February 7, 2011
Men, here’s your warning—Valentine’s Day is approaching. If you want to win a woman’s heart, you best be mulling over date ideas, considering gift options and perusing mushy cards.
Maybe a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine is enough to put you in the winner’s seat. If so, lucky you.
But let’s be clear—if you’re a business owner who would like to woo the millions of women who are the primary decision-makers in their households, you need to understand Venus.
They may represent just half of the population, but women make 85 percent of all consumer purchases, including new homes, computers, vacations, electronics and food. In two-income households, women spend 80 percent of the take-home. And get this: American women spend about $5 trillion annually—that’s over half the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product).
I may have lost you at Valentine’s Day, but can I get a “hello?!” now?
Here are a few insights for marketing more effectively to the stronger sex.
Not only do women tend to complain about bad experiences, but they’re quick to promote positive ones, as well. Faith Popcorn, author of, EVEolution—Understanding Women, says that the average satisfied female customer will recommend a service, shop or client to 21 other people. Consider how active women are in social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), and that number could be significantly higher. When women have a good feeling about your company, it can create a vast army of unpaid brand evangelists.
If you scorn women, watch out. Consider the adverse effects to the Tom Cruise movie, “Mission Impossible III.” Many critics dubbed it the best film of the trilogy. But it came out at the same time Cruise was all over the media, insisting his then-girlfriend Katie Holmes have a “silent birth” as prescribed by Scientology. That didn’t sit well, and his immense female fan base stayed home. Opening weekend ticket sales dipped over 30 percent. Lesson learned: Don’t mess with the sisterhood.
The largest purchasing body is baby boomer women. They have both money and influential power. Ken Dychtwald, author of, The Power Years says that by 2015, at least $15 trillion dollars will be in the hands of baby boomer women. Wouldn’t you like a slice of that pie?
Contrary to popular belief, women don’t respond well to schmooze, nor do they appreciate being stereotyped. Not all women are shoe fanatics and tabloid readers. If you take that tact, you’ll offend the Mensa moms, as well as the fashionistas and celeb junkies. Women want authenticity from you, not hype or false promises. Schmaltzy sales pitches that portray women in a one-dimensional light are so Mad Men. That may make for a good TV show, but not an effective marketing campaign.
Understanding Venus is not rocket science—it just takes some thought and insight. And considering the enormous purchasing power that women wield, you’d be wise to get to know them.
Do you already have a strategy for marketing to women? Let us know in the comments.