– By Vijay Verghis
Marketing to 21st Century Women
While interacting with my sister-in-law recently, I realized how important a role she plays in taking decisions in her household. Women have always played a critical role in all our lives. Being a medical professional and a mother of a toddler she practically takes or influences the financial decisions of her family, be it a financial or a household product. She is a key influencer in defining the life style of the family. I pondered over it and realized there are millions of smart women like her who are driving these decisions across households. When I look back at my life, I realize this has been happening since long, with my mother being the key influencer at home. She has clearly had an influence on my lifestyle, and now, my wife plays that role.
Female economy is probably the biggest economy where every brand is trying to formulate a success story. A recent publication by Harvard Business Review states that women globally control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years. Their $13 trillion in total yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion in the same period. In aggregate, females represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined—in fact, more than twice as big.
Some interesting facts about this target segment
- Women comprise 51.4 percent of the U.S. population, and make or influence 85 percent of all purchasing decisions.
- Women account for $8 trillion in consumer and business spending.
- Women control more than 60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S.
- Women are starting their own businesses at twice the rate of men.
- Women make 90 percent of healthcare decisions and 68 percent of new car purchase decisions.
- In 31 percent of the marriages where females work, they now out-earn their husbands.
- One out of every 11 American women owns a business (U.S. Dept. of Labor).
- Women purchase over 50 percent of traditional male products, including automobiles, home improvement products and consumer electronics.
- Women account for 68 percent of all total online spending.
Women-focused Marketing campaigns by some leading brands
Brands have started focusing on building campaigns focusing on this high potential consumer segment. Below are a few examples of leading brands and their campaign initiatives, ranging from social causes to an individual’s aspirations.
Coca-Cola addresses the most common barriers females face when trying to succeed in the marketplace. This initiative offers females access to business skills training courses, financial services, and connections with peers or mentors – giving them confidence to build a successful business.
Nike sees women as a hugely important part of its customer base. Unlike other Nike campaigns, which usually focus on already-accomplished athletes, the idea of this campaign is to encourage women to challenge themselves, even when they’re at the beginning of their fitness journey and way out of their comfort zone.
As a part of the Choose Beautiful campaign, Dove interviewed 6,400 women between the ages of 18 and 64 in 20 countries, about how they perceive beauty in themselves and other women. Ninety-six percent of women surveyed said they don’t see themselves as beautiful, but 80 percent believed every woman has something beautiful about her. While many women can see the beauty in other women, it’s sometimes harder to see it within them.
HDFC Life released a TVC to create awareness about its ‘Smart Woman’ plan. The campaign targets young females who are financially independent and live in urban India – one of the fastest growing and socially relevant segment of Indian society
Gucci’s “Chime for Change” campaign raises funds and awareness to promote education, health and justice for girls and women everywhere. Till date, they have rallied support through a global concert, a series of short documentary films, and a range of technology-driven solutions highlighting the stories of girls and women everywhere who want to see change.
Nordstrom is a US retail chain that has placed focus on its female consumers’ in-store experience by providing mother’s rooms where women can comfortably breastfeed and women’s lounges where it is easy to take a break with kids.
We still have a long way to go (Marketing to 21st Century Woman)
While we have a few brands taking the lead, many still have a long way to go. They haven’t focused on this segment and marketers need to look at this situation uniquely. Here are a few things I would like to recommend every marketer when it concerns marketing to women:
- Identify them as key influencers
Most women consumers want organizations to focus on them individually, and go that extra mile to understand their individual needs. Many times we find that women are the ones who make the purchase decisions at home. Brands/Marketers need to actively keep that in mind.
- Listen to them
Don’t assume what they want or force something on them. Instead, listen to them and give them what they really want. One can often see many brands actively taking that pursuit by building more robust customer service or interaction channels through which women can express their opinions.
- Women spend on-line, engage them actively
Females account for 68 percent of all total online spending. Data points out that woman spend a lot of their time online (via websites, discussion boards, and blogs or social channels) and constantly take decisions that eventually lead to a purchase. They also spread the best word of mouth, which eventually closes the deal. To leverage this, brands can focus on digital activities that engage them interactively.
- Mom Power
My mother played a key role in influencing my decisions, and she still continues to do so. Moms are extremely cautious on decisions, and when they take decisions, they are always in the best interest of the family – be it the clothes we wear, to the food we consume or the places we travel. Marketers need to take that extra effort to reach out to these influencers. Be around them as a companion, helping address her needs on priority.
- Working Women
Women are taking lead roles in the 21st century organization. They are driving decisions in large scale organizations to meet their business goals. This is a very niche segment which can turn into great brand ambassadors if leveraged well. Marketers should use this segment as advocates, and drive social causes and initiatives that connect with a wider audience.
From every marketer’s perspective, the earlier we consider and accept the reality that females are an important customer segment- the more effective will be our ways to engage this customer segment.
Disclaimer: All company names, trade names, trademarks, trade dress, designs/logos, copyrights, images, content and products referenced in this blog are the property of their respective owners. No company referenced sponsored this blog or the contents thereof.Spread the word!
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