Women wield considerable buying power across all categories of goods, and analysts predict they could collectively spend $7 trillion annually by 2020. What does this mean for businesses and their marketing departments? For those who are not effectively marketing to women, it means they will lose out on opportunities for revenue and growth.
Insights in Marketing found that women are unsatisfied with how many companies pitch their goods to them. Often brands use stereotypical ads that appeal to women as domestic beings obsessed with beauty. While many women are family focused, they are also business-focused, value-focused and aspirational beyond the house, husband and kitchen.
If brands are not repelling women with their ad content and messaging, often they are failing to engage them properly online. Women are major connoisseurs of all types of social media. Relationship-driven, they often forge bonds with brands with informal and casual exchanges. They update statuses, tweet, share, favorite and post photos and videos of consumer goods much more than men. They are the gatekeepers of viral activity. Businesses who want to win the favor of women must learn to go to the social hubs where female audiences hang out and master the behavioral protocols to entice those women to become fervent brand ambassadors.
To have the chance to leverage the spending power of women now and in the future, businesses have no choice but to:
1) shape messages that resonate by appealing to women’s authentic core personalities, and
2) Strategically woo women on online social platforms.
A helpful free book by Insights in Marketing helps with the first objective. The book Getting Women to Buy: Better Insights to Transform your Marketing, helps marketers decode the personalities of women buyers by organizing them into five categories or prototypes who adhere to certain predictable buying codes.
Learning the culture of each female personality profile – the Achievers, Conservatives, Predictables, Stressed Women and Experience Seekers – can help businesses customize messages with emotional and psychological appeal.
This female personality type is ambitious and organized, representing just over 25 percent of women. They are multi-taskers who set numerous target goals and methodically achieve them by using systems. They measure productivity by tracking actions with checklists or schedules. With shopping, they are just as efficient, coming to the store or website armed with physical or mental lists of features and benefits that a product must have in order to satisfy. Marketers can appeal to these women not with just images and superficial descriptions of products but with bulleted and thorough facts about specifications.
This personality profile includes the conventional women who most value family, morality, tradition and spirituality. Conservative women make up about one-fifth of the female population. They are practical women looking to invest in things that are sensible and necessary. They aren’t afraid of self-sacrifice and are most happy when the relatives and friends around them are happy. Companies would do well to market goods to this group by including brand messages that echo traditional values; products should be promoted as items that help women nurture and comfort children, spouses and other loved ones.
This category, which also comprises about one-fifth of all women, represents women who are most at ease when their lives adhere to a regular pattern. They perform the same actions and use the same products daily for years – not because they have allegiance to brands, but because they have found something that works and appreciate the quality. To appeal to these women, advertisers should consider pitching classic products that have stood the test of time and are reliable.
Women under Stress
About 17 percent of women confessed to Insights in Marketing that they are stressed and overwhelmed by life. This group of women buys items that offer stress relief, temporary distraction from the pressures of life and pleasure for the pure fun of it. These overwrought women also like advertising messages that boost their self-esteem and make them feel valuable even when they feel crazed.
This group of women believes that experience is the best teacher. They only believe benefits of products they have seen and felt first-hand. They often compare a range of products before committing to a brand. Marketers may consider these women, which make up 16 percent of all females, for focus groups.
After tailoring marketing to the five profiles identified by analysts, marketers can turn their attention to winning women over in social media. This should be a regular part of every marketing campaign. Strategies include following fans back and actually holding conversations with them, whether it’s answering questions about products or seeking their opinions and reviews. Link to blogs in status updates as women enjoy reading and sharing valuable information with others. Create amusing images and videos where product placement is secondary to entertainment; this increases the chance that women will make the media go viral.
Lastly, find out where female buyers of your products are most likely to congregate. Look beyond the most popular social media to find the obscure sites and forums, too. Right now, visual sharing is hot and women are excited about Pinterest, Instagram and Vine.
Heeding these tips and integrating them into your company’s marketing plan can encourage more success among female audiences.
Chris Holt is a Senior Marketing Consultant at Insights in Marketing, a Chicago area marketing research consultancy. Chris has over 25 years’ experience in global qualitative research and shopper insights, including expertise in the retail, travel, food and beverage, pet care, packaged goods, health and beauty, insurance, entertainment, consumer electronics, financial services, and B-to-B industries.