by Jim Gilmartin
As women work later into life and control more financial assets more than half of women say they are upgrading the quality of products and services in their lives. In a study on Boomer women purchasing habits, one 55-year-old woman commented, “Advertisers don’t seem to understand that most of the wealth in this country is in the hands of boomers and older people”. As they upgrade quality, on average, women over the age of 50 spend more than women between the ages of 20 and 49.
Boomer women have or control the most discretionary dollars of all. Add in Boomer customer women’s role as ‘purchasing officer’ for consumer goods and for corporations and agencies, and, in effect, you have an American Women’s Economy that accounts for over half of the U.S. GDP — about $5 trillion.”
Men and women are as different “shop-ologically” as they are biologically
What’s important to men is typically not important to woman. In EVEolution, Faith Popcorn discusses “a series of marketing axioms built around the reality that women and men are as different shop-ologically as they are biologically.” There are clearly gender based differences including: perceptions, attitudes and communications styles. There are also gender generated differentiated responses including: priorities, decision processes and purchase outcomes. Getting Boomer women to join your brand is not one single step. There is no magic bullet. It’s a systematic rethinking of how you present your plan to them consisting of dozens of subtle shifts and fine alterations.
Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Prime-Time Women, tells us “women start the process by asking around and pursue the ‘perfect answer.’ They seek more information and investigate more options.” And your sales success doesn’t end with their purchase. Remember, what they buy, they sell. They’ll tell all who’s willing to listen the good, bad and ugly of their experience. If it’s been good, they are loyal and will easily recommend you to others.
Boomer women want you to speak to their heads and to their hearts — to connect
- A woman steps into an elevator, hits the button for the 10th floor and before she reaches her destination, she’s busily chatting with some woman standing next to her.
- She sits down in a restaurant and by the time the glass of wine arrives, she knows the name of the waiter’s acting coach and the next play he has a bit part in.
- A woman knows all about who in the office, who on the community board, who in the book or investment club, is seeing a therapist, being investigated, or thinking about changing jobs.
It’s not gossip! It’s connecting! Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars,Women are from Venus, claims that such behavior is encoded in their very chromosomes. Women look to connect. And, if you’re successful, Boomer women will deliver more profit to you through being loyal and making more referrals. They want you to sincerely understand them. To recognize their needs, values and dreams.
They don’t want to do business with a person that condescends to them. They don’t want to be inconvenienced, made to wait, argue or defend themselves. And finally, Boomer women are three times more likely as men to recommend brands when they know friends are looking for a particular product or service. Although men’s brains are wired differently, if you meet the needs of Boomer women, you’ll most likely meet the demands of men. But not the other way around.
Boomer women are not a “niche” market, a segment or a “special interest group”
A customer experience based sales approach — creating memorable and lasting impressions — leads to building stronger, more personal relationships with Boomer women customers. There is a great advantage to approaching Boomer women through creating experiences that touch them in a very personal way to build trust and sustainable dialogue with her. Sales is theater and success comes from creating experiences and staging every customer interaction to engage customers in a profound way.
And, Boomer women are loyal to sales people who understand that and serve them well. They are less likely to defect. Once a relationship exists, there less due diligence needed because Boomer women spend more time on the initial decision and less on subsequent decisions. We know they can’t be reached effectively using the same traditional strategies that have worked with men. You need to become very savvy about:
- How Boomer women make decisions
- What motivates them to purchase
- How they respond differently than men
Ignore them at your peril.
View this article on MediaPost.