Ah, Monday. Yes, friends, this is Monday, a holiday Monday--the morning after fireworks dazzled and delighted many of us all over the U.S. Now the ooohhhs and aaahhhhs are over and citizens of the U.S. can look forward to Thanksgiving, a holiday I consider much more fun than Fourth of July. Because we have an extra day of vacation, let's all stay home, nap, catch up on email, eat strawberry shortcake, and watch re-runs of Law and Order. Okay, okay...you go picnic. I'm napping and watching Law and Order, after I make this post.
The reports on spending for the summer are not out yet, of course, and won't be until we are well into our scarves and winter coats, but the reports for first quarter 2004, are promising, indeed.
According to the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, retail e-commerce showed an increase of 28% this year, over first quarter last year. The report I viewed, from TechTarget's CRM department quoted online advertising, e-mail and database marketing company, DoubleClick, saying "online shoppers are spending more time making their buying decisions, though orders made from on-site searches have increased."
As we move into the second half of 2004, I predict that online spending will continue to grow. I predict that Jane will open her purse more often, do her comparison shopping, and click those credit card numbers into sites that give her good reason to buy from them. She will be buying birthday gifts, graduations gifts (graduations seem to go on and on, at least here they do!), friendship gifts, gifts for the grandchildren, gifts for the boyfriend, gifts for the girl friend who's feeling down, gifts for her cousin who just bought a new house; oh, just about any number of gifts. And, she'll be buying last minute gifts for herself. Very shortly, she'll be gearing up for fall.
Let's not forget the entrepreneurs. Jane is still opening businesses in record numbers. She'll need office supplies, business suits, briefcases, cell phones, PDAs, business cards, marketing materials, websites, blogs, and more. According to the Women's Center for Business Research, "Most women business owners currently seeking capital want it to hire staff (82%), expand markets (76%), add a new product or service (68%), and improve the quality of their product or service (58%)."
Are you ready?
This note from DiversityInc.com indicates that "Women of Color Are on a Buying Spree." (access to the complete article is limited to registered members, but you can afford it...give it a try). Before you pooh-pooh the enouragement in the parentheses, look at these numbers and ask yourself if you shouldn't be giving this market more attention:
* African-American, Latina, and Asian-American women have distinct buying patterns--they ARE NOT the same! Do not think you can market to them using the same marketing message.
*There are 32.7 million women of color, offering $723 billion in purchasing power.
* The population of women of color increased more than seven times that of white women, between 1995 and 2002.
* This market likes to shop, and they, like all women, desire to please others, family and friends included. Remember that within each individual's group of family and friends, there are men, children, and other women. Your product is perfect for one of them. Or all of them.
When marketing to women of color, you must do your homework. My next book, the research for which is sitting next to me right now, will address the cultural aspects of this amazing group of women, but I won't have it ready for you in time for fall. Become a member of Diversity Inc. and learn more about women of color, and don't forget to do some surveys on your site. Ask women what their preferences are, remaining politically correct by using cookies or other technical means to track where they are coming from, which should give you a clear indication of which group you're tracking.
Don't think you already know these women. For instance, how many of you are familiar with Elizabeth Vargas who often subs for Peter Jennings on the ABC news? Learn more about her, and about women like her, at Hispanicsonline.com.
To learn more about black women and how their influence is rising in the U.S., not only within their own cultural circle, but within the business world both online and off, visit Blackvoices.com and read about Laura Thackery who designed "a computer-modeled crash-test dummy that would better protect a particular subset of automobile passengers: pregnant drivers and their unborn babies." The key point here is that Laura is not black. Blackvoices.com is a serious online magazine reporting on serious issues, some black, some not. The lesson is to explore the site, learn more about what motivates this demographic--and learn to understand it better. The story about how Laura Thackery developed one of the first crash test dummies to represent pregnant women is an important story for everyone, not just blacks. That it's featured on the Blackvoices site says something powerful. If you can figure out what that is, you have a good chance of selling to this market.
What's not to like about that?