Marketing to Women
“As it relates to things around the house, such as kitchens or landscaping or renovations, primarily, the woman in the household is the initial point of contact and the one finding contractors,” says Dan Antonelli, president of Graphic D-Signs Inc., an advertising agency based in Washington, N.J.
In the case of a married couple, Antonelli says the husband doesn’t usually get involved in a home improvement or repair project until the technical details are being worked out, with the woman being more responsible for artistic details.
Graphic D-Signs recently developed a marketing campaign for Professional Kitchens, a kitchen remodeling company also based in New Jersey. Professional Kitchens manager Carl Schumm agrees with Antonelli; advertising is usually more effective when it’s targeted at women.
“With our business, we have found over the years that the women in the household generally have around 70 percent of the pull and the decision-making power,” Schumm says.
It’s all in the details
Andrea Learned, a gender perspectives marketing expert, author and blogger, says women are naturally more detail-oriented and want more than just the best-quality work, which they can get from multiple businesses.
“Women are usually the toughest customers and final end users of your product,” she says. “Whether or not they are signing the checks to pay for the construction, it all boils down to the influence they wield. If quality isn’t up to par, they will tell you—or complain to their networks.”
Learned says women care more about the entire customer experience. When evaluating your services, they’ll tend to notice if you arrived on time or cleaned up after yourself.
While the style of marketing to women tends to be softer (Schumm says rather than just block, bold fonts, his firm now incorporates rounded cursive script on their Web site), Learned says it isn’t about “painting things pink” or putting flowers all over your marketing materials.
Rather than trying to make your design girly or feminine, Learned recommends thinking more in terms of current, fresh or relevant ideas. She says most women read fashion or décor magazines or shop on fashion Web sites where the freshest trends are displayed.
She believes women prefer simple, clean, fresh design that involves white space, categorizing and various entry points to information, such as “click on this link” or “turn to this page” for more information.
Since women care more about having a highly communicative working relationship, Antonelli says it’s essential to convey you’re a company that cares and can be trusted.
“We try to emphasize being community-based as well as highlighting company longevity,” he says. “Women want to know the person who is going to show up on their doorstep is from an established, reputable company.”
Do your homework
Here are some tips to help you get on the right track:
- Read up: To get a feel for the current design trends women are watching, Learned recommends surfing through retail Web sites or picking up a woman’s magazine. Make sure you’re in tune to where your customers might shop. Visiting retail sites such as Banana Republic or Gap and picking up an issue of Glamour, for example, is likely more relevant to your clientele than visiting Christian Dior’s site and picking up a Vogue magazine.
- Let a picture tell a thousand words: To emphasize your community-based feel and to make customers feel like they know you, Antonelli recommends posting pictures of your team and your work. “We want people to get a feel for the company before they even make a phone call,” he says.
- Talk to women: When it comes to research, there’s nothing like raw feedback. Learned suggests talking to your current female customers and even buy a group of them dinner a few times a year to start an informal advisory board. Antonelli says he frequently posts designs on social networking sites such as Facebook and asks for female feedback.
- Have a more diverse staff: “An effective way to have a more diverse outlook is to have a more diverse team,” adds Schumm. “Having women on staff presents another perspective, and provides opportunities for your business to compete for new customers and grow.”