According to Forbes and CNN, women make up 50% of the population and control 80% of consumer purchasing decisions. More importantly, women now own 30% of all businesses in the United States, and this number is growing. Women directly control over $7 trillion. By the year 2010, it is predicted that women will control private wealth in the amount of $13 trillion. This fantastic growth in income is changing the face of marketing. Women are being targeted. Charles Schwab, Citibank, and Merrill Lynch now have marketing aimed specifically at women.
Although married couples lead the way in home buying, the number-two position is held by single women. They buy homes. They invest their money. They take luxury vacations. They buy investment properties. Ignoring the affluent female customer is a mistake that no seller can afford to make.
The psychology of affluent female customers is different than that of affluent male customers. Now, do not interpret that statement to mean anything more than what it says. For ultimately, affluent men and women purchase luxury goods and services for the same reasons. What is different about men and women is the way their brains actually function. Newsweek reported that brain imaging technology has demonstrated definite distinctions between the functioning of male and female brains. Here are some of the distinctions:
- When asked to think about nothing, women think about the word “nothing.” Men think about sex or sports.
- Men are more adept at reading road maps than women.
- Women are more adept at perceiving emotions in people’s faces.
- Women’s brains are more flexible than men’s brains. Which means that women are better at multi-tasking because they are less channeled into one way of thinking than men.
Therefore, appealing and selling to affluent women requires a different approach. This idea is confirmed by About Women and Marketing, which researched how gender responses to products, services, and advertising differ. This is what they discovered:
- The way men and women relate to computers is very different. Women see computers as tools to be used like any other appliance. Men relate to computers as they would to a personal friend.
- When making wedding plans, women focus on the venue, the music, the dresses, and the wedding rings. Men focus on the reception, specifically the food and beverages.
- Both genders like to drink beer, but tastes in beer vary according to gender. Women find the male-oriented beer commercials distasteful. Here, then, is an area that an upscale beer manufacturer might take advantage of—advertising targeted at female beer drinkers.
- When shopping for a new car, men perform their own research by reading articles and reviews. Then they go buy the one they have pre-selected. Women visit the different dealerships and test-drive the cars prior to making a decision.
- Women take their time when shopping for gifts, searching for just the right gift. Men dislike shopping for gifts for others, and pursue quick compromises.
- Women carefully select their personal physician. Men are less selective and less concerned about health issues.
- Women are more prone to buy from “green companies” than men.
- Men are interested in mastering golf so they can defeat their opponents. Women prefer to learn golfspeak prior to learning golf so that they can converse with men about the sport.
- When buying electronics, such as cell phones or computers, women are influenced more by reputation, price, and service. Men are more influenced by bells and whistles.
- When buying soap, men want anti-bacterial agents not fragrance. Women want fragrance and moisturizing agents.
- When shopping for bikes, women are more likely to buy a bicycle brand intended for men. Men, on the other hand, almost always refuse to buy a bicycle intended for women.
The above information emphasizes the importance of gender differences in buying goods and services. Being aware of these differences and designing a marketing campaign for a specific audience is vital.