Ekaterina Walter recently published some statistics in a piece on mediapost.com that exposes perhaps the greatest disconnect between small business owners and consumers known to man (you will see that there is an intended pun in this sentence in just a moment.)
The piece is titled “Marketing To Women: 30 Stats to Know” Here is her intro:
“Women are earning, spending, and influencing spending at a greater rate than ever before — and they account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the United States, and over the next decade they will control two-thirds of consumer wealth. Women make or influence 85 percent of all purchasing decisions, and purchase over 50 percent of traditional male products, including automobiles, home improvement products and consumer electronics.
But 91% of women say that advertisers don’t understand them.”
Let’s get this straight: Women either make or influence 85% of purchases, yet 91% of women feel that advertisers don’t understand them? That’s an insane statistic. It gets even crazier when you carry that thought out just a bit. If women feel that advertisers don’t understand them – it’s not a giant leap to suspect that most women don’t feel they are understood by the people attempting to sell their products or services to them.
In other words, it is highly likely that those same 91% of women don’t think your small business understands them. Remember the intended pun in the intro to this article? It is rather ironic that the greatest disconnect known to man between small businesses and their customers is the disconnect with their female customers.
Are Women Really From Mars?
Considering the buying power of women, now might be a good time to get to know a little bit more about your female customers and/or clients regarding what is important to them when they make buying decisions.
John Gray, Ph.D. Bestselling Author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” gives small business owners some really good information small business owners should pay attention to when dealing with female customers and clients when he says, “It’s a fact. Men and Women are wired differently.”
Here are a few ways women can be wired when it comes to making buying decisions:
Both men and women will rely on the opinions and reviews of others when making a buying decision. The difference is that men approach this from more a “numbers” perspective. If men see “enough” people happy with a product or service they’re interested in, it’s likely they’ll go with it. Women also heavily depend on reviews and the input of others when making a buying decision – but they aren’t just interested in the number of happy customers, they want to know the reasons people were happy with or would recommend what they purchased to others.
A good takeaway from knowing women want to know the reasons why someone gives a positive review is to tell stories that include the specific reasons why others bought from your small business. You will also want to include testimonials on your website and within other marketing vehicles that also provide details as to the reasons your customers are willing to refer business to you.
Men tend to look for products or solutions that satisfy their more immediate requirements, whereas women tend to be more concerned with the long-term results of a buying decision. Women also are usually more vocal when weighing the “pros and cons” when making their buying decision with their male counterparts leaning towards a more internal dialogue.
Obviously pointing out long-term benefits of a purchase is helpful when assisting female customers, but it is equally important to let women “think out loud” as they make their buying decision. When dealing with female customers and clients, the 80/20 rule should always be in play (and, as we all know, this means listening 80% of the time, contributing to the conversation 20% of the time.)
Women also tend to have more criteria they want to consider before making a purchase. And they want to review whether or not your product or solution meets their criteria. Because of this, small business owners should be prepared for a longer buying cycle when dealing with women.
Of course, all of the above speak to general qualities when dealing with male versus female customers. Every individual you deal with in your small business is a unique human being and should always be treated as such. On the other hand, the fact that 91% of women feel that their buying needs are misunderstood speaks volumes as to the value of getting to know “what women want” when it comes to your small business.