Marketers are at long last waking up to the fact that there is no such being as ‘woman’ and that taking a homogenous approach to the female of the species is not just plain insulting but extremely poor marketing as well.

Here are a few facts that might make some of our leading brands have another look at their marketing strategy sooner rather than later.

Wealth and market disruption

In the UK women are directly responsible for around 60% of all spending but are actually the decision maker in an estimated 85% of purchase decisions.

Even in the notoriously male automobile market women are recognised as being the decision maker in 60-80% of car purchases, according to Aston Martin, who are rethinking their models to better meet the preferences such a powerful lobby. Porsche quote similar research and back it up with incredible statistics; over half of total sales for this iconic sports car manufacturer come not from the iconic sports cars but their SUV, the Cayenne, with the growth being accounted for disproportionately by women buyers.

Even in the middle of the market Nissan put the figure at around 70% globally and, of particular interest, say that the percentage of women making the buying decision is higher in the developing and new emerging markets.

Only the beginning

We know that some of this is due to the changing face of work; 67% of women now work either part-time or full-time (for men that figure is 77%) up from 62% twenty years ago and with pay inequality gradually declining with women forecast to earn 82% of a male equivalent by 2017, up from 79% now; suggesting total equality is actually in sight.

So, increasing financial independence is part of the explanation for the huge purchase influence but, according to Marketing magazine (6.3.2015), the real explanation is far more complex and challenging than simple economics.

This, they say, is the tangible result of the growth in confidence of women globally, no longer prepared to accept a stereotypic role as a male accessory, a mother figure and homemaker as so many religions and cultures have traditionally portrayed women.

A technical marketing challenge

For the marketer this requires a fairly fundamental rethink on a number of levels. Firstly many women do not think that products and services are designed for them; even in a market as asexual as financial services 75% of women respondents complained about product relevance and targeting.

According to She-conomy, US specialists in marketing to women, “Women don’t want to see a lot of “cutesy” pink floral imagery in advertising. Instead, marketing that features a strong and confident woman is much more appealing to this demographic”.

And that takes us back to the title; what women really, really want is great content that designed to appeal to and respect the incredible range of differences to be found within the female gender itself. According to She-conomy and Marketing magazine this means that future marketing efforts must be relevant to them as individuals, as people, and woe betide the marketer who does not pursue a less historically based understanding of their female customers.

However, there is one issue of relevance, although a slight anomaly as it once again homogenises women, but according to She-conomy, women think about purchases differently to men. Men, they say, have technical needs and want instant gratification; women, on the other hand want endorsement and ‘confidence through conversation’.

Which is why native content is so suited to the challenge. Content that speaks the language of the reader, content that is designed to complement the editorial, content that is crafted, and always has been, to create a conversation and build confidence.

Author Adam Knoyle

More posts by Adam Knoyle

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