Where It's At

Hear Them Roar

If you haven't heard this before, pay attention: The women's market is growing more powerful and independent by the day. The number of single women, for example, is growing--the U.S. Census reports there were more than 48 million unmarried women in 1997, compared to 30 million in 1970. Today's unmarried women are often divorced or otherwise single by choice, professional, ambitious and affluent--willing and able to spend on everything from personal services and cars to travel and real estate.

And women clearly play a major role in all kinds of purchasing decisions, whether they're single or married, says Beth Brenner, publisher of Self magazine, which recently con- ducted a survey of women's attitudes.

Self asked 1,170 women aged 18 to 49 with household incomes of $30,000 or more how well they thought marketers in various industries understood women's needs. Although cosmetics companies fared the best, with a 52 percent positive rating, the overall ratings weren't impressive. The worst offenders: computer/software (20 percent approval), automotive (17 percent), investing (16 percent), home electronics (15 percent), and liquor companies (11 percent).

Your company can score better, Brenner says, if you use these marketing strategies, based on survey results:

  • Be positive. An overwhelming 71 percent of respondents saw an improvement in their self-image over the past two years.
  • Be uplifting. Most respondents (72 percent) plan to spend more time enjoying life. "Women are challenging marketers to appeal to them in this way," says Brenner.
  • Be humorous. "Women said over and over they want to laugh more," Brenner reports. "Some of the most effective ads I've seen are funny."
  • Get real. Respondents spent time educating themselves before purchasing. They were intent on trusting their instincts. They were strong on not accepting imperfections. In other words, they weren't in the market for a snow job.

Contact Sources

Brat Catalog, (800) 598-5264, http://www.bratcatalog.com

DeVito/Verdi, (212) 431-4694, fax: (212)431-4940

Milestone Media, (206) 621-0999

Self, 350 Madison Ave., 18th Fl., New York, NY 10017, (212) 880-7893

Selling to Kids, (301) 340-7788, ext. 2138, dschwartz@phillips.com

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Where It's At.

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