The latest market research yet again points out that women make the majority (about 70%) of purchase decisions for consumer goods. Women are also the fastest growing global market, meaning that even outside the United States women are gaining purchasing clout. So, if you have a business that markets to women it would be good to know about how they make purchasing decisions and how they think about the products and services they use.
Not long ago, an article by Michael Silverstein for the Wall Street Journal posited that most consumer goods and services are developed by men. These men consult with other men to develop products and the marketing for those products. Whether you are male or female, take into consideration a few things about how women buy and watch your sales to women improve.
- Women buy based on the emotional appeal of a product or service. While men do this, too, men are more apt to get into a certain purchasing habit and stay there, not looking around so much for what is new and appealing in the market. Women like to feel good about what they purchase, and will buy on emotional appeal more than on habit.
- Women aren't so impressed with a company's decision to cut price when sales drop. We worry about whether the quality of the product has dropped, thinking that something we have previously bought might now be second rate. We notice a drop in product quality (thinner material or less give in the fit).
- Women shop more than men (big surprise, I know). What this does is make us far more aware of what's selling well, what's bombing, and where prices have changed. We have a better sense of the market because we are in it more, especially online.
- Women like to know what's new. If a company makes tiny little changes to their product rather than truly producing something more innovative and easier to use, women are not impressed. We have a great ability to review a product and immediately see what will work or not work before even laying hands on the item. (Again, we shop and compare online.)
- We like to give something that says “I love you.” We look for that more than something practical. Research shows that women say love is important in their lives, second only to time.
- We like color and look for products to give us flair. Men will more often use black and white. While we like the flair and excitement of color and style, men buy based on function, durability, and price.
- Women talk about what they buy. This is a critical factor to remember when marketing to women. We share information personally and online about our likes and dislikes. We connect with other women over our purchases. Research shows that a pleased woman customer will impact at least nine other women to buy from you. This is amazing reach! Word of mouth marketing works with women.
- We like products and services that save time. Cumbersome packaging and hard to use products don't get the nod.
While these points hold true for any industry, women complain in particular about financial services that are aimed toward the male of the house (even when the woman is the major bread winner), health care services (we don't like the endless waits) and durable goods (we don't like that a good portion don't do what they say they will do). Keeping these facts in mind can help you create and sale to women more successfully than many companies do.
(c) Sue Painter