Unless you have been stranded on a deserted island since birth, you should know that there are differences between men and women. And while men and women differ in physical, emotional and intellectual attributes, their attractions are also on two separate ends of the marketing spectrum.
Men and women have different tastes, styles, likes and dislikes, and while advertising agencies have realized this, they are still not effectively marketing to women.
Women today are not the same as they were in the 1920s, 1950s or 1980s. Women are sophisticated, intelligent individuals who have jobs of their own, own their own homes and fix their own cars. Women have changed, and it is important to know whom women are in order to effectively market to them.
Times, They Are A-Changin’
Women are extremely important in today’s society. They are taking on a lot more roles and responsibilities, and they are interested in products that advertising agencies consider to be “male”.
In 2008, 97.5 million people tuned into Super Bowl XLII, and a little over 40% of those viewers were women. That is over 39 million women, yet the majority of the commercials shown during Super Bowl XLII were geared towards men. Most of the commercials were for sports-related products, beer or cars—things that advertising agencies are still considering to be only male products. Women enjoy sports, they drink beer, they even drive cars, and by marketing their products towards men only, these agencies missed out on reaching 39 million people.
Women make over 80% of all household purchasing decisions, and they are taking more and more control of the household finances. If the companies that were marketing their products during Super Bowl XLII researched this information before making their final decision, they may not have excluded those 39 million people in control of household purchases.
Today’s woman is also interested in electronics, spending more money on electronics last year than men. In fact, 77% of women would rather have a new plasma TV than a diamond solitaire necklace. Women make up 57% of all electronic purchases. They are interested in the TV that will be in their living room, the iPod that will be listened to while working out, and the digital camera that will be used to take pictures of their families. They want to know about these products before they make their decision, and they are truly unhappy when a salesperson at an electronics store completely disregards them.
Women are also climbing the corporate ladder at a steady pace. Women make up 50% of the labor workforce. About 10.6 million firms are at least 50% owned by a woman or women. The average growth rate of women-owned firms is nearly twice that of all firms, and they employ 13 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in sales. Women are also important factors in the financial stability of their households, with over 30% of women out-earning their husbands. That is entirely different than the 1920s, 1950s and 1980s.
Baby Boomer Generation
The Baby Boomer generation is now in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Born between 1946 and 1964, Boomer women outnumber men and make up 19% of the total population.
Companies need to access this relatively untouched demographic. Many marketers have yet to realize that the younger generations spend less than their parents and grandparents. People 50 and over control 79% of financial assets in this country. They have the money, time and willingness to purchase.
Since Boomer women outlive their husbands on average of six to nine years, live 19 years into retirement and may possibly manage a double inheritance (from parents and husband), they are the demographic to target.
When planning on effectively marketing to these women, it is important to watch the way they are approached. They do not like being called “mature” or “senior”. They are in the prime of their life, and are more interested in marketing that calls this out to their attention.
Marketing is slow to undo any stereotypes of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. They are not old women who wear sweaters and live with multiple cats. They are vivacious. Boomer women want excitement. They want to travel and enjoy life. To them, traveling is a way of finding or expressing themselves, and they are more likely to travel solo or with friends than with a spouse.
Boomer women have also increased their online presence by 129%, and in 2004, women ages 35-54 represented the highest proportion of Web surfers. They are purchasing online more than teens and young adults, and they enjoy simple websites that inform. They are also more likely to tell friends and family about what they have found.
It is also important to note that not all Boomer women are the same. This generation spans 18 years, so what attracts one will not attract them all. Some women in their 40s are still working and may have kids at home, while others in their 50s may be retired with an empty nest. It is important to research which group of Boomer women a product needs and aim accordingly.
What Women Want
That age old question that never seems to get answered is back to haunt advertisers throughout the world. What do women want? While what women want in general may still be up for debate, what they want when it comes to marketing is simple. It just takes a little more time and effort.
Men make buying decisions based on a few facts, but it is entirely different with women. In fact, men make buying decisions on impulse, which may be why advertisers tend to target men more than women. Not as much work is needed to advertise towards men. Flash a hot, half-naked girl on screen holding a product, and men will buy that product. Flashing a hot, half-naked man on screen holding a product will not have the same effect with women. They need more.
Women want information. They want to know the basics of the product and then some. Every aspect of a product is important to women. The size, color, material, weight, look and feel, warranties, etc. They want to know it all so they can make an informed decision. Women also prefer websites that lead to more information, whether additional links, surveys or PDFs.
Women want calm and relaxed ads. They are not interested in commercials or websites that scream at them to buy their product or service. They are interested in advertisements that calmly give information. They want clear and concise messages and do not want to be bombarded with useless information.
Women want real advertisements. Women respond better to advertising that features real people, real situations, real product usage, and real reactions. They make purchases for the whole family and look for ways to create experiences where everyone has a good time.
Women want advertisers to know who they are. Women come in all different shapes, sizes, races, backgrounds and educations. Every woman has different priorities, and it is the advertisers’ responsibility to research the type of woman they plan on marketing towards. It is impossible for advertisers to successfully market to a specific woman if they do not know anything about her.
Women are important. They take on a great deal of responsibilities, from personal to family to professional. They know what they want and have high expectations. They want advertisers to work for their purchase.
It will take much more effort from advertisers to effectively market to women, but spending that extra amount of time getting to know women, their likes and dislikes, will only help sell their product to a target audience that is willing to purchase. Women are the future of advertising, and it is about time advertising agencies realize what it is that women want.
Launched in 1999, DiversityBusiness, with over 50,000 members, is the largest organization of diversity owned businesses throughout the United States that provide goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. DiversityBusiness provides research and data collection services for diversity including the “Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities”, “Top 500 Diversity Owned Companies in America”, and others. Its research has been recognized and published by Forbes Magazine, Business Week and thousands of other print and internet publications. The site has gained national recognition and has won numerous awards for its content and design.
The Latin Business Association is committed to advancing women in business, particularly with the LBA Minority Women’s Business Conferences, “Supplier Diversity Made Simple,” and LBA Signature Event.
Read about the highly successful 5th Annual LBA Minority Women’s Business Conference (MWBC)– which took place August 24, 2014, the upcoming 1st Annual Northern California MWBC– coming to Sacramento in August 2015, and watch for details about the upcoming 6th Annual LBA MWBC, coming to Los Angeles August 25, 2015!