The marketing to women world is heating up like a house-a-fire. Seems like everywhere I turn someone is either talking about marketing to women, writing about marketing to women, questioning the concept of marketing to women, or dissing the whole idea.
What does it all mean? It means the marketing to women world is fraught with pretty flowers, often surrounded by weeds. All of this budding flora and fauna is surrounded by hundreds of buzzing bees eager to feed on the pollen put off by these indiscriminate plants. The problem is...the bees gather the pollen and offer it, without explanation, to their hive. Some of what they gather is full of great information on how to market to women, some of it, a lot of it, is heavy with trite, cliched advice that repeats mistakes from decades past.
If you're keyed in to this market, and you should be, please get your information from the right people.
A few of the right people gathered together this past week at Bulldog Reporter and I was lucky enough to be one of them, at a marketing to women panel in an audio conference. I do not have the conference link itself...but here's what I learned from my colleagues, during that hour and a half...
First, here are the outstanding women who gave of their time and advice - women worth watching:
2) Kristie Coneys Kuhl of Makovsky and Company (yes, she says, she's "Mrs. Kuhl.")
4) Nancy Bauer of Fleishman-Hillard (Atlanta)
5) And, moi
What follows is a recap, a short recap...
First of all, every one of us agreed that women = power = money. Today's woman, no matter her age or marital status, has power in the marketplace. Women are the CEO of house, hearth, backyard, medicine cabinet, and more. In fact, it was announced that women either buy or influence NOT 85% of our GNP, but 100%. I was happy to hear this as it's been my stance for awhile but I have not been brave enough to put it out there.
We discussed websites and blogs the listeners can visit...for more information. Like Blogher and 5 Minutes for Mom. I mentioned Savvy Aunties and a new site coming soon for single women 40+ (watch Toby Bloomberg's Diva Marketing Blog). These are just a few out of the many.
The Mommy bloggers were mentioned again and again, as if they are a force to be reckoned with - as they are. I know many of you are not Moms - so we don't want to belabor the Moms point (pun intended)...but let's all agree that women, as a group, are more nuturing than men and hence, Mom or not, the world looks at us as Moms. (no, I did not say men are not nuturing, I said women are 'more' nuturing, for the most part)
We talked about stats - everyone loves stats - but what do they mean? The Center For Women's Business Research can give you all the stats on business women that you want...and folks like my friend Kevin Burke can tell you that Mom bloggers are more active with social media. I know, from my connections on Twitter and via the blogosphere, that women are very active connecting, talking, sharing, and just being...women.
Studies show, as more than one woman on the panel revealed, that American women spend trillions, annually. We know that Boomer Women have $$ - partly because they grew up in a time that encouraged saving and they took that advice seriously, and partly because their spouses tend to pass on before them. (no idea how their wealth stacks up today, in light of the recent economic downturn). Other women who have charge of the household finances, whether Moms or not, are masterful at managing those finances, to spend where they know they will get the most for their dollar.
Of course, we talked about earning her trust. Again, across age groups and marital status and even economic status, at the end of the day if you don't have her trust, you don't have the sale.
How do you get her trust? Here are some thoughts...
1) Tell stories. Speak to her in language she understands - the language of storytelling. Be personal with her, and allow her to be personal with you.
2) Don't pitch. Don't sell. We live in a consumer generated world where she has hundreds of options at her fingertips - recognize her intelligence and the fact that she does, really, give careful consideration of all the products and services she buys for herself or for her family...so leave the stereotypes behind.
3) Connect. Connect with her where she lives; magazines are still good places to reach women, TV can still work, and, of course, online...find out where she's socializing. Is she in a social network? More Moms are on MySpace than Facebook. If she blogs, don't email her a pitch - leave a comment. If she's a techie (and many women are) seek out her advice on ways to showcase your products, find out what's missing in her world...offer to provide advice, training, education or information.
4) And then...bring her together with her friends and family, offline. Create those "surround sound" experiences that transcend the strong relationships she's creating online...by creating ways for her to meet her Facebook friends, her blog friends, her Twitter buds, in a fun, entertaining event ... at a spa, or downtown, or at the museum.
Can you do that? Can you market to women by letting them tell you how they want to be approached?
Well, if you can't...you'll be left on the sidelines...scratching your head...while your competitors are out there offering women the products, services and attention they want.
Here's my last comment - it's not about the technology or the tools - it's about the people. Women are about the people (big people, little people, short people, tall people, young people, old people; all people). Show her you understand how to engage with people - and she'll give you a chance to show her your 'stuff.'
Then, if she likes you...hey, she'll share. Here's a lightbulb moment - she would rather share happy news than unhappy news. Good news than bad news. Give her good stuff to share.