Are You Relevant to Women?

The typical outdoor power equipment customer is male, and many dealers have adjusted their marketing efforts to this fact. Many companies, however, are living in denial of the reality that women account for over 80 percent of all consumer purchases. While they are not the primary power equipment consumer, they have proved their buying power with the $5 trillion they spend annually on new homes, healthcare, consumer electronics, investment advice, automobiles, vacations, bank accounts and do-it-yourself projects.

Women Complain For a Reason

Research indicates that of 1,000 random registered complaints made regarding a product or service, more than 80 percent were written and registered by women. When the transaction goes badly, most women will get mad and stay mad. Their complaints are often constructed of words like “embarrassed,” “helpless,” “out of control,” “hurt,” “crushed” and “rejected.”

These are the same words many women would typically use in an intimate, loving relationship. This is because many women don’t differentiate a personal interaction from a business event; business is personal and emotional to them.

Women Started Viral Marketing

Not only do women tend to complain about the perpetrator, but they also tell everyone else about the experience. 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. Since women speak an average of 20,000 words a day—vs. a man’s 6,000—women were indeed the first “viral marketing” machine. Therefore, when women have a good feeling about the service your business provides, it can create a vast army of female unpaid spokespeople for you. Can you do better than that with traditional marketing?

Women Are Loyal Customers

If you make an effort to understand the emotionality of a woman’s purchase, she will start to form a relationship with you. This is critical because an emotional bond is the only factor that breeds true customer loyalty; not “favored customer cards,” not reward points or discounts, not even repeating their name in a friendly manner. Women don’t want “service” from you, they want empathy. They want to be understood. Once women feel you have understood and appreciated them, you have not only a loyal customer, but a referral engine as well.

Offend Women and Suffer

When you scorn or offend women, look out. Consider the detrimental effects to the Tom Cruise movie, “Mission Impossible III.” It was largely thought to be the best film of the trilogy, yet when Cruise blathered in the press insisting his then-girlfriend Katie Holmes have a “silent birth” as prescribed by Scientology, his immense female fan base stayed home. Opening weekend ticket sales dipped over 30 percent. Don’t mess with women or their sisterhood.

Women Get Stronger With Age

The largest purchasing body is baby boomer women. Many of these baby boomer women have money to spend. Additionally, these women have a strong say in any household purchasing decisions. Ken Dychtwald, author of “The Power Years,” says that by 2015, at least $15 trillion dollars will land in the hands of baby boomer women. Wouldn’t you like them to be spending some of that money with you?

How Do You Get Into a Woman’s Wallet?

1. Think and behave like a woman. Understand that women crave appreciation for their immense buying power and influence. Know that they want you to succeed because they love to introduce amazing new discoveries to their friends. Behave in ways that are caring and honest. Showing her attention and empathy will cause her to become your advocate; an unpaid spokesperson for your company.

2. Be emotional. If you sell a product, write emotional content that speaks to her heart and provides reasons for her to own what you sell. If you sell a service, get personal and sell yourself. The female consumer wants to buy from people who won’t make her feel helpless, anxious, embarrassed or vulnerable. The Nordstrom clothing chain has been wildly successful because the salespeople are warm, friendly and personal. There is also no risk in buying from them. Nordstrom will let you return your purchase for any reason, at any time. Nordstrom breeds trust and confidence.

3. Don’t suck up to women. Don’t pander to women or try to exploit the obvious media stereotypes. Not all women are shoe fiends and show biz tabloid readers. If you take that approach, you’ll offend the Mensa moms, as well as the shoe fiends and tabloid readers. Women want authenticity from you, not hype or false promises.

4. Rethink current strategies. To learn about what women think about today’s marketing techniques, visit marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com. This organization has a robust website to answer your questions. They also  hold an annual conference complete with big name speakers and workshops to help you navigate these tricky waters.

Ross Shafer is the author of “The Customer Shouts Back, Nobody Moved Your Cheese,” and the upcoming, “Remaining Relevant: How Great Organizations Avoid Extinction.” To learn more please visit RossShafer.com.

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