Women Are Not Men
We have all heard the statistics, read the research, and come to understand that those companies focused on winning women’s business, actively engaging and promoting women, and ensuring female leaders are represented on their boards and among their
Women have become a force to be reckoned with
Women have become a force to be reckoned with. In their homes, women are moving into the positions of major breadwinner; they hold more than sixty-percent of the personal wealth; and over the next few decades, women will inherit close to 30 trillion dollars in wealth passing from one generation to the next. And since women tend to outlive men, women will not only inherit that wealth, they will control that money. In short, women are earning more, inheriting more, and controlling more dollars than ever.
So yes, the women’s market is a demographic to be taken seriously. Since it is so powerful, and offers so much opportunity to corporations, why do many companies still struggle to make progress with the women’s market? More than 90% of women feel misunderstood and misrepresented by advertisers. (Source: Yankelovich Monitor and Greenfield Online)
Why? Because women are not men. I am sure that is not a shock to you, and I suspect it’s not politically correct to say; however, it is true. How we women think, what we want, and how we buy is different from our male counterparts and unique to our own needs and desires. At the risk of stereotyping, because we know women are not all the same, if you want to market to women you need to understand women.
6 Strategies To Tap The Female Market
The Power – of the women’s market that is. Today, women make more than 85% of the buying decisions in their households, including
for traditionally male-dominated products such as automobiles and financial services.
In addition, they (more so than men) impact the buying decisions of their parents, children, and friends. The women’s market is so powerful that it offers more opportunity than India and China combined. If you are looking to grow sales and increase revenues, then look to the women’s market.
2. Find Your Target
The last thing you want to do is assume that all women are the same. This is not a one-size fits all strategy, and the women’s market has no room for stereotypes. The women’s market is made up of all different segments of women – younger, older, widowed, married, working, retired, and the list goes on. You need to find the right women’s market for you, your products, and your business.
Here is a news flash: not every woman wants to do business with you. And another news flash: you don’t want to do business with every woman. You need to find your target market, and learn to understand what matters most to them.
The list of companies that made the mistake of not doing this is endless, but my favorite is Dell Computers. They focused on “selling to women.” Not a segment, not a certain type of woman, but just assumed we were all the same. Their marketing focus was on colors and programs that could count calories and make shopping lists. Understandably, that marketing approach failed. Remember, we may share thought patterns and decision making tendencies, yet what specific women want is different.
3. Educate vs. Sell
You need to understand the basic buying preferences of women, and how women in general process information. Most women (not all) prefer the sharing of information and the discovery of opportunity, vs. most men who like to just deal with the task at hand. The reasoning lies deep in how are brains are wired, and the extensive research scientists have done in this area. But what we need to know as professionals wanting to tap into the women’s market is that selling to women involves conversation and education.
4. Mirror The Market
When it comes to opening a bank account or buying groceries, women find themselves represented everywhere, but when it comes to seeing ourselves in leadership positions, not so much. And while women do not, let me repeat do not, need to have a female professional taking care of them, they do need to see women represented in all levels of your company and in your customer base. Remember, you need to mirror the market you are trying to appeal to.
5. Build Relationships
Women tend to value personality over product – the research shows it over and over again. So if you want to tap into the women’s market than you have got to learn to build relationships. Invest in getting to know your female customers before you ask them to invest in you.
6. Change The Rules
Innovation is key when it comes to tapping new markets. While your products and services may be perfect for the market, how you sell it or position it may not be.
So write these questions down – what needs to change about how you position your products to better appeal to the women’s market? What do women need in order to know and embrace and understand the value of what you are offering? And how can you make your product and service just as vital to women as it is to men?
As we look at the growth of our companies and how to stay competitive moving forward, women are an important market to focus on. These are my thoughts and ideas on how to tap into the women’s market, and I would love to hear yours. Contact me at
Meridith Elliott Powell is a business growth expert and keynote speaker, who works with her clients to share the leadership and sales strategies they need to succeed no matter what this economy does. An award-winning author, Meridith has been named one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts To Watch. To learn more, visit www.valuespeaker.com.