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Marketing to Breadwinner Women

August 7th, 2014 by Linda Landers

imagesThese days, when “Honey, I’m home!” is shouted up the stairs at the end of the day, it may very well NOT be the husband who’s come home from a hard day at work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, nearly 40 percent of wives now earn more money than their husbands. That’s a huge jump from just 11 percent back in 1960, and a staggering shift in our society.

Forget the Stereotype. Today’s women are more than just sugar and spice and everything nice. One needs only to peruse the list of Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies to see that women quickly are becoming as powerful and successful in business as men. The 24 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list represent just a handful of the hardworking women that companies should be addressing in their marketing strategies. Women are also the dominant sex earning bachelor’s degrees, indicating that the trajectory for their earning power will continue to climb even higher over the coming years.

Know the Numbers. More than ever, women are driving household incomes and the global consumer economy itself. They influence or control 85 percent of consumer spending in the United States. That’s 68 percent of new car purchases, and 80 percent of healthcare spending. 91 percent of new homes, and 92 percent of vacation travel.

For those businesses that have yet to identify a strategy for appealing to the “breadwinner” women, author Bridget Brennan identifies three smart ways in her book “Why She Buys,” to approach this massive opportunity:

1.  Invest in sales training, because women who routinely negotiate at work expect great service when they leave the office. Research shows that women have higher expectations of customer service than men do.  How has your sales training evolved?  Women will walk out the door and walk off the lot because of poor or frustrating service. Many service issues are based on a perceived lack of respect, attention or even dignity.  Though it’s clear that women are changing, old stereotypes die hard. Some of the best advice for salespeople in the age of breadwinner women is this:  don’t assume anything.  Don’t assume she’s not the decision-maker; don’t assume she’s married with kids; and most of all, don’t assume she can’t afford whatever it is you’re selling.

2.  Make her hours, your hours. When a woman takes a job outside the home, it impacts every aspect of her life, from what time she wakes up in the morning to what she wears, where and when she shops, and even what she eats.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, are you staffing up at lunchtime, when many women squeeze in their errands?  Are you offering delivery options outside of traditional business hours, so she doesn’t have to take a day off work?  Are you open in the hours before the workday begins?  Take the time and effort to study the changing traffic patterns of your female customers to ensure that your hours of operation match hers.

3. Offer Services, Not Just Products. Women appreciate service as much or more than “stuff.” This is the sweet spot for Lexus – their warranty provides free, 24/7 roadside assistance; a bumper-to-bumper warranty; free loaner car with any servicing; free car washes; and free new owner events that help customers install Bluetooth and change automatic settings on seats and radios. Providing helpful service can ensure that women appreciate your business and recommend it to their circle of friends and colleagues.

The truth is that no matter what you’re selling, what you’re really selling is help.  And breadwinner or not, all womenwill thank you for providing it.

 

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Why Teens Terrorize Us

July 21st, 2014 by Linda Landers

Excerpted from an essay by Lisa Heffernan on Grown and Flown.  

I have a teen in my house who is leaving in a few short weeks. Despite the fact that I know that it is only a matter of days until I will bemoan his departure, I am still surprisingly adept at flying into a rage at him. His need to assert his newly adult self and my need to control what happens in my home are too often on a collision course. Despite our deep and abiding love for them, teens continue to terrorize us, creating the type of stress that scientists have now begun to measure.

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One day your young person borrows your car, drives to a summer job and spends the day as an income-earning citizen fully capable of responsible employment. That very afternoon, your kitchen is trashed, there are dirty clothes carpeting the floor, and a well-established curfew has been dispensed with like it wasn’t even there. Your authority has been trampled. Your gas tank and refrigerator are empty, every inch of your car teems with discarded Gatorade bottles, beef jerky wrappers and trash that is simply beyond identification.

You remind yourself that this is what teens are like, alternately capable young adults and selfish self-involved children. You recall that it is the age, that they do not stay like this. If there are older children you throw your mind back to their transformation and then you turn around, willing yourself to be calm, and shriek, “WTF, that is the last time you borrow my car.”

I am alternately trying to figure out how to say goodbye to a child I love beyond reason and so apoplectic I cannot even speak to him. The seesaw that is raising a teen is a source of much stress. Some of it is undoubtedly my fault (or any parent’s fault) as we lurch around and grapple for steady ground as our children travel the rocky road to adulthood.

Teens terrorize us because:

  • They are neither one thing nor another. They are capable of being sane mature adults and petulant children, in the very same conversation. They have the bodies of grown ups and the emotional range of toddlers. They are risk seeking missiles whose favorite phrase is “I got this” when it is patently clear that they’ve got nothing. Our protective urge is undiminished but our ability to assure their safety is vastly reduced. This alone can result in sky-high stress.
  • They routinely overestimate their competence in dealing with adult matters. Even in the face of bad outcomes teens can struggle to see either their fault or how they could have done things differently. As parents with a lifetime of experience, this is painful to watch.
  • They inhabit a world of very real consequences. Their missteps can have profound effects on their future (and on others) yet they struggle to understand the gravity of their attitudes and actions.
  • They live on an emotional rollercoaster and as Lisa Belkin pointed out, they want us to ride it with them. She so aptly explains that we do not need to climb aboard with them (although it takes parents a while to learn this) but this still means that there is a fairground ride operating in our homes.
  • It all happens so quickly and we can barely catch our breath. At age 14 only 13% of teens had used alcohol in the previous month by age 18 that number is 41%. Similarly before age 15, 16% of teens have had sex and four years later that number is 71%. By the time the leave for college 54% of kids have been sexting. Much is changing in their lives, experiences and perspectives and as parents we can struggle to keep up.
  • It is just hard dealing with anyone, at any age, who already knows everything. This impenetrable fortress of knowledge is just one more battle ground in the fight between experience and the hubris of youth.
  • Adolescents confuse understanding with agreement.They think saying so, makes it so, according to Sheras, “They think if they explain something to you adequately, you will agree with them. So when parents say, ‘I’m not going to let you do that,’ adolescents almost universally say, ‘You don’t understand.’”
  • The influence of their peers outweighs ours. It is excruciating when you child values the insight of a peer (a mere child) whom he may have known for weeks or days, over the person who loves him the most and has his interest at heart (and BTW is an adult). It is hard not to wonder where their critical thinking has gone.
  • The balance has shifted. When our kids were small and we were unhappy with them or disciplined them, they got angry or contrite but they were not indifferent. If, in doing our jobs as parents of teens we make them unhappy, they may now withdraw. Punishing our kids always felt bad, but the silent treatment or their physical retreat makes it even worse.

I have long subscribed the U shape theory of parenting which suggests that the most challenging days are at the beginning and the end and that the sweet spot of parenting lies in the middle. I once told my brother that I would do a deal with the devil if my then 6, 9 and 10 year olds could stay little forever. The devil wasn’t buying and my kids became teens.

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So Long Soccer Mom? Carmakers Fine-Tune Their Marketing Pitch to Women

July 14th, 2014 by Linda Landers

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With women influencing up to 85% of all car purchases and outnumbering men in holding drivers licenses, automakers are beginning to make them a focus in their marketing efforts. We’re happy to be included in the Automotive News article below.

http://www.autonews.com/article/20140714/RETAIL03/307149919/fine-tuning-the-pitch-to-women

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7 Major Mistakes When Marketing Cars to Women

July 2nd, 2014 by Linda Landers


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Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is a great example of a leader and game changer. He said it best when he explained the key to his success, “a good hockey player knows where the puck is – but a great hockey player knows where the puck is going.” True for a hockey player, but it makes sense even for the auto industry.

Today’s auto industry continues to be an industry owned and operated by men. Some 95% of the country’s 20,000 auto dealers belonging to the National Automobile Dealers Association are male, and for the most part, it shows. A staggering 75% of women say they feel car marketers just don’t understand them.

Here are 7 marketing to women mistakes being made in the auto sales today:

  1. Making Cars with Men in Mind. Female drivers now outnumber male drivers, according to the number of active drivers’ licenses. Still, many car manufacturers continue to craft vehicles with a man’s larger body in mind. Consequently, women are 47% more likely to suffer serious car injuries than men.
  2. Ignoring Safety in Favor of Style. Marketers insist on presenting cars to women that are sleek and stylish. Isaac Mizrahi even created a new line of clothing inspired by the 2013 Chevy Malibu, reminiscent of the horribly sexist faux pas Ford committed back in the 60s with their matching coats and bags. In reality, women are more concerned with a car’s safety features, along with seating space, power, fuel economy and style. Instead of creating skinny jeans that match her car upholstery, marketers would be well served to show a woman the technology that will keep her family safe.
  3. Assuming Men Handle the Repairs. Whether they’re handling the maintenance and repair requests for their own car or for the family car, it’s a fact that women schedule the appointments and deal with the technicians. Women make 65% of requests for service, and spend over $200 billion on new cars and maintenance each year.
  4. Passing Up the Trucks. Sure, women like the idea of sports cars just about as much as men. The fact remains that tiny, zippy cars aren’t always the wise choice. Steering women toward impractical vehicles won’t get a salesperson anywhere. Women know what they want, and a truck just might be her choice. In fact, women purchase 45% of all light trucks and SUVs.
  5. Pushing Electric Cars. The fact remains that electric cars still aren’t what women want.  In California – probably the most green-car-friendly state – women account for only 29 percent of Nissan LEAF, 24 percent of Chevrolet Volt, and 16 percent of Tesla Model S purchases and leases. Women simply don’t trust the power sources yet, and won’t purchase a vehicle that could possibly leave them, and perhaps their children, stranded.
  6. Asking A Woman What Her Husband Thinks. One of the biggest mistakes a car marketer might make is to focus on the male part of the equation. This hearkens back to the times when men made the bulk of a family’s financial decisions. Today, 43% of Americans with more than half a million dollars in assets are female, and over 30% out-earn their husbands. In addition, more and more heads-of-households are single moms. Don’t make the mistake of alienating a key customer by buying into outdated stereotypes.
  7. Understanding Your Market. Sales professionals get one shot to make the perfect first impression, because two-thirds of women who leave a dealership without buying will not return. So know your audience! Women like to tell stories. They don’t talk in bullet points. They want to tell their story, but are typically interrupted and cut off, leaving them feeling embarrassed and disrespected. When a man doesn’t understand that to relate to a woman means he needs to listen — that’s perhaps the biggest mistake of all.

What changes would you make to current car marketing campaigns? I’d love to know which ads strike a chord and which fall flat, so leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips For Marketing Healthcare to Moms

May 20th, 2014 by Linda Landers

dsc2330Some 80 percent of Moms are the primary decision-makers when it comes to the health of their families, yet 66 percent feel misunderstood by healthcare marketers. To close that gap, here are five tips to consider when developing plans for marketing healthcare services to Moms.

1. Don’t equate pink with female-friendly marketing.  Here’s a sign of how times have changed: Smithsonian.com reports that in the early 20th century, pink was actually considered the stronger color and more appropriate for boys, while blue was better-suited for girls. (“Today’s color dictate,” writes Jeanne Maglaty, “wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers.”)

So while pink may now be a common shortcut to representing femininity, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the association is currently having a negative effect, according to one study that observed negative reactions toward the use of pink in breast cancer awareness advertising. Why? Because pink emphasizes that breast cancer is a risk for women alone, and the connection between the color and gender provides a higher likelihood that women will go into denial about the possible dangers to their health.

To avoid your audience having the same reaction, go easy on the pink.

2. Think outside the traditional family.  ABC’s sitcom Modern Family features an unusual family dynamic, with an older man married to a much younger woman—both of whom have children from previous marriages. The man’s daughter is married with three kids, and his gay son lives with his partner raising their adopted daughter. But some viewers have taken issue with the show’s title. In spite of the family’s unusual makeup, they argue that the three families are actually quite traditional, since each comprises a two-parent household, with one parent staying at home while the other works.

These critics may have a point. According to Jamie Dunham, 41% of all births today are to unwed mothers. Nuclear families with two parents may have been common in the 1950s; but that is not the case today. Be sure your marketing images reflect the times by avoiding overuse of the traditional family.

3. Ask about their challenges.  Nothing beats going straight to the source for ideas and feedback, and one of the best ways to know what your customers want is to simply ask.

Create a survey for patients to fill out. Ask them what their biggest challenges are. Ask them what they like about your product or service, and what they’d like to see done differently. Keep track of the questions your patients ask and answer those in-depth.

4. Be active on social media.  Women are extremely active on social media. This has important implications for healthcare marketers, because it means those sites are becoming crucial sources of information for Moms—for everything from the latest research on vaccinations to how to treat the stomach flu. And remember that patients are also searching for videos to answer their specific questions.

Work this trend to your advantage by being active on Facebook and other social channels, including YouTube, providing healthcare tips and information about your services.

5. Be a source of information for Moms.  Besides being a resource on social media, be sure to provide information on your website through your blog and other forms of content. Think about your patients and what most concerns them. What are the top 10 patient conditions that you typically treat? What are some medical myths that you’d like to debunk? What are the common safeguards during flu and allergy seasons?

Gain Moms’ trust by making information easily accessible. Promote your content through social media channels. In addition to blogging, consider creating an email newsletter – 84 percent of Moms report sharing health-related information via email. And remember that Moms are true believers in word-of-mouth – when they find valuable information they feel compelled to pass it along to friends and family.

Today’s Mom is a social-media savvy consumer who gets her information in a variety of ways. She may or may not be married, and marketing messages that target yesterday’s women in stereotypical ways may leave her rolling her eyes.

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The Buying Power of Women: Mars and Venus

May 6th, 2014 by Linda Landers

mars-venusInteresting article in The New York Times about the very different approach to investing by men and women, aptly titled Mars, Venus and the Handling of Money. At the core of the article? As The Times puts it, “the data-driven approach of traditional firms is alienating many women. And the way that women prefer to deal with money — holistically, emotionally — can be baffling to the guys on Wall Street.”

They go on to say, “scores of recent studies show that we’re in the midst of a tectonic gender shift around money: It’s big, slow-moving and ultimately a game-changer. Women have money now, real money: They earn a combined $29 trillion worldwide, according to the Boston Consulting Group, about $3 trillion of that in the United States. And while men still earn more, women control nearly three-quarters of all purchasing decisions. Judging by other economic indicators, those numbers will only grow.”

We couldn’t agree more. For the complete article, go here.

This story first appeared in the Carlisle Financial Group blog (a Girlpower Marketing client).

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Marketing to Moms: How Millennial Moms Are Changing the Rules

April 27th, 2014 by Linda Landers

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Marketers have long recognized the importance of talking to millennials. But as millennials become moms themselves, companies are being forced to find more effective ways to reach this group of tech-savvy moms.

Kraft Canada’s new peanut butter campaign is an example of how marketers are beginning to focus on telling the emotional story rather than the product story. The ad shows a mother giving a teddy bear to her baby; as the baby grows, she takes her bear with her everywhere. Eventually, the child becomes a mother and her baby begins life with a teddy bear as well. Very few shots of the product or the brand are shown.

According to Leisha Roche, senior director of marketing for grocery brands at Kraft Canada, “The companies that will win in the future are those that find a way to humanize their brands.” “You can’t just push your brand any more.”

Unlike the generations of moms before them, this new group of millennial moms grew up with the Internet their entire lives, and are consuming media almost exclusively in their digital world. Brands need to understand that their messages must be able to compete where people are posting interesting, relevant, human content all the time.

And though moms of all ages resent boring advertising, or advertising that doesn’t speak to them, millennial moms are showing themselves to be much more vocal in their opinions, and better at using online platforms to share those opinions. Today’s moms want to see ads that reflect the reality of their everyday lives – with all of the good, bad and ugly. Not the outdated stereotypes that are infuriating to so many.

As marketers continue to trust that moms can make the connection between an emotional message and their brand without being beaten over the head with it, they’ll begin to cement those important relationships with this group of moms that will build for years to come.

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Marketing to Women: Why Content Marketing Is A Great Strategy

April 14th, 2014 by Linda Landers

woman-shoppingYou’ve heard about it. Content Marketing. By its simplest definition, Content Marketing is the creation and sharing of different types of media designed to create a relationship with your customers and build loyalty for your brand. What could be more perfect for reaching women?

Women, like any other consumers, want information about the products and services that we’re spending our hard-earned cash on. But we’ve pretty much turned a blind eye to traditional marketing — fast forwarding through TV commercials, ignoring magazine ads, and hitting the “X” on banner ads. Great content, whether it is a blog post, infographic or video is perfect for giving us the information we need when making purchasing decisions.  We can comment on it, and share it.  However, when creating great content that is designed to resonate with women, marketers need to remember a few rules:

Avoid Stereotypes – Using old stereotypes and clichés is one of the quickest ways to turn off a female audience.

One Size Doesn’t Fit AllAll women are not the same, and they don’t respond to the same messages. Understand generational and lifestage differences and structure brand messages accordingly.

Build Relationships – Look for ways to help female consumers not only build relationships with your brand, but with each other.

Don’t Overtly Target – Don’t try so hard; we’ll see right through it. A subtle, more nuanced approach is more effective.

Remember the Emotional Connection – Emotions play an important role in a woman’s purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. We don’t always buy a product or service because it’s the best value for our money; many times our choice is driven by an emotional connection.

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The Purchasing Power of Women

April 8th, 2014 by Linda Landers

An infographic by Marketing Zeus shows the power of the female consumer.  Sources include Girlpower Marketing.

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Storytelling When Marketing to Women

March 30th, 2014 by Linda Landers

New Image20Anyone who has been reading this blog knows that women think differently than men.  We’ve talked about how a woman’s brain has four times as many connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain as a man’s. All of those signals hurtle down the superhighway into her right brain – the home of emotional memory, intuition and experience. A woman’s heart is in her brain – tell her a story that is filled with emotion, and explain why your brand is relevant to her.

Storytelling is the marketing buzzword of the moment.  Storytelling certainly isn’t a new concept – in the world of PR it has been a critical part of everything we do since the beginning of time. But with the onset of content marketing, the concept of storytelling as part of a strategy for marketing to women has become of increasing importance.

Stories help women consumers decide if they like, trust, and want to do business with a brand. Stories set the stage to begin a relationship that can last for years to come. Every brand needs a story to be a competitor in today’s marketplace, largely because social media has provided a forum for consumers to have conversations with brands, and stories set the stage for those conversations.

The reality is that consumers, especially women, are not drawn to a particular brand or its marketing goals.  They’re drawn to good stories. Stories that entertain, enlighten and inform. Regardless of whether those stories make a female consumer feel happy or sad, they do make her think and feel.  And the brands that know how to tell a good story will increasingly have her attention.

 

 

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