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

Guys, Be Wary Of Blaming Your Declining Sales Solely On The Recession.

Nearly a year ago, I was chatting with the owner of a retail flooring store. He shared that one of the national flooring industry associations had conducted research which revealed “women were their market.” He went on to say that the findings suggested flooring retailers need to better understand and cater to the female audience.

I thought to myself, “This guy gets it.”

I questioned how he planned to appeal to women. “Simple,” he answered. He would require all of his salesmen (yes, his sales staff is all male) to wear a shirt and tie – preferably a suit.

Why, you ask? So did I. And the answer? “To show who’s in charge.” (His wife feels like a man is in control when he is dressed in a suit.)

Ummmm….. what!?!

Fast forward to now and sales have continued to drop. Probably the economy, right? Possibly. But I am guessing there is an even better chance that the female audience is inadvertently telling him who is in charge.

Guys, be careful not to blame all of your poor sales on the economy. If your competitor is thinking like this store owner, you have an opportunity to steal market share now more than ever. But, if your competitor not only realizes he must target the female, but decides to understand her as well – watch out. You could find yourself all dressed up with no where to go.


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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

Hey Guys, Is Your Female Customer Breaking Up With Your Brand?

I love this video! It’s actually a couple of years old, but it very cleverly shows how disconnected male advertisers are when it comes to understanding the female consumer and where to connect with her. As a matter of fact, I think it rings more true today than ever before. Although it’s humorous format is entertaining, the message is very serious:

The female consumer is breaking up with brands, and she is trying to tell advertisers why. Listen to her.

  • We don’t talk anymore. You’re doing all the talking.
  • We’re not exactly having dialog
  • You’re saying you love me, but you’re not behaving like you love me. It’s not genuine.
  • I’ve changed and you haven’t.
  • We don’t hang out in the same places anymore.
  • You’re not listening to me.
  • If you knew me, you’d know I don’t care anything about that…

Guys, be very careful not to assume she is breaking up with your brand because of the recession. It could be because you simply are not listening to her.

Looking for a long-lasting, trusting relationship, in this rapidly changing market? Then make an effort to know who the female consumer of today is, believe that she reacts differently than men, understand her, and know how to connect with her on the Internet.

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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

Men, Women Lead 4 Out of 5 Stages of the Buying Process

the-5-stagesAccording to Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women and PrimeTime Women, when men and women buy as partners, women control at least four out of five stages of the purchasing process.

Five stages of the purchasing process

1.    Kick-off  – women

2.    Research – women

3.    Purchase  – men

4.    Ownership – women

5.    Word-of-mouth – women

And further, Barletta notes that even though men are present and appear in control during the purchasing stage when they pull out the credit card or sign the contract, they are not really in control of that stage either – they just think they are. A lot happens way before then that actually determines the decision of what is bought.

Stage I – Kick-off

When deciding to buy, it is typically the woman who pulls the trigger to take action. Whether prompted by a friend, or a need or an advertisement, the woman initiates the thought and sets up for the next stage of investigation.

Stage II – Research

Once the decision has been made to make a purchase, it is the woman who does research to develop the short list. She may begin with numerous options, but she is very detail oriented as she narrows the field. “Before women go shopping, they go CROPing, or looking for CRedible OPinions,” maintains Kelley Skoloda, Partner and Director of Ketchum’s Global Brand Marketing Practice. They consult with close friends and family, as well as experts, Web social networking, local news and magazines. Once she feels she has investigated all of her options thoroughly, she compiles the short list or makes a final decision.

It is this list or choice that she shares with the man. So if your product or service doesn’t make it on this list, it is very unlikely it will be considered when it comes time to make the purchase. After all of the research and time she has put into it, she typically knows exactly what she wants.

Stage III – Purchase

Most companies focus on the purchase stage because that is what they are exposed to. Because this is the only stage they witness, marketers and salespeople have the impression that the since the man pulls out the credit card or signs the contract, he is leading the process. This is especially on big-ticket items. But interestingly, Barletta would argue that this is the least actionable stage. All of the work has already been done. Although it appears the man is in control, women will actually step back so as to not correct or address conflicting thoughts in front of others. This mistakenly further verifies the sales person’s misconception that the man is actually in control of the purchase.

Stage IV – Ownership

For the post purchase stage, women are the ones who pay the bills, make the health care appointments, deal with the warranties, arrange the vacation, etc. They will judge companies by how their products or services perform, but should there be a problem they are quick to judge by how their situations are dealt with. One thing to keep in mind at this stage is to love your whiners. Customers who have had a complaint resolved are more likely to use you again as well as more likely to tell others good things about you. Customer service is the new sales.

Stage V – Word-of Mouth

Understanding the value in solving problems during the ownership stage leads to powerful word-of-mouth advertising. But contrary to popular belief, women are actually more reluctant to give a referral than men are. Because women tend to keep personal and business separate, they take giving a referral much more seriously. Men do business with friends all the time, but women need a reason to give a referral–something worth talking about.

If women feel strongly enough about a product, service or company they will recommend you, and because they take this role so seriously, they will be convincing. And then the cycle begins. When they talk, another woman’s buying cycle is kicked off, research begins and so on. Make sure you are paying attention to all of the stages.

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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

Men, You Have to Know What Women Want – Especially During a Recession

marketingweek_logo1I was honored when Jo Roberts, reporter for  Marketing Week, asked for my input in her article, “What Women Want”, It first appeared today, in this week’s issue and it is packed full of new research, opinions and advice that speak directly to how women are ditching brands during these tough economic times and marketers are failing to convince them to reconsider. In her article, Roberts states,

“Women are giving marketers a headache; one that will turn into a full-blown migraine unless brands learn how to communicate effectively to female shoppers during tough economic times.”

A new study conducted by HPI and exclusive to Marketing Week revealed that the recession has placed more pressure on male marketers now than ever before. Knowing that women are your market is definitely a step in the right direction, but it simply is not enough. And now – knowing how to communicate with women is no longer a competitive edge – it is mandatory.

According to the research, almost double the amount of women (28%), compared with men (15%), say they feel squeezed by the economic climate and more than half (51%) of females say they are buying more cheaper brands and shops’ own-label products than they used to. Marketers need to take immediate action if they are to maintain customer loyalty.

That, quite simply, requires understanding them. Or, as Jo Roberts surmises:

It appears that whether marketers are selling an essential everyday product or a pricey luxury, marketers need to find a way of getting off Mars and heading over to Venus. Chartering a pink spaceship simply won’t fly in this climate.

Below are just a few enlightening highlights from the article.

  • Women are more nervous about the recession
  • Women are cutting their spending more than men
  • Because women are the biggest shoppers overall, the end impact on companies is greater
  • Marketers should be very wary of developing over-simplistic “women friendly” strategies
  • Brands need to communicate they are on women’s side
  • Need to balance messages with both optimism and empathy
  • If you’re a premium brand you can’t suddenly claim to be cheap, but you can make sure they understand the value you offer in terms of the quality of the brand
  • Understanding how women shop does not mean making everything pink and fluffy
  • The consumer electronics sector as a whole is lagging behind with its female marketing strategy

To read the “What Women Want” article in its entirety, click here.

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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

Women Are the Market. Men, You Need to Know Where They Are and How to Connect.

picture-73Knowing women are your market is huge, but knowing where they are and how to connect with them – in their world – is what will separate you from your competitors.

Research continues to be over-whelming that social marketing plus women will add to the bottom line. And companies that are listening are rapidly developing online campaigns directly targeted to women on the Internet to test this theory. Frito Lay has teamed with Glam.com to push Baked Lays in this soon to be launched online webisode series.

It’s debut is March 1st, but you can check the Only In A Woman’s World site out now to preview. It will be complete with games, profiles of women to connect with, videos to be shared, coupons, cards to share with your friends and much more. It is directly targeted to women online, is very interactive and designed to bring them back time and again.

Time will tell if this catches on or if it is successful for Frito-Lay, but as a male marketer, it would be prudent for now to ask yourself: Would I have thought of this? And if you had, Would I have known to include all of the nuances and use of subtleties that make it appealing to women? If your answers to either of these is no, you need to find out how to change that.

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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

She-conomy Goes Mobile!

Mobile web is huge. There are over 2.8 billion handsets in circulation. Far more mobile devices than PCs. It’s a global phenomenon.

Beyond the numbers, there is the vast potential of the mobile web by the way people use these devices:

They’re always on.
They’re always at hand.
They’re always personal, rarely shared.

No other marketing medium can say any of these things.

With the help of a great new service called MoFuse, founded by David Berube, She-conomy: A Guy’s Guide to Marketing to Women, is now available in a mobile version.

MoFuse, or Mobile Fusion, is a web application that allows you to easily and instantly create a mobile version of your agency’s blog or website.

If your blog or website has an RSS feed, they will use that as the main source of content for your new mobile site. This will allow you to create your mobile site using MoFuse and forget about updating it. All you have to do is keep posting to your blog!

You can also create static content pages. This gives you the ability to have pages like About the Blog, Contact, etc.

Users can customize almost every aspect of their mobile site. They can also upload their own custom logo or header image!

MoFuse will create a static link to your mobile site for you to share, it’ll look something like this: http://myblog.mofuse.mobi. You can put a link to your mobile site on your blog for your mobile visitors to click to be redirected to your mobile version. You can also use your own domain name.

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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