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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.

Make Her Want to Win: Contest Promotions Work with Women

Make Her Want to Win

Women love surprises-and you can improve your marketing to women by promoting contests. But there are some things you need to remember. Women don’t appreciate fierce competition, and they love to share what they know. Retailer Anthropologie holds a “Wish it, Win it” sweepstakes in December, revealing one prize from its holiday collection each day. In this friendly contest, women receive extra entries each time they invite their friends to enter the contest on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Women-oriented promotions will benefit your business in three ways:

  1. Attract attention to your brand. Female-friendly prizes like those mentioned below are new and different, a great way to distinguish your brand from the competitive pack.
  2. Extend awareness and participation. Word of mouth will travel. Add in incentives for sharing on social media, and the news will fly. Unusual approaches are fun and worth a mention, which will not only drive awareness and participation but also keep the memory floating around a lot longer than run-of-the-mill, business-as-usual offers.
  3. Shorter decision times. Contests have deadlines. If a time-sensitive promotional offer gets her to close the sale faster, then its work here is done.

How do you make her want to win and motivate her to participate in your contest? Offer shareable prizes or “chick” prizes-or both!

Shareable Prizes are More Fun

Fly her with her husband, kids and one more adult (Mom or babysitter) for two weeks in the Bahamas; or let her invite four friends to Montana for a “girls’ getaway” soft adventure trip. Timberland sponsored a three-week long sweepstakes in conjunction with Macy’s stores that celebrated the “endless possibilities” of being a woman by offering the chance to win an enriching life experience for herself and her friends.

Chick Prizes are Always Welcome

These are things that women love and just never get enough of. Give her flowers-a fresh bouquet each month, foot rubs or a full-body massage once a week for a year, or a library of chick flick videos and a year’s supply of popcorn for four. She’ll respond to your promotion and tell her friends to enter too, and if they win, they’ll never stop talking about your company.

Even if your end users are mostly men, don’t forget who the buyer is. One of my friends went to a local store called Bleachers Sports, which focuses on sports memorabilia in the form of baseball cards, collectibles and such. During her visit, the friendly owner came up to her and said he was running a “Moms only” NCAA basketball pool-he entered everyone’s name into a random pool, assigned random teams, and if your team got into the Final Four, you won a prize. And not just any prize-first place was $100 gift card to Miss Behave, a sassy women’s clothing store just down the street. Second place was a gift card for his store, which of course would be shared with the kids. My friend will definitely patronize his store more because he appreciates his mom clientele.

Customer Services Win Out with Marketing to Women

Customer service is a given now in any retail situation. Companies that say, “what makes the difference is our service and our knowledgeable, helpful, kind and courteous people” are kidding themselves and not keeping an eye on their competitors, who are all saying the same thing!

But customer services that save women time are a huge hit.

One enterprising stationary store in my neighborhood defended itself against the big box office/school supply giants with an innovative promotion aimed at saving moms time during the busy season. They got the supplies list from every teacher in the district and would pre-pack a shopping bad for you. All consumers had to do was call up and say, “Mrs. Burgess’s Class,” and an hour later, she could waltz in, pick up her bag, pay and zip right out three minutes later.

Customer Services Win Out with Marketing to Women

When I had young babies and found myself hauling mass quantities of diapers, wipes and bottles into the house each week (all while managing an infant and toddler, mind you!), I used to dream about a retailer who would bring it to me in a weekly delivery. Would I have signed a six-month contract? You bet. What’s a few dollars compared to that kind of convenience?

Those dreams have come true for moms today with Amazon Mom. For $79/year, moms get free two-day shipping, 20% off on subscriptions to diapers and wipes, along with select other “family essentials” like laundry detergent and non-perishable groceries. Talk about customer services. Now all women have to worry about is what to do with all those cardboard shipping boxes! Big box stores, which have enjoyed reputations for convenience and low prices, have a formidable competitive threat on their hands.

Get Her to Give Up Perfection and ‘Buy Now!’

 For Women, Marketing Incentives Can Be More than Just Discounts

Traditionally, the role of incentives has been to influence brand choice. By giving the customer a discount, or some added value, the company is giving her a reason to choose one brand over another. While that dynamic is still alive and well with women, there’s also another reason to provide incentives: to break through women’s Spiral Buying Path decision process. Women spiral through the stages of decision-making, re-evaluating previous research in light of new

discoveries and seeking the perfect answer. As you imagine, this process can be time-consuming.

Spiral Buying Path decision process

View Larger Spiral Buying Path

Marketing professionals can use well-aimed incentives to deflect the urge to pursue “the perfect answer,” and encourage her to make a good move now. And offering a discount isn’t always the most attractive option to women. Instead, offer services that are even more valuable to women, pique their interest or capture their imagination. This marketing approach leads to different offers, different timing and different language.

Marketing incentives to womenCurrent car dealership promotions are universally the same: a cacophony of cash offers focused on financing and discounts (“Get $1000 cash back!” sound familiar?). You can’t tell one from the other, which makes you think they must all be ineffective.

A car dealership seeking to capture a high share of the women’s market could run a marketing promotion offering special service to everyone who buys during the promotional time frame, like free car pickup and drop-off at the office or at home for regular maintenance and repairs. Or a car company could offer a chance to win one year of unlimited access to a driver/errand runner who could chauffer the kids, meet you at the airport, pick up prepared meals, handle any little driving errand that comes to mind. Actually, a really cool prize would be to offer women a one-year contract with a service that could handle all those errands. I’ve so often heard women wish they could delegate to someone. And, to all my women readers, didn’t you start nodding along as you pictured the implications of this offer?

So save your discounts and offer women something with more appeal, something that will really help her out. Add a time frame, and she just might decide that “the perfect answer” is to buy your brand right now!

Boomer Women Word of Mouth: The Marketing Mega Multiplier

Boomer Women Word of Mouth: The Marketing Mega Multiplier

Word of mouth, this media vehicle unto itself, becomes even more important for Boomers for two reasons.

First, Boomer women have had a lot more experience in life, with shopping, buying, using and comparing products. So, they have a lot more information to share with their friends.

Second, with retirement approaching, Boomer women will be spending more time with their girlfriends and will have expanded influence on immediate and extended families. Therefore, they will have a lot more opportunities to use their word of mouth. Marketing professionals should care and beware! Word of mouth can be used to spread both good and bad brand experiences around this large network of Boomer women and the many people they influence.

Curves is a brand that really understands the marketing multiplier effect of Boomer women’s word of mouth. Members become Curves’ best advocates when they invite friends to join them. The Buddy Referral program offers members “Bring a Friend” coupons for one week of free workouts, so members can invite friends to give the club a try-and often, members themselves also receive a free month. Individual franchises often personalize this referral program for their members, like in this Facebook post promoting May as Referral Month:

Curves Boomer Marketing on Facebook

Curves’ phenomenal conversion rate of 80%– 8 out of 10 referrals sign up to join as members-reflects the appeal of the concept and the persuasiveness of the “member ambassadors.”

Beware the ‘One False Note’ when Marketing to Boomer Women

When marketing to Boomer women, brands need to be authentic and realistically portray the Boomer woman’s perspective.

This generation is very sensitive to what I call “the one false note” syndrome. She will ferret out the fake, the phony and the contrived in any marketing communication.

For example, I once saw a print ad for a car in which a couple was driving down the road, and the wife was pointing a camera out of the car window. The headline was, “Bill cleverly convinced Mary that sightseeing was best done on the fly.” Well, every woman knows that the point of the story is that Bill just didn’t want to stop. In the Boomer woman’s mind, Bill “told” Mary rings true, while “convinced” does not. No way.

Beware the ‘One False Note’ when Marketing to Boomer Women

Boomer women can detect even more subtle false notes than an unrealistic advertising headline. Marketing professionals also must pay attention to their photographs and imagery. Consider the stock photo to the right, purportedly of a happy Boomer woman on her birthday. But just glancing at the photo, Boomer women detect what the model is really thinking, “Ugh. I can’t believe I have to act so ridiculously happy about another birthday. And in this Hawaiian-print shirt, no less!”

The one false note syndrome is about making sure the ad or marketing message reflects the way a woman sees the situation, not the way a man does. I work with many companies and brands, in a variety of industries, helping them identify and weed these “false notes” out of their marketing communications.

Boomer Women Laugh Out Loud

Humor Helps Her Handle Life’s Hurdles and Helps Your Brand Connect with Her

Boomer Women Laugh Out LoudBoomer women use humor to get them through some big transitions. They are experiencing emotional and life-stage changes like never before-some are dating again, some are dealing with hot flashes and mood swings, some are saying goodbye to children and hello to a whole new life. As Gail Sheehy says, a sense of humor, an appreciation of the absurd, allows us to hit the bumps of life with a little more bounce. One of the ways Boomer women exercise their growing inclination to free themselves from social conventions is by giving themselves permission to laugh more often, and yes, more loudly. Their humor is more personal, more honest, and a lot more ribald. Sit next to a group of them next time you are at lunch or dinner in a restaurant, and you’ll understand what I mean.

By its very nature, humor that’s based on “that’s me” moments is self-deprecating. And as with any self-deprecating humor, it only works if it’s coming from “one of us.” When a joke about hot flashes or gray hair comes from men or a faceless marketing company, you may get a polite smile, but you’ll know from raised eyebrows that you should have kept that observation to yourself.

Tickle Her Funny Bone with Your Marketing Approach

Marketing professionals take note: not surprisingly, Boomer women love funny ads, funny brochures, funny labels, funny package inserts, funny hang-tags on the clothes they buy. Are you looking for a way to add some zest to your brand personality? To make sure your consumer never makes a buying decision in your category without at least looking at what your brand has to say? To give your prospect a little premium item that you know for sure she will keep in front of her on her desk or refrigerator? To give you buyer a little more “surprise and delight” moment that the wants to tell her friends about? Sure you are! Try humor.

But here’s the thing: it really needs to be the right humor. I’m not saying that it’s that hard-I see dozens of things that make me burst out laughing every day. But I am saying it’s very different from male humor. For Boomer women-targeted humor in marketing, don’t let the young guys write it, or even the older guys, and don’t let the young ladies approve it. Young women’s humor is much closer to male humor. Things change when you’ve been in the world awhile; sometimes things that crack up the young folk can seem a little mean-spirited or juvenile with fifty years’ perspective.

Tell Me a Story: Marketing to Boomer Women Through Storytelling

Tell Me a Story: Marketing to Boomer Women Through Storytelling

When marketing to women of all ages, weaving a story can be very effective. This technique is especially powerful with Boomer women, however. The older people get, the more important stories become: storytelling helps us process our lives.

Dan McAdams, author of The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self, has studied how adults make narrative sense of their own lives. The stories we tell are part of the life review. Our life stories, and how we tell them, also help us generate our new identities in the second half of life. In fact, many people create “new” life stories or revise their own in order to make sense of particularly emotional or random times in their lives. As thought leader Rolf Jensen says in The Dream Society, “Storytelling has become an important part of market strategy; whoever tells the best story, and whoever tells it in the best way-will win.”

For Boomer women, a storytelling format will always have more power to engage and interest her than any product description. Women’s fundamental interest in people is so ingrained that they almost can’t resist a story, whereas many men almost shy away from them if they are longer than a paragraph or anecdote.

When using storytelling in marketing to Boomer women, keep references to aging upbeat, remember the milestones she finds important and how she likes to “keep it real.” Use stories and images that are realistic to her age and experiences, and employ “That’s me!” moments for the most poignant humor.

Avoid doom-and-gloom aging scenarios-she’s not feeling that vibe! But also avoid over-the-top idealism; she will see through that ploy immediately. Be as authentic in your storytelling as Boomer women are themselves, and you will snatch the attention of this lucrative market segment.

Marketing to Which Women? Customizing Your Marketing for Boomer Women

Marketing to Which Women? Customizing Your Marketing for Boomer Women

The term “Marketing to women” is misleading. There are many different segments of women (possibly as many as there are women!), and brands need to identify which segments they want to focus their marketing communications on and understand how to reach those audiences. It’s Marketing 101, really, but it bears repeating.

Boomer women represent one way to segment when marketing to women, and you could identify many niches within this one market, I am sure. Over the next few articles, I’ll discuss how, from a marketing perspective, Boomer women are different from younger generations.

She Knows What She Likes

As we age, we come to rely more on our emotions or “gut feel” to speed the decision-making process. Research has indicated that older adults pay attention to and seek out emotionally relevant information more than younger people do, and they are especially in tune with positive feelings rather than negative ones.

Therefore, don’t focus on the product features, the functionality, the price value or other technical information. Marketing professionals should concentrate their messaging on how it will make Boomer women feel when they use it, what the experience will be like, how it will allow them to connect with others and so on.

I’m not talking about every moment having to be a Kodak moment-sappy and superficial. Boomer women know what they like (and what they don’t like) and are more attuned to products and messages that deliver on that. The old saying, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like,” is the Boomer women philosophy in a nutshell.

Your challenge? Figuring our what your Boomer women customers like and delivering on it.

Women Want it All. Can Your Brand Give it to Them?

Women Want it All. Can Your Brand Give it to Them?
I’ve said it before (and will say it again): if your brand is successful with women and meets their needs, you will more than satisfy your male customers.

That’s because women want it all. The Perfect Answer.

Men Want the Executive Summary; Women Want the Full Report

Men prefer to start with the main point and supply specific detail only if the listener asks for it. Conversely, women will often start with a lengthy background and build up to the summary conclusion-an approach consistent with their belief in context and richness of detail.

The same goes for when she’s learning about your brand. A woman wants the full story-and “making a long story short” is not usually the best way to get and keep her attention. Your marketing communications need to make women feel well-informed and in-the-loop. The stereotypical, modern short attention span only comes into play when women aren’t that interested in what you’re t

elling them. Get her fully engaged in your story, and she will give you her attention. And what valuable attention that could be-to the exclusion of your competitors!

Men Care about the Important Stuff; Women Care about the Important Stuff… and the Details

When it’s decision time, women still want it all-this time in your product’s features and benefits. Men prefer to focus in on the important things when making a purchase decision, namely, the top few items on their list of criteria. Once they find something that meets all the key criteria, they’re ready to move ahead on a decision.

Women pick up on things that men don’t even register-either because they physically or perceptually can’t, or because they can’t be bothered. Although it’s true that men care only about “the important stuff,” the corollary is not that women care only about the details. The way it really works is that women want all the same things as men-and then some. They have a longer list. Details matter.

Women want it all. Can your brand give it to them?