Maximizing the lifetime value of a customer is also closely related to a fundamental concept we’ve embraced for a long time – focused attention on marketing to women. A book we studied when it came out in 2003 by Martha Barletta entitled, “Marketing to Women” was updated in 2014 and is available on Amazon. While not without weaknesses, the book points out the importance of being intentional in marketing outreach to women.
Don’t let the date of the copywrite scare you away. This isn’t a book about trends that change by the day. Its focus is on statistics demonstrating the purchasing power of the largest demographic segment in the world and the market power that comes from understanding that women drive one-time purchases, long-term customer relationships, and, therefore, the lifetime value of a customer.
In an example of a trend to drive home the importance of marketing to women, women buy 62 percent of all new cars in the U.S. and influence more than 85% of all car purchases, new and used alike. Or try this one. Healthcare spending represents 17.7% of the total U.S. economy or $3.8 trillion in 2019, and women make 80% of all healthcare decisions. That’s $3.04 trillion out of $3.8 trillion.
Business success measured in direct sales isn’t the only reason to create marketing programs designed to appeal to women. Research related to marketing suggests that women use information to find interrelationships between many pieces of information. They tend to practice looping back repeatedly, digging deeper and deeper into interrelated ideas before reaching a decision. Men tend to use more item-specific information in reaching decisions.
Let’s boil that down to a situation that makes more sense to me. Early in our marriage, I was surprised that my wife could remember minute details of events that happened years ago. Now I’m in awe. It isn’t that she has a mind for small detail; for her, details become embedded in a web of cognitive and emotional content that makes them memorable. She simply processes social information in a more integrated way than I do. Perhaps a good way to think of it is the difference between reading a set of specifications and processing an intricate work of poetry.
Of course, here’s where a note of caution is helpful. Some men process information quite holistically, and some women do not. Further, research has been accumulating around the idea that men and women share the same cognitive skills, which brings us to the last point; a successful marketing program that appeals to women must also avoid marketing based on gender-driven stereotypes.
We think it requires five steps to avoid gender-driven marketing stereotypes while harnessing the wisdom of marketing to women:
Forget the harried multi-tasking woman (she handles it well)
Build information loops into your marketing program (everyone appreciates them)
Pay extremely close attention to the subtle cues you give (everyone feels bad design)
Strive for consistency in everything you do – (social, digital, and physical touchpoints)
Support and connect after the sale – (connect, connect, connect)
Each of our five steps is worth a volume of on its own. But perhaps we’ve accomplished our goal, which was to introduce women as key drivers of the economy who show us how to connect with the most discerning buyers, whether male or female—leaving until last our most crucial point.
You’ll find great success in the market by successfully delivering value for the economically largest, most influential demographic in the world. As an added benefit, you’ll earn a lot of business from men as well.