Category Archives: Milestone Marketing

Complete the Puzzle When Marketing to Women

For women consumers, a single purchase is just one piece of the puzzle. If your marketing strategies can help her find the missing pieces, she’ll reward you with purchases, loyalty and referrals.

When she buys a pair of dress pants, for instance, it’s usually just one part of a new outfit intended for a particular purpose, say, a job interview. Marketing professionals should remember that women look forward to and emphasize milestones in their lives. Women usually organize purchases around those milestones, as well.

Department stores already do a good job of grouping multiple items that go together. Whereas men’s apparel is usually organized by type (shirts, jackets, slacks, etc.), women’s apparel is usually organized by outfits. Women who come in intending to buy a new pair of slacks generally leave with a coordinating blouse, sweater, and perhaps, a jacket as well.

Websites and catalogs are able to take this a step further and integrate the belt, shoes and jewelry into the outfit. Popular retailer Anthropologie is masterful at marketing to women in this way. Their regular emails usually highlight an appealing “look” and offer all the pieces for purchase, right on one page. Here’s an example of an outfit suggestion:

Complete the Puzzle When Marketing to Women

The brand also provides “Look Book” suggestions of how to coordinate different products for a beautiful style. Just check out this cool and breezy living room:

Complete the Puzzle When Marketing to Women

Lots of other retailers can take this marketing approach, both online and in-store. Home improvement stores have started with kitchen and bath “collections.” Banks could implement more milestone-related marketing, and even restaurants could group meal components together instead of the traditional organization of “Appetizer, Entrée, Drinks.”

I challenge marketing to women professionals to think creatively about how they organize their products and services for sale—what makes the most sense for your warehouse might not be ideal for women consumers.

Milestone Marketing to Boomer Women

Milestone Marketing to Boomer Women

Milestone marketing is the practice of focusing on major changes in customers’ lives and developing strategies to help them during the transition. Boomer women will be transitioning through many milestones in the next few years, and marketing to them at each stage can be very rewarding for relevant brands.

All milestones have two qualities in common:

1.     The incremental tasks and logistics are almost always handled by the woman.

2.     There is usually a substantial emotional component.

Chances are that Boomer women are more skillful than younger women at handling both the logistics and the emotions because they have more experience and are equipped with greater equanimity.

Boomer women have very specific milestones to their stage of life. There are the difficult ones: the 3 D’s – Divorce, Death and Diagnosis of disease. And the more positive but still challenging transitions to a new job, new home, new husband, daughter’s wedding, first grandchild and so forth.

Milestones are the markers at the beginning of a new phase, characterized by high demands on time, money and transitional skills. By their very nature, milestones create new and urgent spending needs. Therefore, marketing professionals should anticipate these needs and be where Boomer women will be looking for information to guide them through these transitions.

Milestone marketing can be a very effective targeting strategy. Those marketing to Boomer women at a time when they are particularly likely to be looking for help might consider focusing their product, services and marketing communications on one or more Boomer milestones. The media vehicles are easy to find because each milestone has its own vehicle. And you have the advantage of knowing what her most pressing problem is at that moment, so you know how to help right then and there.

Boomer Women Caregivers and Healthcare Marketing Opportunities

Marketing to Boomer Women with Caregiving Products and Services Will Win Loyalty for Generations to Come

Boomer Women Caregivers

Being caregivers means that Boomer women will be making decisions not just for themselves but for their care recipient(s) as well. From finances to housing to health care to food, a lot of money will be passing through caregivers’ hands, and marketers have the opportunity to establish long-term relationships with these important decision-makers. They will be looking for products and services that make both their lives and their care recipients’ lives easier. If you provide these, you will earn not only their deep an immediate appreciation, but also a longer-term loyalty payoff because they may ultimately provide caregiving help of some sort to 2-3 (or more) recipients, such as their husband’s parents and eventually their own husbands. They will certainly be providing caregiving advice to their friends, too.

Furthermore, Boomer women caregivers will also be looking ahead to their own needs for care. They are making decisions not only for this generation of caregiving, but for future generations as well.

Boomer women will be a caregiving marketing channel in and of themselves. They will use word of mouth to learn about and spread the good (and bad) word about any and all developments in caregiving that make their lives, and the lives of their care recipients, better.

Resistance Chair Exercise System

They are ready and able to be caregivers, but they would love some help retaining control of their own lives while providing care for their loved ones. Here are a couple marketing ideas and opportunities I’ve encountered:

  • Driving Miss Daisy, a Canadian franchise firm, provides transportation and companion services that takes seniors shopping, to doctors’ appointments, lunches and other social events. The company markets itself by emphasizing extra care and security for their customers. What a break-and what a boon-for the caretaker.
  • The Resistance Chair Exercise System is designed for seated, low-impact exercise. It’s an innovative approach to helping older adults or anyone with a physical limitation achieve optimum exercise benefits at home. One reviewer writes, “Made for seniors by seniors. The best thing about the chair and videos is that they show senior citizens, male and female, doing the exercises.”
  • Clothing that fastens with Velcro or magnets. An acquaintance of mine was looking for a bra for her aunt that would close in the front with a magnet-the only options were, shall we say, for a different purpose than the ease of putting the bra on. But imagine how happy she would have been to help her aunt be more independent and feel more put-together had she been able to purchase one.

While the 45% of Boomer womenwho are actually caregivers spend only a small amount of time providing care, they and their families will welcome a revolution in products and services that make caregiving a more integrated and positive life-stage.

Boomer Women: How Much Do They Really Care?

For Boomer women, caregiving is not the devastating burden the media makes it out to be

Boomer Women as caregivers

Family caregiving is nothing new to American culture. Yet, if has received a lot of press lately, specifically focused on what I call the “poor” story,  about how Boomers are going to be burdened by their long-living parents and how this devastating financial and emotional weight will ruin their lives and make the second half of adulthood a nightmare. The “poor” story highlights Boomer women especially, who supposedly will find themselves shackled to their caregiving role for their entire lives, caring first for their children and then for their parents and elderly relatives.

The caregiving phenomenon has even given rise to a term for Boomer caregivers-the Sandwich Generation-those who are squeezed in the middle taking care of both the younger and the older generations at the same time. While there is some truth to the rumors about this new life-stage, the reality is that most Boomer women will not be saddled with the role of caregiver-even the somewhat hysterical NPR piece can only bring itself to report one-in-seven adults supporting both parents and kids. For the women who are in this situation, it is not as devastating as most accounts have thus far painted it to be.

The facts about Boomer women and caregiving

With the media hype, sometimes we get the impression that caregiving is a good deal more widespread than it actually is. So how many Boomer women are actually caught up in caregiving? It’s not an easy question to answer. Here’s my analysis. The 2009 National Alliance for Caregiving study reports that in the US, there are an estimated 19 million Boomer women caregivers (Of the estimated 65.7 million caregivers, 44% are Boomers and 66% are women).  The 2010 Census shows about 42 million Boomer women total, which means 45% of all Boomer women are caregivers! Wow! Sounds pretty widespread, right? Well not so fast.

To qualify as a caregiver in the National Alliance study, a person must perform at least one lighter-weight task, like grocery shopping, driving, housework, laundry, doing dishes, paying bills or filling out insurance claims-that makes the role of caregiver seem more reasonable, doesn’t it? Only 13% of caregivers fit the stereotypical concept of caregiving-helping with lighter tasks and at least two harder chores while providing more than 40 hours per week of care. And only 15% of caregivers report feeling a strong sense of financial hardship as a result of their care.

Boomer women in their own words

When I conducted research into Boomer women for my boom PrimeTime Women, caregiving came up spontaneously, indicating that is indeed a fact of like for many of our participants. These comments give perspective into the caregiving activities of Boomer women:

“My husband and I make frequent trips about once a month to New Jersey to visit my mother-in-law. She will be 89 this year and is in a continuing care facility.” – Dee Dee, 54

“We have been visiting my mother-in-law about 4-5 times a year. She lives two days away by car.” – Susan, 58

“I worked part-time until about 10 years ago. I have been taking care of elderly relatives since then. However, physically, I feel good. My husband and I are happy. He retires next month.” – Tomi, 62

Marketing professionals shouldn’t get caught up in the popular narrative that being a Boomer woman means having no time for herself because of her duties to aging parents and children. Boomer women care-but caregiving is not the defining feature in most of their lives.

Marketing to Women Before the Big 5-0

Marketing to women before the big 5-0

Marketing to Boomer women past 50 can be a delight-these women, as a group, are full of vitality and zest for life. But this outlook on life doesn’t happen instantly. Along the way, women definitely go through an attitude change along with “The Change.” As women in their 40s approach their 50th birthday, many of them are definitely not seeing the world as a happy place. First we’ll overview their attitudes, then address what marketing professionals can do about it.

In research for my book PrimeTime Women, we suspected there would be differing attitudes amongst women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, so we structured our Girlfriend Groups to keep each decade together. And, boy, were we right!

Women in their 50s and 60s embrace their age with passion and pride. But those women in their 40s-whew. When talking about aging and its effects on appearance, lifestyle, finances and so on, they’re either in complete denial and want to remain that way, or they’re filled with fear and anxiety; they expect the worst and are devastated by the mere thought of turning 50. Here are some of their thoughts:

“I just kind of believe in the Scarlett O’Hara approach-I’ll worry about that tomorrow.” – Carolyn, 46

“When you’re 50, you don’t feel like a sexy lady anymore. You’re grumpy.” – Luz, 46

So what’s a marketer to do when marketing to women in their 40s? Fright and denial don’t really make for good marketing campaigns, would you say? But there’s hope around the corner!

In talking with women in their 50s and 60s, it was clear they had crossed the threshold and found a brave new world on the other side. In fact, the National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University discovered that more than half of women over 50 felt that “getting older is ‘much’ better than they had expected.” Here are two statements from our Girlfriend Groups:

“For me, turning 50 was like coming into your own. You stop worrying about a lot of things and do what you want.” – Debbie, 54

“I am blessed with a lot of friends. God has been good to me, and I am looking forward to 60 more years.” – Shirley, 66

The marketing approach for reaching women in their 40s is to think “aspirational”-we know in a few years these women will be loving life again. Let’s help them get there faster by dispelling the “granny” and “elderly” myths and instead accurately portray life after 50 in our marketing campaigns, advertising and messaging. After all, modern media is partly to blame for these women’s anti-aging attitudes… let’s work to repair that image!