Women Buy All the Things

5 Rules for Marketing to the Female Demographic

Globally, women control about $20 trillion in consumer spending, with $7 trillion spent by women in the U.S. alone. That’s trillion with a “T”, Dr. Evil. Women are serious spenders; they account for 85% of ALL consumer purchases, not just makeup, cleaning supplies and braziers. The percentage of female spending on various types of purchases includes:

  • 91% New Homes
  • 92% Vacations
  • 93% Food Purchases
  • 93% OTC Pharmaceuticals
  • 89% Bank Accounts
  • 80% Healthcare Accounts
  • 65% New Cars
  • 58% Total Online Spending
  • 55% Consumer Electronics
  • 40% All Stocks

As you can see from this list, failing to market effectively to women can seriously impact a company’s bottom line.

Rule #1 – Women Are Not a Minority — So Stop Treating Them That Way!

If you want to market effectively to the female demographic, gone are the days of treating women as a niche, minority audience. As you can see from the above statistics, women have immense buying power and the sooner that brands and marketers comprehend this, the sooner they can take advantage of it to dive head first into a pile of gold coins, Scrooge-McDuck style.

Rule #2 – Don’t Just Paint It Pink

A 2010 study showed that 91% of women say that advertisers don’t understand them. It’s not surprising that women feel misunderstood when you consider that the most common approaches to attracting the “fems” usually involves turning a product pink and adding either a bow or a Kardashian to it. This approach definitely fell flat with Bic’s recent round of lady pens. If you want to attract women, you need to stop putting them in a box by assuming that they are all the same. You can do this by following Rule #3.

Rule #3 – Get to Know Your Audience

Today’s female market is more diverse than ever before and it continues to evolve. If you ever hear yourself saying, “They’re all mom’s that hate sports and totes love cosmos, right?” Keep in mind that each female consumer is different, with different needs, interests, lifestyles and problems to solve. Did you know that middle-aged women account for 62% of vodka purchases made in stores? For God’s sake, pay attention!

A few other nuggets that might surprise you about female interests:

  • 46.5% MLB fans
  • 43.2% NFL fans
  • 34% ESPN’s audience
  • Request 65% of the service work done at auto dealerships
  • Spend more than $200 billion annually on new cars and mechanical services of vehicles
  • Female gamers over the age of 55 spend more time online gaming than males ages 15 to 24

By addressing these various needs and interests in your marketing, you’ll be one step closer to reaching this demographic.

Rule #4: Embrace Their Differences

Men and women have different approaches and motivations for purchasing decisions, a key aspect to consider when tailoring your marketing to them. For example, women typically buy things for more than themselves; as the primary caregivers for households, they also purchase items for the others who live in their homes, including children and elderly relatives. Women also spend a great deal of money purchasing items for their business, as they account for 65% of business ownership and related purchases.

Women have been shown to make purchase decisions differently than men; for example, studies show that their approach consists of a lot of online research, followed by discussions amongst peer groups and capped off with more online research. As women develop brand loyalty, they tend to share that brand’s products and services with their peers. It’s common knowledge that people are more likely to buy from a friend, so this tendency to consult friends before making purchasing decisions could prove a huge boon for companies’ bottom lines.

Rule #5: Make a Long-Term Plan

Make note, this market shift of female spending is not a recent trend; women control 51% of the private wealth in the U.S.; over the next decade, they will control two-thirds of consumer wealth in the U.S. as they become beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range that this transference will be between $12 to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and their husbands.

The bottom line — regardless of your product or your preconceived target audience – you may want to ask yourself, “Am I paying enough attention to women consumers? Am I talking to them the right way?” Don’t patronize a woman — she’ll sniff you out from a mile away … and then tell all her friends. Get to know her, build a relationship with her, add value to her life and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.