Girl Power

I remember being a kid hearing the song lyrics "Anything you can do, I can do better. Anything you can do, I can do too. No, you can't....Yes, I can." Coupled with that, I was heavily influenced (and equally impressed) by my entrepreneurial Dad (RIP).

He was always known for his brass-tacks-no-BS-straight-to-the-point advice. The bulk was caveated by, "Someday you'll understand this..." In the forefront of my mind was the notion of "listening" to find the insight/answer/whatever. It's been the hardest to learn.

Oftentimes I have adopted, evolved and personalized his insights to my students and employees. Take consumer insights for example. What's the best way to understand a consumer? Well this writer says listen, watch and learn. Don't tell them what you think they want to hear before you even know who they are!

In our beloved digital space what we say really does matter. Gone are the days of content and musings not having a shelf life. Once you put it out there you better believe there's a way of tracking it down again; even if you posted and deleted within moments.

Think about consumer decisions for a moment. Who do you think makes the bulk of them?  Right, it's women. According to a recent American Marketing Association newsletter, the economic power of women is a whopping $3.7 trillion (USD) representing the greatest economic force the world has seen in the last decade.

It's ironic, but despite these numbers marketers have pretty much ignored the women's market until now. Have you? Other findings include:

-Over 91 % of women feel that advertisers don't understand them
-66% feel misunderstood by health care marketers
-74% feel misunderstood by auto makers
-84% feel misunderstood by investment marketers
-About 78 % of women use the Internet for product information before making a purchase



I've been involved in marketing to women for many years now. You'd think because I am one, I'd know the tricks of the trade. The truth is I started from ground zero too. I can share with you what I have learned:

A girly look and feel (scroll fonts, pinks, etc) doesn't necessarily mean your site/creative/positioning/et al will appeal to women. It may have the opposite effect.

Women are multitaskers; don't assume they will do a deep dive in regard to anything beyond a headline when you don't have a relationship with them.

Word of mouth online and offline is an integral part of women's lives. Pay attention to user-generated content, including blog posts, reviews and the like.

Treat women with respect. Make sure they know you value them and they are important.

Terminology: I already made that mistake in this article. It's a known fact women want to be referenced as women, not ladies or girls or (gasp) ma'am.  

Offer choices and time. Women don't want things to feel impulse. They want to research, be offered time to make decisions and have choices.

Because women talk with and depend on the opinions of their friends, colleagues, family and community, consider adding viral elements such as send to a friend, the ability to post a review or rate a product/service, etc.

Women are loyal. If they have had a good experience they'll keep coming back. Make it worthwhile to them by personalizing and incentivizing them. Customize communications in a more one-to-one manner. Offer coupons, discounts and/or affinity programs.

And last but not least, just when you think you have women figured out, you are probably wrong.

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