The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Venus and Mars are not in this galaxy. Rather, what we’ve got here are a lot of amazingly economically powerful women looking for products and services that meet their criteria. In fact, studies show that women buy or influence the purchase of 80% of all consumer goods in the U.S. Women today are, and likely have been for many years, buying riding lawnmowers, consumer electronics and boats, for example. They make 80% of the home buying decisions in the $180 – $500K price range according to a recent David Power Homes study, and they are likely to play a significant role in a lot of other big ticket purchases (like autos), in addition to the usual purchases of apparel, groceries and so on. Just because women aren’t directly involved in a particular consumer transaction doesn’t mean they aren’t strongly behind the buying decision.
So get out of the orbit where women are confusing and men just don’t understand. The women you’d like to reach are your wives, daughters, mothers and friends; and the common man actually can learn to serve them better.
Two For One
Here’s the deal: Focusing on male consumers, as has been the traditional approach, will deliver a customer experience that is not likely to be up to par with women. So — your effort- to-sale ratio is just a direct one-to-one.
That’s fine, and it has been pretty successful for you so far, but consider the results when you focus on women’s ways of buying:
Serving women well can really become a two (or more) for one venture! All the effort you put into learning about your customers will be more likely to give you a lot more bang for your buck. When you see your brand through a woman’s lens, and make changes to serve them better, you will be more likely to create a great experience for all customers. Plus, women are more likely to share their experiences with others via word-of-mouth or word-of-mouse, so assuming their experience with you is positive, focusing on them will build the collateral buzz among their neighbors and friends too. (Three-for-one? Ten-for-one?)
What I called this two-for-one marketing approach in Don’t Think Pink was “transparent marketing”. Done well, marketing approaches geared toward the way a woman makes purchasing decisions, will not be “pink” or obvious in a way that leaves men squirming. Rather, male consumers will find themselves returning to a brand that tends to a woman’s often higher buying standards, perhaps without being able to pinpoint why. A few examples of non-pink buying rules of thumb:
-Describe features and benefits to apply To lifestyle relevance, as well as the usual “memory, speed and power”, etc. (Car companies and computer brands are doing this more now, for example.)
-Leave more “white space” on websites and in retail stores. Go ahead and supply every product, model, color choice and type of background information known to man, but give people space to think, pick and choose what they need to see, for when they need to see it in their buying process.
- Make returns easy. Nordstrom built its reputation on this, and men didn’t go “oh yuck, Nordstrom is a woman’s store.” No — men got right on that bandwagon and love the store, too.
- Train sales staff to allow for longer purchasing processes and supply additional information, happily. “Hard sell” is an approach that has long since lost its effect, for both men and women. People know they absolutely do not have to make a decision immediately — they can always easily compare prices and features elsewhere on the Internet if they can’t get everything they need from your site or store.
More from me on marketing to women in future posts on Branding Strategy Insider.
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