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Wooing the Female Market Is your company cashing in on the powerful women's market ? Here are some ways you can.

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 conducted a survey of women's attitudes toward marketers.

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.

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