These days, when “Honey, I’m home!” is shouted up the stairs at the end of the day, it may very well NOT be the husband who’s come home from a hard day at work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, nearly 40 percent of wives now earn more money than their husbands. That’s a huge jump from just 11 percent back in 1960, and a staggering shift in our society.
Forget the Stereotype.
Today’s women are more than just sugar and spice and everything nice. One needs only to peruse the list of Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies to see that women quickly are becoming as powerful and successful in business as men. The 24 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list represent just a handful of the hardworking women that companies should be addressing in their marketing strategies. Women are also the dominant sex earning bachelor’s degrees, indicating that the trajectory for their earning power will continue to climb even higher over the coming years.
Know the Numbers.
More than ever, women are driving household incomes and the global consumer economy itself. They influence or control 85 percent of consumer spending in the United States. That’s 68 percent of new car purchases, and 80 percent of healthcare spending. 91 percent of new homes, and 92 percent of vacation travel.
For those businesses that have yet to identify a strategy for appealing to the “breadwinner” women, author Bridget Brennan identifies three smart ways in her book “Why She Buys,” to approach this massive opportunity:
1. Invest in sales training, because women who routinely negotiate at work expect great service when they leave the office. Research shows that women have higher expectations of customer service than men do. How has your sales training evolved? Women will walk out the door and walk off the lot because of poor or frustrating service. Many service issues are based on a perceived lack of respect, attention or even dignity. Though it’s clear that women are changing, old stereotypes die hard. Some of the best advice for salespeople in the age of breadwinner women is this: don’t assume anything. Don’t assume she’s not the decision-maker; don’t assume she’s married with kids; and most of all, don’t assume she can’t afford whatever it is you’re selling.
2. Make her hours, your hours. When a woman takes a job outside the home, it impacts every aspect of her life, from what time she wakes up in the morning to what she wears, where and when she shops, and even what she eats.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, are you staffing up at lunchtime, when many women squeeze in their errands? Are you offering delivery options outside of traditional business hours, so she doesn’t have to take a day off work? Are you open in the hours before the workday begins? Take the time and effort to study the changing traffic patterns of your female customers to ensure that your hours of operation match hers.
3. Offer Services, Not Just Products. Women appreciate service as much or more than “stuff.” This is the sweet spot for Lexus – their warranty provides free, 24/7 roadside assistance; a bumper-to-bumper warranty; free loaner car with any servicing; free car washes; and free new owner events that help customers install Bluetooth and change automatic settings on seats and radios. Providing helpful service can ensure that women appreciate your business and recommend it to their circle of friends and colleagues.
A Marketing to Women Agency Can Help
To learn more about how Girlpower Marketing’s approach can help your brand, please contact us.
The truth is that no matter what you’re selling, what you’re really selling is help. And breadwinner or not, all women will thank you for providing it.