Thirty or forty years ago, women were generally not considered to be the breadwinners of the household. Women were the homemakers, the hard working mothers who worked around the clock to raise the children, clean the house, walk the dogs, wash and iron the clothes and put the dinner on the table.
However, the world now is a very different place. Research shows that women are now the primary or sole breadwinners in at least 40% of families. Yet, the majority of advertising is still aimed towards a male consumer. Go figure!
However, companies are slowly beginning to recognise the power of the female consumer. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases- this includes PCS (66%), healthcare (80%), new homes (91%), bank accounts (89%), food (93%) and new cars (65%). Women also represent the majority of the online market, with 22% of women shopping online at least once a day, 92% passing along information about offers and deals, and having on average 171 contacts in their email and mobile mailing lists. Yet still, marketing campaigns still aim to male consumers. Advertisements for cars, for computers, for technology- these are all aimed at men, yet it is the women who are representing the majority of the consumer market.
74% of women feel misunderstood by automotive marketers, 84% by investment marketers and 91% feel misunderstood by advertising and marketing overall.
Businesses need to learn how to sell to women- as they are the ones who are buying. We have seen Mel Gibson create an advertising campaign designed for women in the 2000 movie What Women Want, in which he learns how to create great advertising for women's running shoes. However, from the statistics it is clear that marketers have to market all products towards women- including men's grooming products- regardless of the fact that they are not going to be using the product themselves. Women are not just purchasing for themselves, they are purchasing for their husbands, brothers, friends and sons. Such a marketing strategy was employed by Nivea For Men in the year 2011. The brand targeted women by educating them about the benefits of using the products on their partners, persuading them to buy the products as gifts, or simply as a new grooming routine. As a result, at least 55% of women purchased at least one Nivea For Men product, and 20% purchased two or more products.
How should brands be marketing their products to a female audience?
By implementing these three simple strategies.
What commercials do you hear being voiced by a female? Tampons, baby products, fruit juices and cosmetics. Everything else- electronics, cars, banks, investment firms, movies-these are all voiced by men. When was the last time you saw a woman promoting a sports car on a commercial- and not a bikini clad model there to look good, but a woman actually using the car. Never? Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but the majority still rings true. In the past, the men were the decision makers- going out to earn the money while the wife stayed at home with the kids. They made the money, so they spent the money. However, times have changed, so the commercials need to change with it.
When looking for voice-over actors, companies that can afford it pay celebrities to endorse their product. If they do not have that kind of money, they look for another strong, authoritative voice- and they usually look to men to provide this. They see men as the secure, warm voices that will persuade consumers to make a purchase. New York Times published an article in 2012, titled 'Why Men Always Tell You To See Movies'. Think about it- 'Coming This Fall'- do you ever hear a woman saying that? The NYT concluded that the industry does not want to push boundaries. They don't want to fix what is not broken. However, it clearly is broken and needs to be fixed.
Of course, men should not be pushed out of the voice-over industry and replaced entirely by females. There just needs to be an equal representation throughout the commercial industry. Right now, by having a male-dominated voice-over industry, all that says to women is that they should have no interest in cars, cannot be trusted to deal with the money and banking and that certain products are for men only. Have a female voice marketing the product, and women will respond to that.
2. BEING INVOLVED
If you want your marketing to target women and be effective, then do not let the campaign end with commercials and billboards. To sell to women, the company must be conversational.
In general, women are better communicators than men. Women like to listen, to be heard, to be involved and to take something away from the conversation as well as inputting. Women like to interact with brands, and also to share their love of brands with others. Therefore, it is essential that brands have an online presence.
Whilst only 66% of men use Facebook, 76% of women use the social media site (adult statistics). Women are also the dominant gender on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. They use social media a lot more during the day, and are a lot more active in their usage. Therefore, companies should create a social media site, and when someone interacts with you be sure to interact back with them. If they comment on a photo or leave a review, then acknowledge this and talk back. The other users of the social media sites will see such interactions, and become intrigued by the brand. The brand should be there to help, to chat and to give advice- and if this is done correctly, then the female consumer will show support, Retweet posts and promote the brand.
3. BE INSPIRATIONAL
The final point in how to sell to women, is to be an inspirational brand. Women do not want to see how cool they would look in this new car, or how much people would respect them if they bought this new TV. They do not want to change themselves - they want to change the world. Marketing should not be negative, showing what will happen if the product is not purchased, but by positive, showing the great things that can happen if it is purchased.
Companies need to think outside the box when selling to women. The companies need to be inspirational, and make the woman feel great about making the purchase- so great that she wants to tell all of her friends so that they too can purchase the goods.
One example of such inspirational marketing and branding is TOMS shoes. For every pair of shoes that a TOMS customer buys, one pair is donated to a needy child. The same platform is used for it's line of eyewear. TOMS also has an e-commerce platform on it's website, featuring goods from 30 socially conscious entrepreneurs. TOMS is making a difference in the world, and women want to help them. Through the advertising, women are shown that they are not only buying new shoes for themselves, but also giving a pair to someone in need. There is no room for anyone to feel guilty about making a purchase for themselves when it helps make the world a better place. This kind of branding has been incredibly successful- how many women have you seen walking down the street wearing a pair of TOMS?
If brands and companies take heed of these three marketing strategies, then their sales will inevitably increase. As aforementioned, 85% of the consumer market is women- so please, marketers, stop ignoring the females in your campaigns and invite the female gender to purchase your products.