Women in Various Life Stages, Wearing Numerous Hats: Marketing to Women: Part Three of an Ongoing Series

Posted by Steve Kleber on Sep 25, 2007


Today’s Chief Purchasing OfficersSM  of the Home– women – aren’t just “multi-tasking” but “multi-minding.” 

By now you certainly know that women are extremely different from their male counterparts in terms of both attitudinal traits and purchasing habits, and that they respond to marketing campaigns that genuinely reflect their lifestyle preferences. 

So, what type of life stages do they recognize as milestones? What are their distinctive life roles? And how does this psychographic information affect the way you market your products and services?

Let’s take a closer look…

Single Women
Nationwide, this group of dynamic women has grown dramatically over the past few years in both importance and in sheer numbers – due to advanced degrees, greater career opportunities, the shrinking wage gap, a steady decline in marriage rates and longer life expectancies. Think about it, these Chief Purchasing Officers of the Home are making most, if not all, of the household purchasing decisions.

For my fellow home industry comrades, if you don’t think you need to target this demographic specifically in your marketing efforts, think again. Single women actually own twice as many homes as single men. Predictably, this number will only increase as younger generations of women follow in the footsteps of their single women predecessors.

Contrary to popular belief, not all single women’s lives resemble those of Carrie and Samantha from “Sex and the City.” They tend to fall into subgroups defined as never married, separated, widowed and divorced. While single women vary dramatically in terms of age, most have in common very similar attitudinal traits.

They are content, confident and in control. And they aren’t intimidated by taking on motherhood, purchasing a home, or controlling the finances on their own. Rather than being devastated by not having a significant other in their lives, they are instead empowered by their ability to seek personal fulfillment.

They value friendships and community and tend to lead active and healthy lifestyles. Therefore, promoting mental and physical health benefits that revolve around a social community is vital when trying to reach this group. They are also shaping the face of today’s businesses. They continue to begin their own companies in record numbers, and are evolving into one of the largest groups of telecommuters and entrepreneurs.

They respond to marketing messages and communications that respect their intelligence, independent spirit, unique lifestyle and unconventional living arrangements. What’s more, they value improved standards of services and products and are privy to those that are reliable, time-efficient and of high-quality.

Another group of women to watch out for are today’s mothers. And like single women, mothers may be business women climbing up the corporate ladder, self-made entrepreneurs or telecommuters. They may even be single women, mothers and businesswomen all rolled into one valuable package.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an average-income family will spend $165,630 on a child by the time the child reaches 18. It’s safe to say that for the majority of women, this represents the bulk of their total disposable income.

As stated in my lastest blog post, women — specifically mothers — purchase household items based on the needs of their families…so you can reach them best through their kids. They look for products, services and companies that will enrich their children’s lives. Providing safety information and useful ideas and advice is a must. They seek value in their purchasing decisions and favor a brand’s support of their practical priorities. Because women conduct exhaustive research when making purchasing decisions, providing detailed information in your marketing materials is imperative. They aren’t drawn to the typical “June Cleaver” advertising of the past. Instead, they are attracted to marketing campaigns that truly reflect their family and the solutions your products and services will provide for their everyday challenges.

They wear multiple hats and are time starved, so display visible benefits that address their sense of balance and perspective. They rarely watch television and are typically distracted, so market to them online, where they have time to shop. Create flexibility by offering extended store hours and 24-hour toll free numbers.

According to Marti Barletta’s latest book, PrimeTime Women, these self-made female entrepreneurs have started approximately 70 percent of all small businesses during the last couple of decades. In addition, the book, Don’t Think Pink, points out that among female executives with a rank of VP or higher in a Fortune 500 company, 75 percent out-earned their husbands. The Center for Women’s Business Research validates this group’s enormous spending power, indicating that businesswomen are the primary decision-makers in households, making 95 percent of the purchasing decisions. Wow…

This group of women tends to lead busy, yet controlled lives. They are heavily influenced by environmental and social responsibility. Like both single women and mothers, they are time-starved (seeing a trend here?), regularly hire help, as well as seek time-efficient products and services. Due to their chaotic and demanding lifestyle, time is a major factor with this group. They desire customer service and training with a personal touch and appreciate efficient and reliable Web sites that provide a multitude of information needed for their research purposes.

To increase brand recognition and market share among this vast and powerful group, you must contribute to making their lives easier. Like Wal-Mart is doing with its new marketing campaign, you should demonstrate clear and direct consumer benefits. Again, time-saving attributes are among the top priorities for these consumers, so include those benefits in your point of purchase and Internet media channels. Ensure that both your sales process and Web site are quick and easily accessible – this audience will regularly sacrifice discounts for time.

In addition, they are influential businesswomen, so not only are they making the purchasing decisions for themselves and their families, but also for their businesses. Establishing your company, product or service as a one-stop resource, is an excellent way to increase your market share on both levels –  on the business and consumer side.

In Closing
Whatever path a woman may choose to take, she will fall into one of these groups. Sometimes she will even juggle life stages, family and careers simultaneously. Remember to reflect women’s unique lifestyles, needs and desires in your marketing materials. Women will certainly continue to remain a powerful consumer spending group. The more you understand them, the better your sales and business growth will be, now, and in the future.

Stay tuned for our upcoming e-newsletter with more consumer traits including insight into bridging the generational gaps. Not a member? Sign-up here.  

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 at 2:45 pm and is filed under Advertising, Brand Management, Marketing, Public Relations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.