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Since time began, the role of a woman has both been misjudged and under judged depending on the background and setting of any society. There have been scores to settle in the society regarding the issue of race, culture and religion but no debate has surpassed the issue of gender imbalance and equity. These debates takes centre stage and has audiences across the socio-economic cultural and even political front. It has always been felt that men and women have different approaches in doing their sort of things. For instance the approach that women are perceived to take regarding various issue regarding family, politics and even finance has led to many businesses to market uniquely to attract women.
The writer’s background
In this scenario, the writer herself as a woman comes across as a real life character of a lady with an ambition to achieve and prosper in all her endeavors. She is depicted as a person with a high resilience and charisma that, with all the setbacks and happenings in her life makes it later in life with a complete about turn for the better. She brings out information about her past and how it influenced the decisions she made in her life as a young woman throughout her youth until the middle age when the real challenge in life presented itself.
It was during her late youthful years when she experienced the deaths of people in her circles, a failed marriage and several tragic accidents. On top of that she lost a lot of property and family members in the extended family which was pretty like her own. Her background sets the pace for the main theme of her writing about how the marketing of the current world on women and the uniqueness of that aspect through which better understanding of the women’s need are met.
The writer, being the first person in her piece of reading is the model of a woman with a link from the past and a touch with the modern trend of business. Perhaps a candid look at her past and her journey to the present is the best approach to understand the aspect of the role of the woman in business as well as the woman who is a consumer and trendy today. First, she was a head coach of a women’s football team. That being not only being a tasking responsibility but also one that demanded a lot of interest, keenness and the human skills required to harness a team. This is where she derives her walk on principles of life and success. In one of her quotes she says that in the opening of the season on February the team had to train and train in the rainy weather and the dark.
She notes that at that time the pitch was one and was hence shared by men and women who scrambled for its position. This made her and the team to check in the morning before the sunrise to train for the big matches. The character of resilience and the tactic of strategic positioning for a woman who is keen to achieve is therefore in possession of the writer. Her sentiments and statements are therefore a reflection of what is to be done to attract and maintain a woman in the marketing field. This is what the modern marketing should be looking for and maintaining for the target market who is the woman.
In one of her statements she talks about the depth of personal responsibility and how that was accorded in her family. This was however the exact opposite of what her estranged husband Lem who was raised to keep the nuclear family especially his mother as the first priority in all he could do. There was a clash of interest and this led to emotional and long battles with Lem until they finally divorced. Lem had a background of a family with wealth and a good up bringing. The writer and him met in college and being a popular gentlemean the writer admits to have fallen I love with him not because of whom he was but because everyone wanted him.
This is one scenario that shows the individuality of a woman which is the need for independence albeit not often displayed. The writer wanted a space for little independence and decision making space which was not forthcoming. It was an absolutely necessary objective of her to have autonomy together with Lem because she felt that the family paid everything hence even controlled even part of the decisions that she and her husband were entitled to. In fact her mother-in-law felt that public appearances and other social gatherings needed to depict the family as all that nicely cut and sophisticated which was not the way that the writer felt. She further realized that the couple were unable to make the decisions they ought o have made from the onset.
Similarly to her story, the writer brings out Caroline’s mother as another case of a powerful and influential woman. She is seen as one of the most controlling characters and resilient too. Owning one of the most successful insurance companies in Tennessee she is a character that depicts a woman with means which the writer very much relies on . it was her who bought the house for the writer’s mother. But perhaps the highlight of these setbacks was the death of her uncle john who left a whooping 37 million dollar estate intestate. This means her next of kin were not declared but it took a turn when the wife decided to take the lion share and leave nothing to the writer.
However, after all those episodes that were not forthcoming and were obviously not in good taste, the writer set up a pursuit of her own dreams and entrepreneurial nature to start her own successful business. She recalls from her 16th year when she would print cards and sell them at a profit to the people that demanded them who included the party invites, the lovers and even event organizers. But the real business was the scrapping of the barnacles off the boats that she recalls had side effects from the infection she acquired from them.
Before going in her business way she secured a job in Columbia as financial services. This exposed her to many mentality in the work environment and perhaps this was one of the biggest lessons she learnt in handling her businesses. In the chapters of her book the writer gives the reader a journey through which one can learn to change their belief systems, adopt good financial principles as well as rectify their mentality on the issue of their personal worth. She further talks about the aspect of the perception of money in the society and explains the thinking that many people have that money is the root of all evil. She makes it clear the pathway of success is not easy but absolutely satisfying to many people. She further expounds the relations and the key choices that one has to make in the course of their pursuit of success. This is the basis as to why she singled out women and shows what to consider in marketing for them.
The role of the woman in relation to marketing
As the writer out rightly agrees, a woman in all society has been to some extent been depicted as second fiddle in major decisions that have to deal with the larger society. The place of her major impact on the decisions is normally the home or for the family. This notion however is ironical in that its clear that the areas for the financial decisions that the women have a large stake in decision have the largest percentage in expenditure hence they are the biggest spenders.
Decisions regarding family well being and basic expenditure in the homes are on a day to day basis. This means that the recurring nature of such needs reflects to continuous spending on the income that comes in to the family unit. In addition to that, the woman today is not only secluded to the home setting but works as well. The role of husbands or father figures in the society as the sole breadwinners is surely being diluted.
Apart from that, with the emergence of the information on the trends and fashion statements that are on the rise today, more women spend on such grounds more than their male counterparts. This is because of the nature of men of being fewer spendthrifts. More and more women are being educated and work in equal capacities men and to some extent make more money than even their husbands. As the writer notes a typical woman may try to voice her concern but due to the enormous control by those with the money who in many cases are their husbands, they may nit be able to do so. In the recent past statistics show that the women in Africa have more entrepreneurial basics than their men who tend to pursue their careers which are normally strength related that ironically have lesser monetary rewards.
Due to that scenario there is the ‘power of the purse’ meaning more women have more money which is a fact. The marketers have therefore discovered a niche that is not being tapped adequately. Products and services that are related to women have a higher return and turnover than the masculine products. This is basically because of the variety that exists in the women environment on beauty and fashion and so forth.
Research has shown that the women in America too have a high tendency to spend more on quality services than men. Entrepreneur (2007) this is across board on all sectors of expenditure that all spend their incomes on. When it comes to issues of making long term decisions on key issues of expenditure men tend to go for the cost analysis whereas the women tend to go after the quality regardless of how much they are asked to pay. They drive better and more sophisticated cars live in better apartments with better furniture and electronics and most of all even spend more on foodstuffs and other household equipment.
But perhaps of them all is the aspect of the change of mindset that the modern woman is embracing. All over the world more women are enrolling in colleges and universities to secure the degrees and other academic qualifications that enable them posses the all important jobs and other positions. More and more women are getting promoted in their workplaces not only because of their efficient nature but because of their academic qualifications. Another plus why the woman is the perfect worker is the nature of multitasking that they posses in their work.
All these factors that we have seen portray the role of a woman in the expenditure and marketing of all products as a vibrant human being. The writer who describes herself is a baby boomer or the woman with the assets at a prime age that has spending power that is equivalent to none. In fact according to trend sight, a leading consumer watch network, the women on the bracket of 55 to 59 years old or in their prime make averagely 100,000 dollars per annum or translating to 21 percent of all the service income! On top of that they are dual income earners meaning that they have double income mainly through business and a conversant high position jobs. The baby boomers got that name from the mid 20th century period after the major world wars when babies were really produced by people after the depression of the war and the first economic turmoil. Currently in their fifties and sixties the baby boomers have a high spending capability.
On top of that these women who fall in same bracket as the writer have discarded the idea of retirement as it sounds not only retrogressive but also unnecessary according to trends they have had a culture of spending and investing in the Wall Street. This translates to a long term and sustainable market that is reliable but constantly changing itself for the better. In the next years the younger generation of ladies son enters into this bracket of consumers. On e thing that is special about this type of women consumers is their abilities and willingness to spend more on various things such as trips and other destination which more often than not require large amounts of money to succeed. This then is an indication that their attitude about the money is not stringent.
With all these statistics about the major segment of the consumers the role of the marketer to this target group is what? This is a relatively complicated and technical question whereby the answer determiners several things regarding the success or failure of the marketing exercise. The roles of the marketer are majorly to motivate and attract these women spenders. Being the large spenders they are the baby boomers can also be very volatile in decision making as they are easily subjected to changes and new stuff that comes their way. To convince them to by the product can be easier but the real challenge of the marketer is to maintain their support and continuous trade with their respective companies. Therefore a good marketing mix of their products is absolutely necessary. As we are to see later once the products is satisfactory to one person it may be its initial success as customers are brand ambassadors in that they give the word to mouth advertisement that is the best form of advertisement.
According to the same study, women are also willing to try new things out , good or bad and volunteer the samples in order to decide what is best. The marketer should not only be able to make the best initial first impression but also maintain the flow in order to retain the loyal customers as well as attracting the new clientele.
Bottom-line is women fall into different categories which include, women who have families, single independent mothers, young ladies, professionals as well as the prime aged ladies with different approaches to spending. This means that their role in the marketing field is technical because of their nature of spending clever marketing mix should be cultivates in order for it to be profitable in the in ital business but also in the long term.
The recent trends, statistics and implications of women spenders
With the advent of information technology and the internet, the woman today has tons of avenues where they find the information about their well being and other general things. More and more women go to the net to connect to their friends, study, carry out businesses as well as do the all important shopping. Major companies have found out such trends to be very effective and cost effective and are striving to push their products on these sites. According to the Entrepreneur in 2006, more young women especially those in college years visited the internet thrice more than their male colleagues; this shows a good example of how technology and the internet plays a major role in business.
The social networking avenues such as face book and tweeter have made the development of the business concept to redefine and position themselves accordingly to suit their target market. The above the line mode of advertising is not only proving to be ineffective but hard to measure its success in precision. The use of bill boards and other large advertisements in city streets not only does not single in on the intended target market but also may not achieve the purpose. Besides being too costly, the mode of advertisement of above the line doesn’t appeal for a long time. (About .com, 2011)The internet advertisements or online mode of marketing solves these problems because they are easily rectifiable on a day to day basis in response to change of trend and change of the competition in the market.
Online marketers such as JCPeney and amazon.com have very many things in common. They carry out retail business over the internet and specifically target women with their latest and trendiest products. They go ahead to provide large discounts on products and after sale services that range from beauty products to kitchen ware and fashion as well as presents and gifts that appeal to the woman. This is true that their research has worked out in relation to the power of the purse of women. On their websites, it’s clear that they divide their target group or categorize this target group into various sections namely the professionals, age, marital status, social classes as well as the religion. The product mix is evident here because each category is made up of products and services that specifically target the market group and their respective tastes. The baby-boomers have been found to use 15 to 20 hours on the internet to find among other things products of beauty and health. This also attracts the use of the internet by the various pharmaceuticals and drug stores worldwide to convey the message of wellness in a commercial way (Health media, 2010).
The media on the other hand has also beefed up its activity on the women products and other feminine services all over the globe. By these it means the traditional use of newspapers radio and televisions in their adverts is not only inefficient but obsolete. This has led to the emergence of new techniques such as the use of magazines and other publication that target specific issues of the woman. For instanced there have been the emergence of woman magazines on weddings, health and weight management, fashion, pregnancy and childbearing, and so many more that contain articles that address these issues hence create a large following of the women folk. Other trends that are in the market for women’s product include the use of celebrity and other models endorsements to push for attention on the women folk. Statistics here show that there indeed is great change.
With the increase of the awareness of women’s rights and other activism all over the world, information about the importance of financial empowerment for women has been on the increase. Women have taken the employment field and careers by storm for the last fifty or so years. High income careers are being occupied by women as well as businesses with the major stake in the overall country’s income. In fact the writer gives an important statistic that women have increased their earning by a whooping 63% as compared to their male counterparts who manage a meager 0.65% over the same period! Brand week (2001)
The numbers in the financial and marketing sectors in the business world are also very interesting. Apparently between the mid 80’s and 90’s there was a 68% increase in the women participation in business as well as a similar percentage in the gains directly being attributed to the women. The accounting sectors have also seen a soaring number of college graduates being taken in as graduate trainees for the companies and perform better than their male counterparts! It has been a tradition that the women best perform in sales or marketing of goods and services for companies due to their oral and social skills than most men. However true this may be, the numbers are showing that the reverse is very true. In 2009 alone the consumer watch recorded that there was a 19% more employment of men in the sales position than women in various companies worldwide. There was also a 13.5% more admission of women in accounting and financial sectors as professionals than their male counterparts! This reflects a complete turnaround of the numbers.
In addition to that, the Mass Mutual finance group in 2007 indicated that the senior women in their fifties have a 19 trillion control of the general expenditure in the United States. The study also indicates that the baby boomer has the most money because either they have a double or dual check on a monthly basis or have an inheritance from their fathers and husbands. It is projected that in the next decade these ladies will control 2/3 of consumer wealth estimated at 40 trillion dollars. The baby boomer generations are affluent well educated with technology on their advantage as well as college loan repayments out of their way. These with the family responsibility of taking care of little ones gone as their kids are of age; they have the best of the capabilities to spend more (Sheridan Emily, 2007)
Another interesting statistics on women’s demographics is the young professional ladies educated out of college and has a basic job. These women 20- 24 years of age and in direct beneficiaries of an external financial aid from parents and husbands tend to have more spending power because more often than not, they have a side job for their upkeep. In 1940’s the culture was that the women stayed at home and dint work while the men were the sole breadwinners. This does not occur anymore as there is an equal share of family responsibilities in terms of money and income.
These numbers don’t lie as to who has more money, the wallet or the purse. Indicators are pointing to the fact that women today have more spending power due to their increase nature of needs wants and preferences. A man compared to a woman has less preference to spend and the needs are limited to the budget. In the next section of implications, we are going tom see what is the resulting scenario of these statistics and the response of marketers towards these numbers.
The Implications for the Statistics
With such mouth watering statistics it will be inevitable for the marketers t o mix their products and services to meet the expectations of these women. However the question will be how and with what formula? A clever combination of various factors comes into perspective here on the mode of the marketing mix that is supposed to be adapted by the sellers or marketers. This is first through market segmentation whereby the whole women folk are split into various categories as well as classes. Two, is the classification about the short and long term needs for this women and ladies. Three is the avenues to which the products and services will reach the women. This further implies that the numbers that are in the knowledge of the marketers will determine what products and services best suits what category of women. The three major categories that we have mentioned can be sought in details as follows. Brand week (2001)
The segmentation or classifying of the women on the basis of class, age and profession marital status and so forth have made the marketers turn in huge profits as they are able to customize various products to suit the need for each segment. The needs for the young woman are normally fashion and flashy things that are appealing to the eye and mind. Psychologists point out that at this stage many women spend millions on money every year for makeup clothes and general beauty and salon activities. In fact various surveys shows that in this age group in the last decade alone, there was a 16% increase in the cosmetics and plastic surgery done by the women who are seeking to be very beautiful. The beauty enhancement products as well contribute to a higher turnover of events than most of other personal products for men and women. It may also be noted that specialized salons and other beauty retailers have invaded the internet with their various advertisement that are aimed for the eye of the young independent woman.
Having seen the young independent woman with a high sense of fashion and some money to spend, the other age category with a high statistic number is the middle aged woman who account for 45% of the total work force in America today. Her needs may be split between the family and her personal needs. More often than not it can be noted that such categories of women seek an extra job to cater for the increase in need. The main concern of her however is the family expenditure that include the basics namely, the food clothes and shelter. Most of her salary is allocated to the food for the family as well as minimal furniture and so forth. At this juncture she probably has a spouse or if not chances are she has kids or siblings that she is taking care of. From the last subtopic that we noted that there has been a sharp drop of stay at home moms to multi taskers who concentrate on their careers and family as well. These has enabled the marketers to make good their mix that aim at not only satisfying her personal needs of staying pretty and attractive but also managing her finances as well her kids. The baby boomers have been highlighted enough in this chapter and it goes without saying that the marketers of luxuries and other expensive and quality products are succeeding on this area. Brand week (2001)
Apart from that, the long and short term need for the woman has been on the increase today. With the short term needs that include the ability to satisfy basics and secondary needs taken care of almost with ease, there has been a constant change of mindset by the working woman today to secure the future by acquiring property and taking the extra insurance cover that seeks to to safeguard the future for the kids and family. Gone are the days when the women could wait for the inheritance or marry into rich families to gain the fortune.
Women are increasingly acquiring property and other assets that are offer. Bonds and other financial instruments for the long term gain are being purchased by ladies. Shares and stocks on Wall streets for various companies are being controlled by these middle class ladies that have a massive interest for the future. This shows that the urge of the financial independence of these women is on the increase and thus the people concerned with the retail of these products are supposed to make it fast and efficient to take care of this need.
However, the sweet story so far has its own twist. McKinley (2006) notes that women don’t save as much as men! With the high salaries and other benefits impulse shopping has taken center stage for these ladies. She notifies that 54% of Hispanic and Afro- American women don’t have any money left to save after paying off their bills. This is partly because of the economic conditions that are prevailing in the world today and because of the role of the marketing that encourages spending among the women. These same women can’t save for retirement let alone cover for their medical and other basic insurance. This is one negative implication for the ambitious marketing campaigns that has been undertaken by various marketing companies.
Then this begs the questions, how does the spending of men different fro that of women? What are the strategies that are being used to target the women and what are the general results of these?
Difference between men and women in marketing
John Grey an author of the book men are from mars, women are from Venus believes that men and women a re completely different species with different mindset and different way of seeing things. This is because of the information processing formula that is possessed by either of them. He qualifies his argument by the simple fact of how they communicate amongst themselves and among each other. These psychological disparities have taken center stage even in the world of marketing (Kenneth, 2001)
In America today there is a role of a man in marketing both as the marketer and the consumer. The woman also has a place in the whole scenario as the one marketing and how they take this responsibility in that profession as well as the woman consumer and how they get influenced.
A man who is a marketer is different from a man who is consuming the products. A woman who is a consumer is not very different from the woman who is the marketer. This is according to brandweek.com a leading marketing organization. Kenneth (2001) In fact the study done by this network shows that more women tend to own the idea or the products they deal with when marketing them in the same manner that they accept them while being sold to. In contrast the men make decisions according to the benefits of the products in relation to the cost while the women make decision on the quality of the products but not indirect relation to the cost. This means the latter don’t mind spending more on goods or products than their counterparts as long as the quality is well explained.
To qualify that network has given characteristics on the process through which men make marketing decisions. The men are described in that study to be autocratic, assertive and quick in decision making process as marketers but slow and interrogative as buyers! This means when acting as sales people they may use all tactics and even slyness to achieve their objectives of making a sale of their products. This may influence them to make higher sales but not in in a long term sustainable way as they may misrepresent the information hence losing out on loyal customers who may find out unexplained features later when using the products. But as consumers men tend to interrogate the validity of the products and the benefits that are derived from these services. They tend to haggle more and even ask for after-sale-services and warranties to guarantee the products performance.
Another aspect of a typical male consumer is that they are seldom influenced by their peers in making decisions of consumption. In fact they are poor impulse buyers. Retailers such as Macy’s have given a reason why male products are overpriced and that is men don’t often buy all the time so their suits colognes and other personal effects tend to be of higher price.
With a traditionally higher position in the earning brackets, the male consumer spends more on the long term ware rather than the short term things. They tend to save more and spend less. There is no much difference in the age brackets and its spending habits in an explicit way as their female counterparts. In fact, younger men and older men prefer the same things but only differ with the economic bracket. A popular talk show host once quoted that ‘Older men obviously with more to spend, prefer bigger toys namely cars just as their little boys who prefer smaller toys in the makeshift of the cars!’ this ids true in marketing as it is very hard to segment especially for men.
On the other hand women are collaborative decision makers who tend to socialize more within themselves and make decision based on not only their own making but also on the general perception of quality among their peers. It is easier to market women’s products in a large scale and through use of visual marketing such as the use of fashion models because of their mass appeal. Marketers tend to use the fantasy approach to market female products in relation to the realistic approach in moving the male products.
In the exact opposite of their male counterparts the female fraternity tends to be more listening and risk averse in taking their own decisions. They tend to be convinced easily as long as the product is made to be as lucrative as they are said. It is at this point that the marketers and producers of female goods tend to put much of their concentration on the initial goods that are going to the market in order to make the first impression.
Women are brand ambassadors too as they not only develops the habit of loyalty but also tend to influence their friends and others of their social circles to do try out. The primary consumer in the society being woman makes it absolutely necessary for the marketers who deal with the basic commodities such grocery and other products to be absolutely careful in order to not only capture this market but also maintain its loyalty as well. This is because of their judgmental nature of complete approval or disapproval instantaneously.
Strategies of marketing to women
After all said and done its important that the all the information as pertaining to the role of the woman in the marketing field, the statistics in place and its implication is put in manner that is not only profitable but also workable and result oriented. What are the strategies that are necessary for the efficient marketing for women? With no direct answer to these question , marketers can summarize the marketing concept into three segments namely, personalized marketing , mass marketing, micro marketing.
Personalized marketing is basically use of agents or people with marketing skills to reach for the target market namely the woman. The personnel for this task need not only to have sufficient information about the product they so sale but also possess the necessary quality and attitude for marketing. Such marketing strategy is to be used to sell health or financial products or services to women. Personalized sales may also include the word of mouth amongst women who are in the same as bracket as the rest of the marketers. This has been recorded as one strategy that has worked quite well in the multi-level marketing and business strategy.
Mass marketing on the other hand on the other hand is the use of the above the line as well as below the line means of marketing, it involves forms of advertising through the use of radio television and other avenues to which the message reaches the consumer. To make the work efficient and effective proper consultation should be made by the marketing executives of such companies to employ the best means that are effective. Use of billboards and other communication materials should be strategically positioned in areas where they are visible but also on the direct reach for the ladies.
Micromarketing which is perhaps the most efficient of all is the use of the means and media to target and meet the demands of the customers in the most precise way. The use of internet and other social networking sites to target the women in them, the advertisement and transaction of goods and services through these sites can also be a good example of micromarketing. Use of personal sales people to target various groups or people can not only be effective but also paying as marketer is able to use the first hand information to package their goods and services in the best and satisfying manner.
The writer of the article herself as a woman provides an insight of how the life story of one can make or break ones future ambitions. This means as a woman more challenges are encountered while trying to attain financial freedom. She further gives an account on her journey in relation to how women think and process information and how that may influence her perception of the marketing.
The role of a woman is highlighted as a mother working professional a young college student and a prime aged lady. These brackets also translate to different spending preferences and habits in these classes. The marketers have gone into lengths to study these groups and come up with the most effective modes of marketing.
The trends that are on the rise about the emergence of information technology are also taken into consideration in this chapter. Lastly the difference between the male and women are depicted differently according to john Grey and the strategies that best fit also taken into consideration.
In conclusion, the reason why it is important to market to the woman is because all factors seem to favor her spending. In fact it is called the power of the purse!
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