How Penny Pinching Can Improve Your Marketing to Women Strategy

iStock_000000134528SmallIt looks like women have a pretty tight grip on those purse strings.

The “2009 Online Buyer Economic Trend Study” was just released from ROI Research, showing that while men seem to be more optimistic about a recovering economy, women need more convincing evidence.

55% of women say they expect to spend less overall in the near future, compared to 37% of men (wow, guys – when did you start getting all rah-rah on me?).

46% of women say they expect to spend less online.

Women Online Spending JPG

Our recent lean over the precipice of economic disaster has women saying they have fundamentally changed the way they think about spending. Whether or not that’s true, here are a couple of things you might want to keep in mind for the future of your business:

1. Now is the time to increase your advertising, not decrease it. Business owners seem to have a hair-trigger when it comes to advertising – the economy rocks, and marketing budgets are the first thing to get slashed.

Let everyone else slice and dice, because for the consumer, “out of sight is out of mind.” Media outlets need your business, so negotiating on advertising rates is easier. Plus, you’ll be the lone voice in the advertising desert because your competitors weenied out. You will own your space. And when times get better (as they inevitably will), you will be top-of-mind for customers because you’ve been there all along.

2. The online challenge is bigger than ever. If 55% of women are going to spend less online, then you’d better own that space, too. I know that I sound like a automaton because I’m always yammering on about the importance of your website and social media tools – so be it. I cannot emphasize enough that taking the time to create a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate, persuasive website is critical to the future of your business.

And that one-way monologue you’ve been having with your customers? Fugheddaboudit. It’s all about conversation, and you have to invite your customers to participate.  Read and learn about how small businesses just like yours are using tools like Facebook and Twitter.  Then sign up, get started, and work the hell out of it.  It’s FREE, for goodness’ sake.

Just a couple of things for you to roll around in your brain for awhile.  It’s all about increasing your share of mind within each customer, and it’s up to you whether or not you see these times as Armageddon or Opportunity.

(chart courtesy of eMarketer)
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5 Responses to “How Penny Pinching Can Improve Your Marketing to Women Strategy”

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  1. Brett says:

    You have to take this with a bit of a grain of salt. These sort of prospective spending questions always have a fuzz factor above and beyond the margin of error for a number of reasons.

    First, when asked, most people cannot accurately recall their aggregate spending. Often times what they THINK they spent and what they actually spent can be wildly different.

    Second, people’s prospective view of their spending behavior is often less driven by their actual economic position than it is by their perception of the economic future generically. Since the public, on the whole, is still negative on the economy, people still believe they will be tightening their belt in 12 months. This perception, one way or the other, is almost always independent of reality.

    Third, women are more likely to shop on-line than men generically speaking. Since their volume is higher, they are going to be more prone to have fluctuations in their spending. A guy whose spending is a few books from Amazon is less likely to perceive a future spending fluctuation than a woman who buys multiple pairs of shoes from Zappos or who hits neimanmarcus.com regularly.

    But I view all this with a jaundiced eye. Once again, the group pushing this data on us shows us one slide of data…no demographics…no showing of the survey instrument construction or methodology. That always makes me suspicious about the quality of the data. You don’t hide that stuff if it is honest AND it supports your point of view. You flash it to add credibility.

    Bottom line is that I would not make a lot of decisions based off of one slide from a group that is not sharing the demographics of the data set, the wording of the questions asked, or the structure of the survey. Hell, these guys don’t even tell you the size of the sample or the universe from which the sample was drawn. For all I know they made up the numbers from whole cloth. While I think the advice you are providing is sound for any market conditions, I would not drive that advice from these suspect and sketchy numbers.

  2. Dave Young says:

    Whether the survey is right, wrong, skewed, screwed or tattooed…when it comes to marketing to women, the right thing to do is never the wrong thing to do.

  3. There are dozens of surveys out there conducted by numerous organizations, not the least of which is the Gallup Organization, that basically say the same thing. If a business owner really believes that there has not been a fundamental, and probably permanent change in the way all consumers are evaluating their current and future buying decisions, I hope I am fortunate enough to compete with them.

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