Small Business Minute: Marketing to women

By Brian Leaf

Every marketer knows that women have a huge influence on buying decisions. So why haven’t more companies figured out what motivates women to buy?

Women pull the purse strings. They have their hand in 80 percent of all buying decisions. Yet author Martha Barletta says that businesses tend to position their products based on “normal buying behavior.”

Unfortunately, that normal buying behavior applies mostly to men, Barletta says.

In her book Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market Segment, Barletta says women have different priorities, preferences and attitudes than men when it comes to buying something.

Barletta says women base decisions on how to simplify their time-pressed lives. They care more about product guarantees and warranties than whether something is cool and equipped with the latest and greatest features.

Products that serve a need for themselves or their family are important.

Barletta says women want business relationships where contacts are patient and knowledgeable. Women tend to ask more questions than men and want to talk in detail about things they are about to buy. They will take more time to find the “perfect” answer while men will often settle for merely a workable solution.

Women are especially valuable customers because they often have a network that they’ll use to help them make purchasing decision. They seek recommendations from friends and acquaintances, and are equally willing to pass along information when they buy great products and or encounter superb service.

Barletta says women make up more than half of the population in the U.S., but their buying influence goes beyond simple demographics.

And if you cater to the needs of women, your business may grow beyond your wildest dreams.