Citation Silverstein, M. J. , and Sayre, K. (2009, September). The Female Economy. Harvard Business Review. Summary The article begins by stating that “women now drive the world economy. ” It goes on to discuss how women now represent a large portion of consumer spending, and that portion is expected to grow. Silverstein and Sayre discuss how companies are not taking seriously the fact that they may not have the best strategy when it comes to marketing towards the female market.
They underestimate or flat out ignore the female consumer. Dell is used as an example of such companies. The article discusses Dell’s failed attempt market laptops specifically to women. In May of 2009, it launched Della website, complete with a “make it pink” motto and topics based on female stereotypes. Instead of appealing to the women, it actually caused an uproar among them. Women felt the site was condescending. They posted blogs everywhere expressing their disgust towards the site.
Even though Dell was quick to react to making the necessary corrections, Silverstein and Sayre question why their marketers failed to see the potential problems before the site went up. The authors then discuss a 2008 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. More than 12,000 different women in all areas of life were asked 120 questions about their finances, education, careers, relationships, activities and hobbies, fears, and also their spending patterns and shopping behavior.
The study revealed that women were grossly underserved and there was lots of room for improvement. They continue to be undervalued even though they have great market power and social position. Women have many demands on them juggling work, family, and home, and few companies have taken action on their need for products and services designed specifically for women and for time saving solutions. Reaction Companies need to realize and understand the buying power that females possess.
They represent one of the largest market opportunities ever. Until recently, companies believed their marketing strategies were equally effective to women and men. That proved to be an incorrect assumption. Women approach big ticket purchasing completely differently than men do. They base their decisions on a different set of perceptions, priorities and preferences. Companies should be combining insight on female gender culture with solid marketing know-how and develop strategies that attract women’s business.
Effectively targeting women leads to higher customer satisfaction among both men and women. Companies like BMW, Wyndham Hotels and Merrill Lynch have found that improvements designed to enhance brand appeal among women actually deliver greater customer satisfaction among men, too. When you meet the expectations of women, companies exceed the expectations of men. Marketing to women delivers a better return on the marketing dollar through both greater opportunity and greater impact.
While in many categories the traditional male targets are saturated, the corresponding women’s segments are untapped and virtually uncontested by competition. The authors effectively bring to light the wrong approach that companies are taking when it comes to marketing to women. Simply adding pink to the campaign, which many companies erroneously do, will not suffice. They need to go back to the drawing boards. Services and products need to fill the gap. Companies need to aim their marketing efforts to women by seeing them as employees, managers, investors, and buyers.