Don’t you hate it when you think you know something — and you don’t?
That’s what happened to me when I decided to skim “Why She Buys,” by Bridget Brennan, Crown Business, 2009. I’m a woman, a marketer, and a business owner. So, I should know why women buy, right?
I have learned so much from this book. It offers terrific information, and many real-life examples. I have referred to it over and over again (and it just came out in July!).
In addition to explaining how to market to women, the book discusses the five global trends driving female consumers, how to create products with a female focus, the fundamentals of selling to women, and more.
One of my favorite parts was how to market to women. Here are some key points:
1. Women are females first and consumers second. So, to market to the female consumer, you need to understand gender differences.
2. The female economy is enormous. Here are some statistics:
- 80% of apparel purchases (for men, women and children) are made by women
- 52% of all new vehicle purchases are made by women (and 85% are influenced by women)
- 40% of consumer electronics purchases are made by women (and 61% of purchases are influenced by women)
- 70% of health care decisions are made by women
- 70% of travel decisions are made by women
- 90% of women participate in decisions that affect their household retirement and investment accounts
- 20% of home purchases are made by single women (and 91% of all purchases are influenced by women)
- 55% of all wine purchases are made by women
Understanding Gender Differences
Brennan offers five gender differences that affect how to market to women.
1. Women and men define achievement in different ways. Men strive to be independent; women strive to be indispensable.
- Men think help is a four-letter word; women love to ask for and get help.
- Men compete with others; women compete with themselves.
2. Women connect with each other by talking about their feelings and revealing their vulnerabilities. Men connect with each other by engaging in activities and hiding their vulnerabilities.
- Women talk about feelings and like to give and receive compliments.
- Being a shrewd buyer is a form of status for women.
3. Women have a higher verbal fluency than men. They focus on the details and will talk about their love of a product or service to their friends.
- Men are more interested in how things work; women are more interested in what something will do for them.
- Women respond to stories more than they do to just product information.
4. Women have better memories for the details of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
5. Women avoid conflict situations; men avoid emotional scenes.
Applying This Information for Marketing to Women
When you take all of this information into account, here is what you can do to be more successful in your marketing efforts towards women:
- Highlight great service, and provide human help (a real person, not a recording)
- Leverage your female customers; they love to tell others if they have found or experienced something great. Include them in testimonials, loyalty and referral programs
- Display empathy
- Validate that you are offering a good deal
- Demonstrate appreciation, with frequent thanks
- Lead with the practical benefits, not how something works
- Use stories in your marketing
- Leverage third-party endorsements and testimonials
- Sweat the details
- Ask for feedback
- Avoid violent images and language when selling to women
- Emphasize positive qualities without being overly negative about your competitors
If women are included in your target market, consider using these techniques. Your marketing will be more successful, and your sales will increase.
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About the Author: Margie Zable Fisher is the President of Zable Fisher Public Relations, a small business public relations firm, and is the publisher of Women Business Owners Digest (www.wbodigest.com). She offers free award-winning Public Relations tips at www.zfpr.com.