That's the main premise behind Bridget Brennan's new book Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching The World's Most Powerful Consumers.
I really enjoyed Why She Buys. It has some theory, some brain research, amusing anecdotes and real-life case studies.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Why She Buys:
"If the consumer economy had a sex, it would be female. If the business world had a sex, it would be male. And therein lies the pickle."
"It's human nature for people to assume that their own preferences are natural, normal, and "right" without realizing that those preferences may in fact be rooted in gender."
"Women want to achieve success in their life just as much as men do,but their definition of success is different. Achievement is something more internal and not necessarily tied to external factors like beating someone else. That's why hyper-competitive messages in advertising typically don't resonate with women. When women compete, they compete against themselves."
"Empowered....A word men don't often find occasion to use. Women tend to use it quite a bit, especially in business and almost always in reference to decision-making power. Not to be confused with empanada, which is a very tasty Mexican pastry."
What do women want?
Why She Buys obviously has a lot to say about this. Here are a few of Bridget Brennan's pointers:
- Depict a woman having fun with her kids
Show her multitasking
Youthful isn't the same thing as young. Women will respond positively to photographs of older women who look wonderful. (like 51-year old Ellen DeGeneres who was named the new face of Cover Girl)
Make her laugh
Don't assume she's a mom. 44% of women of childbearing age do not have children
Observing what she does is more effective than asking her what she wants. (The hugely successful Swiffer is an example of this approach)
Thoughtful details make the difference between a product women like and women love (Like Swiffer - a mop that doesn't fall over when you lean it against the wall, and is light enough to lift over your head to get cobwebs)
Women are the dealbreakers. They have veto power. If she doesn't like it, the couple probably isn't getting it.
it's specifics in campaigns that make women feel like "they're talking to me - that's my life." Pay attention to the details of your commercials.
People who are quirky and honest and who don't pretend to be perfect find a welcoming audience with women. (Think of the red-head in the Progressive car insurance TV commercials.)
Customer service is what can set your product apart from others if you're in a crowded category. Too often service after the sale is forgotten in the thrill of the hunt for customers.
Why She Buys is on my list of must-read books for anyone interested in marketing to women. Grab a copy for yourself today.