How Smart Businesses Are Adapting To Women
As the images within the advertisements we have seen for years on television and in print attest, many companies have been unable to effectively direct their messages to their female customers. To show marketers a better way to reach the people who really control the budgets of families and companies around the world, business journalist Fara Warner has compiled many valuable stories and statistics about women in The Power of the Purse. Reaching women is not an easy task, but Warner explains that there are specific, counterintuitive ways to do it. She writes, "We are on the verge of a major transformation in the way corporations view women consumers and how they then adapt to women's needs and wants in the future."
Trillions of Dollars
The transformation she covers in The Power of the Purse is based on some eye-opening statistics. For example, women account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the United States alone, and more than $13 trillion in personal wealth. Globally, Warner points out, women make more than 80 percent of all consumer purchases. In light of these figures and the implications of the future growth of women's spending, Warner writes, "Reaching these increasingly wealthy women is now and will continue to be a key factor in the success of any company."
In The Power of the Purse, Warner offers marketers an inroad to the budgets women control. Using well-researched stories about the advertising campaigns and practices of DeBeers, Kodak, Nike, McDonald's, The Home Depot, Procter & Gamble, as well as many others, Warner describes how these companies were all able to realize the power of the women's market. By describing their successes and failures, she shows readers how they were able to increase revenues and profits, as well as rejuvenate brands, by reaching out to women in new and innovative ways.
The Home Depot and Nike
How did The Home Depot dig deeper into the purses of its female customers? Warner explains that the company made the decision to include both genders in its marketing strategy. Instead of simply adding new paint colors to its selections and offering to teach women how to use its power tools, the company created a "power partner" strategy that looked at its female customers as equals to its male customers. She explains that this strategy has helped to raise the company's revenues by billions of dollars over the past three years.
Several years ago, Warner wrote an in-depth look at how Nike transformed the way it designs for, sells to and communicates with women in a cover story for Fast Company called, "Nike's Women's Movement." In The Power of the Purse, she updates and expands what she learned about Nike and its recent successes, which include a surge in sales from $9 billion to $12 billion from 2001 to 2004. Warner attributes this boom in part to its new attitude toward women.
McDonald's Shifts Strategies
According to the census of 2003, there are 112 million women over 16 years of age in the United States. Warner explains that their tastes and purchasing patterns have changed dramatically since the 1950s. Not only are women influencing 91 percent of home sales, Warner writes, but they are buying 60 percent of cars and trucks, and comprise 50 percent of business travelers. She adds that women "are the majority market."
Throughout The Power of the Purse, Warner focuses on the different roads that various companies have traveled to reach women. When focusing on McDonald's, she explains how the fast-food giant was able to revive its slumping sales and profits by shifting its strategy toward women. Instead of viewing women as "minority" consumers who merely serve as connections to their children's eating habits, McDonald's began to focus on women as the main drivers behind its menu and promotion innovations. These innovations included a 2005 rollout of healthier new products designed to satisfy mothers as well as their children.
Warner writes, "McDonald's turned around its sales and overhauled its menu for a new century by readjusting its view of women from a minority market to a majority consumer."
Why We Like This Book
By showing how companies in a variety of industries were able to change their marketing strategies and reach the valuable women who were being pushed away by stale stereotypes and old-fashioned messages, Warner provides companies with the tactics they can use to tap into this lucrative market. Her collection of changes made at some of the biggest companies in the world show other businesses how women can be better included in their marketing efforts.