Guys, Knowing That Women Are Your Market Is Only Half The Battle. Now, The Race Is On To Figure Out How To Connect With Her Effectively.


Video excerpt: Holland+Holland partnered with Porsche® to discuss marketing to women

Female car buyers are making up a larger customer base for some of the top domestic auto brands, but none approach the gains that Porsche has made with women this past year.

Of all automakers Porsche® has made the largest relative market share gains among women nationwide over the past year, according to an analysis from Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. From January through August 2011 23 percent of Porsche buyers were female, compared to 19 percent during the same period last year. The growth accounts for a 21.1 percent proportional change, year over year.

Knowing that the female is your market is only half the battle and Porsche® Cars of America understands that.

Responding with effective product and marketing changes is what places them at the top. They get that all women are not alike.

Porsche® has not only added the Cayenne SUV and Panamera 4-door sedan models, they know that some women love their sports cars, too.

I was very fortunate for the opportunity to participate in creating one of the sales training modules titled, “Demystifying the Female Market,”  for the launch of the 2012 911 Carrera S. With more than 200 dealers across the nation on board to better understand the female consumer, Porsche® is most likely going to continue to speed past the competition when connecting with women.

And, since “Cars” ranked 2nd highest of product categories in which women are most dissatisfied, (according to to a 2009 study published in the book Women Want More by Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre,) the automotive industry has vast opportunity to drive revenues up by marketing to women.

 But beware. It is not simply knowing that the female is your market that counts. You must listen to her before you can meet her needs.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising,Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Male Marketers, Don’t Tell a Woman She Needs More Time… She Already KNOWS That.

Women Want MoreI love this book from Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre. It’s titled Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market. But I must warn you to be careful not to read it from a male perspective.

I have highlighted some of the key findings below, and you can read more at The Harvard Business Review as well as an overview provided by the authors, or you can just buy the book.

In summary, the book overwhelmingly substantiates the massive spending power of women as well as reveals how companies continue to fall short in meeting the needs of these women through their product designs and the marketing messages of their products. But another point that seems to be driven home repeatedly is how women want more “time.”

According to Women Want More, “Above all, women want “agents of leverage” – ways to find time, save time, free up time. And when women find a product or service that truly meets those needs, they can become brand apostles.”

Essentially, women are more stressed out, have less time than ever with overlapping priorities, yet they still don’t want to give anything up. Companies that find ways to truly leverage her time, find solutions and become her supporter will be the winners.

But Be Wary
Because so much attention has been placed on “time” [and rightfully so], I suggest you be very careful to resist the inevitable temptation to remind the female market that she has no time in your advertising messages. Taken literally, [and they are already doing it] companies tend to focus on the problem and not the solution.

So, don’t tell her she doesn’t have enough time.
She already KNOWS that.

Don’t portray her as perplexed, anxious and frazzled.
You are actually implying she is presently not doing a good job.

And please don’t tell her she can or deserves to spend more time with her kids.
She feels guilty enough as it is.

Don’t continue to hammer on the problem. Everyone will be doing that. You need to offer time-saving “solutions.” You will need to think like a woman.

Leslie Wexner, founder and chairman of Limited Brands, and one of the most successful marketers to women, says, “You can’t sell to women like they are men wearing skirts.”

Connect with her emotionally. Understand her needs. Be empathetic. Become her partner.

Noted in the book, women need the following, so remember don’t tell her what she already knows:

  • Time – give it to her
  • Love – ask how she feels
  • Family – support her
  • Relationships – commit to her
  • Community – engage her

So, where do you start?
According to Marti Barletta, author of “Marketing to Women” and CEO of TrendSight Group, “The optimistic message [from marketers], all the ‘You deserve it’ stuff, is completely wrong right now. What is right is saying, ‘You’re smart. You can handle this. You can make the right decisions, and here’s how we can help.'” (via Advertising Age)

And, as I was quoted in Marketing Week, “Brands need to communicate that they’re on women’s side.”

Based on the few  findings below from Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market, this book is a MUST read for anyone serious about effectively connecting with the female market. But BEWARE: do not implement the findings like a man wearing a skirt.

  • Women now drive the economy representing the largest market opportunity in the world.
  • As this recession abates, women not only will represent one of the largest market opportunities in our lifetimes but will also be an important force in spurring a recovery and generating new prosperity. The rewards for companies that do understand what women want and are able to serve them well will be enormous.
  • Globally, women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending and have $13 trillion in total yearly earnings. In five years these numbers are expected to be $25 trillion and $18 trillion respectively.
  • Yet despite all this spending power, women feel undervalued and misunderstood. They are pressed for time and stressed out by products and services that don’t meet their needs.
  • Although it would be foolish to ignore or underestimate the female consumer many companies do – even those that are confident they have a winning strategy when it comes to women.
  • They have too many demands on their time and constantly juggle conflicting priorities—work, home, and family.
  • Few companies have responded to their need for time-saving solutions or for products and services designed specifically for them.
  • Three-quarters of the people who have lost jobs in the current recession are men.
  • The number of working women in the United States is about to surpass the number of working men.
  • Many companies continue to market mostly to men and fail to explore how they might meet women’s needs.
  • Women feel vastly underserved. Despite the remarkable strides in market power and social position that they have made in the past century, they still appear to be undervalued in the marketplace and underestimated in the workplace.
  • Companies that can offer tailored products and services – going beyond “make it pink” – will be positioned to win when the economy begins to recover.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email