By Published On: July 7, 2014

An interesting item pulled from the latest issue of Adweek, found in an article about marketing to women, “Women control the vast majority of consumer spending in this country, yet when asked in a survey if advertisers understand them, 90% of women said no.”

A missed opportunity? I’d say. In doing a bit of research for this article the message is clear, those who do not figure this out will be lost in the dust.

It’s undeniable that advertising and marketing needs to be relevant to the audience and to do so we need to both engage and understand the audience. It’s perplexing that so many ads directed to women neither engage nor do they seem to understand their audience. And if you’re already rolling your eyes about this subject, it might be because we’ve been talking about this for decades…yet not all that much has changed. Ads to women can be so bad that many women seem to have become immune to them. Trite, ok. Pink, expected. Sexist, stereotypical, speaking down to me, should I expect anything different? The bar is so low that an advertiser has to be blatantly insulting for most women to even notice, let alone take action or complain.

So, amid the rolling eyes, here are some staggering numbers found:

  • Nearly 85% of all brand purchases are made by women, yet fewer than 3% of creative directors are women. Adweek.
  • About 30% of small businesses are owned by women and women-owned businesses employ about 8 million people or 40% more than the 3 largest companies in the U.S. Combined Government Census.
  • Faith Popcorn estimates that women make 80% of all purchase decisions and control 80% of the money. 
  • High net worth women account for 39% of the country’s top wage earners. Mass Mutual Financial Group. 
  • And finally, The Yankelovich Monitor states:
    • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health care:
      • 91% of New Homes
      • 66% PCs
      • 92% Vacations
      • 80% Healthcare
      • 65% New Cars
      • 89% Bank Accounts
      • 93% Food
      • 93% OTC Pharmaceuticals

As a woman business owner in a creative industry, I offer a bit of advice. Please, please, stop using pictures of women in stilettos climbing staircases holding a brief case and a baby. Make an investment in time, money and research…and get better, much better, in all marketing communications to women. Marketing to women is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and under developed strategies and yet, it holds the greatest opportunity for success both now and in the future.

About the Author: Maureen Dyvig

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