More than half the pie

By 2010, according to the U.S. Census folks, about 50.8% of the U.S. population will be female. The majority of those women will be between 20 and 44 (33%) and 45 to 64 (26%). Yet most smart marketers are realizing that 50 percent can be much more than half.

There are indications everywhere that women constitute the primary force in consumer and even business decision-making. According to trend consultant Faith Popcorn (honest, I didn’t make it up):

  • women influence the purchase of over 80% of consumer goods;
  • they influence 80% of health-care decisions;
  • they buy 50% of all automobiles sold, and play a role in influencing the purchase of 30% more;
  • 40% of households with assets of more that $600,000 are headed by women;
  • they start new businesses at twice the rate of men….

In her book from 2000, EVEolution : The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women, Popcorn suggests that women make purchase decisions in specific ways, and in different ways than men. While she tends to paint with a broad brush to make her point, the ‘eight truths’ are worth at least a moment of thought for arts marketers:

  1. Connecting your female consumers to one another connects them to your

  2. If you’re marketing to one of her lives you’re missing all the others (says Popcorn: ‘…women lead multi-lives, and a marketer, concentrating on only one of them, will miss out on all the others. The answer is to help women integrate their lives more seamlessly’).
  3. If she has to ask, its too late (Popcorn believes that to win the loyalty of women, a company must anticipate needs rather than just respond to them).
  4. Market to her peripheral vision and she will see you in a whole new light (Popcorn says — in her broad brush way — that women are much more likely to notice the subtle surrounding features that comprise a message and may place less emphasis on the main message).
  5. Walk, run, go to her, secure her loyalty forever (it’s your job to make buying or accessing the product as easy as possible).
  6. This generation of women consumers will lead you to the next (Popcorn uses the term ‘brand-me-down’ to describe how brand loyalties can pass from mothers to daughters. As a sidebar: Arts marketers can obviously emphasize the power of creative experience to bond mothers and daughters).
  7. Co-parenting is the best way to raise a brand (the strongest brands are co-constructed by consumer and company in an active dialogue).
  8. Everything matters — you can’t hide behind your logo (This feels like a corollary to number 4, suggesting that you have to walk the walk instead of just talk the talk — in hiring practices, customer service, governance, environmental impact, etc. Popcorn connects the idea of consistent and mutally reinforcing elements of statement and action, which she suggests is the ‘fifth P’ of marketing: Policy).

A bit broad, a bit fluffy, a bit hazy around the details and nuance that actually define the marketplace. But still a bit useful as you construct your next season or promotional campaign.