute! You’re supposed to motivate 51% of the population and you have, what, 4% of the corporate marketing budget?”

First In, First Win

The competition is catching on to marketing to women.

I can’t explain why it has taken so long for American business to recognize and act on the tidal wave that is the women’s market. But it’s a secret no longer. Companies from Nike to Nabisco and from Wachovia to Wyndham, companies like General Motors, Volvo, Harley Davidson and Jiffy Lube as well as Charles Schwab, Citigroup, Kimpton Hotels, MinuteClinic, Lowe’s and The Home Depot are all seeking their industry’s lead in the women’s market.

Paradoxically, there’s still room to leap ahead. That’s because many pioneers entered this new territory cautiously and tentatively. For whatever reason, their hearts aren’t truly in the marketing to women game, and that means good news for you. Their reticence means that you can benefit from what they’ve learned– and leapfrog to the front.

Get Serious about Marketing to Women

If you dip your toe in the water, what makes you think you’ll get splashy results?

Unlocking a gigantic new consumer segment warrants at least– at least!– as much commitment as launching a new product line. There are companies that spend millions to market a line extension without blinking an eye; others invest billions to open undeveloped global markets without a backward glance. Why? Because it’s an “obvious” opportunity. How is it that the same companies can decide that the women’s market warrants merely a test launch in a single market to “see how it does?”

 

Experience the JOY of Marketing to Boomer Women

Experience the JOY of Marketing to Boomer WomenWhat 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. You could even say that she lives by that old Johnny Mercer classic, “Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative.”

She’s happier and more content and possesses a brighter, more optimistic disposition than Generation X and Millennial women who are many years her junior.

Experience the JOY of Marketing to Boomer WomenShe’s come to accept her age (and some of the physical and emotional challenges that come with it) with a dignity, grace and enthusiasm that belies that Rolling Stones refrain, “What a drag it is getting old.” (Perhaps it’s still true for the bandmembers. Just look at that picture.)

As DDB Chicago and I heard in our Girlfriend Groups market research, Boomer women have learned to find happiness wherever and whenever they can, whether that’s helping a daughter by taking in her children, buying a new pair of shoes, or, yes, starting to date online!

Sure, some Boomer women still struggle accepting their crow’s feet, wrinkles and sagging muscles. Yet, most have gotten past the point of needing to look young. In fact, Boomer women are just as likely as their younger counterparts to boast, “When I look in the mirror, I like what I see.” – 58% vs. 57%, respectively.

Lynn, from our Girlfriends Group told researchers,

“I love being 50; I love this time in my life. I feel stronger. I do more than I used to. I am more active, mentally stronger. I don’t think, oh God, I’m getting old. I look in the mirror and see wrinkles, and I’m okay with it.”

Just about every woman we spoke to said that she gets aches and pain and that getting up in the morning takes more time than it used to. But they adjust by getting up a little earlier or planning their days to start a little later. They get up, get dressed, and put on their makeup, a routine that makes them feel better and more alive than does sitting around in a house dress of muumuu!

Rachel, 60, remarked,

“I can feel arthritis and the aches and pains, but I still don’t think of the age.”

Even if they don’t look it on the outside, most Boomer women feel like 30 on the inside. Their psychological age is much younger than their chronological age, and in many respects, their psychological age is more youthful and vibrant than that of women 20 and 30 years their junior.

Experience the JOY of Marketing to Boomer WomenExperiencing the joy of being means that each day is special:

“I really didn’t give it a thought [what being 64 would be like]. I love it. I mean, it’s a blessing to live to 64. Age is just a number.” – Ruby, 64

“The first thing I do in the morning is say, ‘Thank you, God’ for another day.” – Rachel, 60

For marketing departments, understanding the personalities behind the numbers will help when marketing to Boomer women. Experiencing the joy of being rarely comes across in marketing efforts aimed at Boomers, but if it did, it would be incredibly effective.

Think ‘Rich’ in Marketing to Women

No, not rich like this:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

I mean rich communications that are full of depth and detail. Marketing communications that engage women and draw their attention.

For Effective Impact, Design Rich Marketing to Women Campaigns

As every marketing professional knows, consumers are exposed to thousands of marketing impressions every day. For your marketing to women campaign to generate awareness, convey information and evoke action, it must have three characteristics:

  1. Continuity
  2. Consistency
  3. Multiple points of contact with the target audience

You can’t reach those goals with an isolated tactic or two– especially not when marketing to women. They tend to crave a richer communication. You need a comprehensive program to ensure that you get through to the consumer you’re trying to reach.

Notice that “repetition” didn’t make my list- no one wants to see the same ad over and over. For most effective impact, design executions that are variations on a theme. Then, choose diverse media like TV, social media, retargeting advertising.

One recent example was Sam’s Club’s Memorial Day campaign in May. Early in the month, members were sent an Instant Savings Booklet showing the various grilling-themed savings available for the month– no coupons required! Sponsored post advertising highlighted individual offerings:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

And other posts tempted members with samples available in-store:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

As the holiday weekend came to a close, Sam’s Club varied the theme a bit to summer road trips:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

Using appealing imagery and careful, pithy copy, Sam’s Club drove store traffic and sales around the story of summer barbecues (and morphed the campaign into other summer themes). To make this campaign even more appealing to women, I would only suggest featuring more people in the executions.

Enrich your marketing to women campaigns, and enjoy richer results!

Two Secrets that Bring Joy to Your Product Design

Marketing to Women Starts with Great Products

Twentieth Century Fox recently released a movie about one of the most successful designers in history. The role of the designer is played by Jennifer Lawrence, no less, one of today’s hottest stars. Her sidekicks are Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper (of course!) and Isabella Rossellini. And yet I bet you don’t know this designer’s name.

It’s Joy Mangano.

She focuses on the housewares sector and sells all her products via the home shopping channels HSN and QVC. This retail format is one of few that provide consolidated, immediate feedback on customer response and business success. And, OH, what success she’s enjoyed:

  • Her first product sold over 18,000 items in 20 minutes. And to show that’s not a fluke, another of her designs sold 150,000 in six hours.She holds the record for the best-selling product in electronic retailing history—678 million sold, all told.
  • She holds the record for the best-selling product in electronic retailing history—678 million sold, all told.
  • She has been known to generate sales of $10 million in a single day—extraordinary for this format.
  • To date, over the past 23 years her designs have generated revenues of over $3 billion.

Her phenomenal success can point the way to several specific strategies that can and should blow open your design thinking and accelerate your business success.

Two Secrets that Bring Joy to Your Product Design

Joy’s most important insight is that she roots her design thinking in solving end-user problems in day-to- day life, not in seeking innovation for innovation’s sake. She looks for end users who are exasperated or annoyed by some aspect of a product with a gap between what they want and what’s available.

The second insight is that changes that seem small can have very big business impact indeed. Joy’s best-selling design, the Huggable Hanger, may seem mundane. (OK, so naming might not be her forte.) But this blockbuster product was the first to solve three closet-management problems. First, it’s velvet-flocked, so clothes don’t slip off onto the floor. Second, it’s strong but flat, unlike heavy-duty wood or plastic hangers, meaning less crowding on the closet bar. Third, the shoulder edges are rounded, so there are no poky little puckers ruining the lines of a lovely blouse or sweater. The hangers come in 19 colors, including pink. And she’s sold $678 million of them so far.

It just so happens that Joy’s category, housewares, automatically focused her on the consumers who buy most of everything—women. But women as buyers drive the brand choice in almost every category (this means you, too, auto and consumer electronics); women as end users are the research resource who best notice and articulate design problems that need solving; and women as design colleagues contribute even more than their valuable guidance as the voice of the customer.

In a nutshell, centering your research and product development around more input from women will deliver better innovation, stronger sales, greater career success and more customer love in every sector of industrial design. 

Why the World of Industrial Design is Failing in Marketing to Women

Women Buy Everything. So Why Aren’t You Designing for Them?

Why the World of Industrial Design is Failing in Marketing to WomenFirst of all, why should industrial design brands care about women? Women aren’t particularly “industrial” are they? Wrong.

In the US B2C world, women account for 80% of consumer spending. And they buy significantly more industrially-designed products than men. According to Michael Silverstein of the Boston Consulting Group,

“Women make the decision in purchases of 94% of home furnishings… 92% of vacations… 91% of homes… 60% of automobiles… and 51% of consumer electronics.”

Please tell me you aren’t thinking something like, “Well, sure, women buy a lot of consumer goods. Isn’t that sweet?”

Women mean business, too. Women also account for about 55% of business buying decisions (Listen up, B2B!). It’s worth noting that, according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, women comprise over half of wholesale and retail buyers (think retail inventory), purchasing agents and managers (cost of goods), administrative assistants and managers (business equipment and services), and HR employees and managers (employee benefit plans). In other words, except for real estate and new building construction, women place the purchase order. And even if she’s a recommender rather than the final decision-maker, if you don’t make her short list, you have no shot at the contract.

How to Design Products Women Love

How do we know that the world of industrial design is failing in marketing to women? In many categories, women report a continuing gap between what they want and what they’re offered. By large majorities, they feel manufacturers, marketers and designers aren’t paying attention to what they want.

Why the World of Industrial Design is Failing in Marketing to WomenIn the automotive industry, for example, a 2014 Frost & Sullivan study of car buyers revealed that globally 50% of women are dissatisfied with their vehicles, which probably explains why fully 74% say they feel misunderstood by car manufacturers. I’ve seen similarly shocking numbers from studies in other big-ticket categories, including consumer electronics, financial services and healthcare, so I’d be comfortable guessing that this pattern would hold in just about any of them.

Design firms love to say that their process is customer centric. But the marketplace is telling us that either they’re focusing on the wrong customer—at the very minimum, they’re not including the right customer—or they aren’t doing a great job figuring out what she wants. Women are different. They aren’t built like men. They have different lifestyles and roles than men. They perceive, prioritize and shop differently than men do. And as far as women can tell, designers and marketers don’t care.

Women are far more likely than men to recognize and respond to the second-tier features and improvements that all brands rely on to differentiate themselves from competitors. Women’s perceptual abilities allow them to register and retain details better than men do. Moreover, because women shop differently from men, they pay more attention to features that men—and researchers—tend to classify as unimportant.

Men are more likely to believe that little things make little difference. Women believe that little things make all the difference. In their search for the perfect answer, women seek out more options and compare their trade-offs down to the last detail.

In the world of industrial design, thousands of products are annoying millions of women every day. And for designers, that’s called opportunity. Listening to women—as end users, as buyers and as designers—is a sure and certain path to better innovation, stronger sales and greater career success.

Top 3 Marketing to Women Approaches in Banking

In “Banking Made Better: Marketing to Women Case Study,” I discuss the future of marketing banking and financial services to women. To make these concepts clearer, I’m providing contemporary examples of the marketing to women strategies I helped ACTON Marketing develop. Here are online examples of the top three marketing to women approaches in banking today.

5/3 Bank – ‘Curious’ Brand Positioning

Women’s social currency is storytelling and sharing personal details. They are most interested in how banks’ products and services help people in situations like their own. 5/3 Bank’s series of ads focuses on people’s goals and dreams and shows the bank as a partner in consumers’ lives. They leave explanation of the details to personal conversations with the bank’s employees or further research on the website.

Top 3 Marketing to Women Approaches in Banking

Styling itself as “The Curious Bank,” 5/3 Bank assures consumers that they want to learn about you, your goals and what’s important in your life.

Top 3 Marketing to Women Approaches in Banking

Huntington Bank – Welcoming, Transparent and Friendly

Top 3 Marketing to Women Approaches in BankingWomen are people-powered but are also savvy consumers. Huntington Bank honors these traits through a friendly, transparent approach with their tagline “Welcome” and product “Asterisk-Free Checking.” Instead of offering several competing checking accounts, Huntington focuses on one account that is:

“Free to open. Free to maintain. Free from minimum balance requirements. Free from monthly maintenance fees. And most importantly, free from asterisks.”

For women, that also means free from pouring over fine print and comparing details with Huntington’s competitors in search of the Perfect Answer.

Bank of America – Doing Good

Polishing your corporate halo is an excellent way to appeal to women. Right on Bank of America’s home page, they tastefully tout their “Student Leadership Program,” described as:

Top 3 Marketing to Women Approaches in Banking

“Our Student Leaders® program connects young leaders with employment that helps to give them the necessary tools and resources they need to advance. Through the Student Leaders® program, we recognize high school juniors and seniors who step outside of the classroom to contribute service in their own communities and beyond. Student Leaders® are awarded paid summer internships with local nonprofit organizations and participate in a Student Leadership Summit held in Washington, D.C.”

Other “Leadership and Service” programs include Neighborhood Builders, volunteering opportunities and Global Ambassadors.

These are only three approaches financial institutions can employ in marketing to women—but they are very effective approaches. They are also good examples of how marketing to women’s gender culture elevates an industry or category as a whole. Men and women both have benefitted from product improvements and marketing evolutions seen in the banking world. Remember the days before free checking when banking products were sold using black and white tables of numbers and disclaimers? No thanks!

 

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

In her work for First Union as senior vice president and director of Women’s Financial Advisory Services, Debra Nichols developed an enormously important approach to developing creative that targets women. When starting a new marketing to women program, marketers should allow a longer creative development lead time to build in a three-round learning curve.

In her experience, the first draft comes out “too pink,” with the positioning a little trite, the models too idealized and the copy too sparse. Maybe something like this:

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

The second round, after coaching about marketing to women, comes out “too beige,” with information overload and still little that is really engaging. For instance:

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

This third round, fortunately, brings things back into balance, often hitting the mark, tapping into the meanings and motivations that will connect with the brand’s women customers. Here we go, that’s good:

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

This three-round dynamic makes it essential to set up a male/female advisory group (the women to comment, the men to learn) to look at the creative and identify any red flags before spending money on production and media. Give yourself time when developing marketing to women creative and you can avoid being too stereotypical or too insipid. You’ll take your marketing creative to the next level and be just right.

Check Out This Marketing to Women Fail

Amazon Fire TV is a product that connects to your HDTV and streams content networks like Netflix, Hulu and (of course) Amazon Video. It’s a nifty little product that appeals to the growing market of TV viewers unsubscribing from cable and satellite.

But what Amazon Fire TV might have in product features, it lacks in marketing to women appeal. The product’s new #showhole campaign promotes:

“When the final credits roll and you fall into that void. What do you do? Don’t despair, Amazon Fire TV is here to pull you out of your #showhole.”

One marketing execution features a woman in loungewear, pale from lack of sunlight as she feeds her addiction to her favorite TV show. Then, horror of horrors, the last season is over, and she can only be comforted by… finding another show to watch.

Watch the Video: So Long, #Showhole

What’s Wrong with this Marketing to Women Campaign?

Besides being somewhat creepy (Knitting a full-body straight jacket? The vague ickiness of the word showhole?), here are three reasons why this marketing campaign won’t appeal to women:

  • Women are Ensemble Players. A lone woman, eating Chinese take-out isn’t aspirational to women. Women want to hang out with friends and would be more motivated by ‘viewing party’ imagery.
  • Women are Driven by Empathy. Watching this commercial is more likely to make a woman want to befriend the actress and take her out shopping than make her want to buy the product.
  • Women Love to Talk. Sitting silently in front of the TV is not most women’s idea of fun. She’d much rather chat with her girlfriends about the plot than become a recluse.

Women would probably love this product. Its on-demand flexibility fits into her schedule, and browsing thousands of options will help her feel she’s arrived at the Perfect Answer for what to watch during Girls Night In. But if her only exposure to Amazon Fire TV is this ad, she’s likely to think, “How strange. That’s not for me,” and move on.