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Guest Opinion: Marketing to women — where industries fall short


By Sasha Veenstra | Business development, Conference Event Management

As a previous guest opinion writer shared, 95 percent of women are financial decision makers, 84 percent of married women are either solely or jointly responsible for household financial decisions, and within the next decade, women will control more than two-thirds of the nation’s wealth. These are astounding statistics, which leaves me perplexed as to why industries aren’t marketing more toward women.

This enormous shift in wealth and purchasing power by women hasn’t happened overnight. The percentage of female senior executives, business owners and entrepreneurs who are accumulating sizable assets and wealth is rising significantly. College campuses are nearly 60 percent female. Baby boomer women stand to inherit wealth twice in the coming years – first from their parents and in-laws and then from the husbands they will statistically outlive. These numbers have been in front of us for some time and yet many industries are struggling to connect and effectively market to women. 

Regardless of the industry, there are a few common reasons for this disconnect.

In my financial services experience, women view money differently than men. Many women aren’t focused on accumulating wealth but view money as a way to care for their families, improve their lives and find security. By focusing on these aspects, you may have more success in marketing any product or service to women.

They don’t want to be “talked at.” They want to be “talked with.” The type of service and communication is extremely important to effectively connecting with women. Skip the fancy graphics and catchy slogans and just tell them what your product does and why it meets their needs. Business is a partnership to women. Actively listen and build a rapport with them and you’ll have a lifelong customer.

Avoid the pink! Likely the single most important rule to marketing to women is to not generalize the entire gender. Women can be a mom, a wife, a single parent, a widow, an entrepreneur, a doctor, etc. Women are diverse with different life experiences, needs and expectations. Generalizing women in any one category can absolutely hinder your ability to connect with and market to them.   

This past Super Bowl Sunday, many of us tuned in to watch the big game but also to watch the highly anticipated commercials. I challenge you to reflect on these commercials and ask yourself who was their target audience and did they hit the mark.

Sasha Veenstra leads business development for Conference Event Management, which helps companies achieve their goals and improve productivity. 

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