When it comes to marketing, many companies and organizations fail to recognize the vast influence of female consumers, or worse yet, classify women as a ‘niche’ market. Not only do women control approximately 85% of purchasing decisions in the U.S., they are increasingly populating the ranks of management; thereby impacting decisions in the B2B environment as well.
With all of this power and influence, it’s simply smart business to understand the role gender plays in marketing. From crafting messages that resonate with female audiences to designing marketing and public relations campaigns that produce real results, here are a few ‘rules’ to consider:
Rule #1: Examine your entire business through a female lens.
It may time to take an honest look at your business through the eyes of a woman. This is an especially important process for companies with a high percentage of men in senior management and marketing roles. Study how she navigates through the website and observe how she interacts with the sales team and customer service personnel. Most importantly, ask her how she experiences the product or service.
Rule #2: Assume she’s making the financial decisions.
The numbers speak for themselves. Women have tremendous buying power in America today with Nielson Consumer Research estimates ranging from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually. From new homes and cars to banking and consumer electronics, women are the decision makers. Smart marketers know this and adapt strategies accordingly.
Rule #3: Don’t assume she’s married.
Whether feeling overlooked while considering a major purchase, or being asked if the husband will be home for the presentation, many marketers still make the assumption that most women are married. It’s time for a wake-up call (and better sales training). According to the National Center for Marriage and Family Research at Bowling Green State University, 47 percent of American women over the age of 15 are not married. This is the lowest point since the turn of the century, due in part to the rising age of first-time marriage, which is now 27.
Rule #4: Reach her where she is—on the go!
Women are busy. In fact, roughly 80 percent of women use their smartphones to search the Internet. Brands must shift their focus to providing optimal online experiences regardless of platform. Companies whose websites and email campaigns are not optimized for mobile device delivery are losing audiences fast and furiously. Consider every customer a multichannel customer and deliver content and service that encourage her to keep coming back.
Rule #5: Be social.
Women outnumber men when using social media to stay connected. They utilize social media to keep in touch with family and friends, share photos, entertain themselves and their children, as well as share information. And they continue to dominate Facebook. A solid social media strategy is an essential marketing tool and can often be effective in the B2B space as well.