Insider #243 - Critical Half
Females -They're In Demand, They're Demanding
By Miles Weston
"Hey, this place is my home. And I'm not willing to risk everything I have on your personal life. It's business, plain and simple." - Lil, "Coyote Ugly," Touchstone Pictures, 2000
ZDNet's Ken Hess recently gave Apple a backhanded compliment, saying that OSX, Mountain Lion, was the world's first transgender operating system aimed directly at Cougars, middle-aged women.
It probably wasn't the reason, but it does show that a few people have come to realize that the female half of the "community" really matters.
It's not as though they don't tell us often enough. It just seems guys have a difficult time processing and understanding it. Maybe it's because they give us so much, we get overloaded.
Or, as Robert Elliott Gonzales, Poems and Paragraphs, noted, "A woman calls it giving you a piece of her mind, but our experience has been that she generally winds up by giving you the whole dad-burned thing."
The big difference today is that with the dominance of the internet and the web, organizations are in a better position to use advanced analytics to filter the information and develop meaningful conclusions; and more women are actively involved in business and industry.
A worldwide study by Nielsen last year found that:
- 90 percent of women believe their role is changing for the better
- Women see a vast horizon of opportunities, but a plateau of hope in developed economies
- Increasingly, women feel empowered and increasingly stressed
- When it comes to life's decisions, women want to share responsibility
- Across generations women are alike in many ways, but they are also unique
- Social media has become an indispensable tool
- Only 10 percent of women are highly influenced by web ads with social context
- Women trust those they know
Not surprisingly, Nielsen found that today's technology has a profound effect on helping advance women.
Helpful Technology - Women around the globe in emerging and developed countries stated that today's technologies were instrumental in helping them improve the quality of their lives. Social networking helps them connect and expand their communities, their circles of influence. Source - Nielsen
The "discovery" shouldn't be too surprising.
As Lil noted, "You look like a kindergarten teacher. The kids'll love it."
More than 10 years ago, comScore reported that there were more women on the web than men; and they were very active in the digital mainstream and social networks.
Social Connection - Women not only spend time in developing and expanding their social networks, they also communicate and reach out using all of the applications/opportunities. The internet has broken down barriers of time and distance and enables them to reach across borders for news, information, assistance. Source: Pew Research
Increasingly, women consider themselves the chief financial officers at home.
Harvard Business Review reported that women control more than 70 percent of consumer spending and that the internet has significantly improved how/why/where they spend their money.
Search, Research - Increasingly, men and women go online to find product information and outlets. However, women conduct more comprehensive, more thorough research and in greater depth. In addition, they more readily share their findings and experiences with others and publicly. Source - Fleishman-Hillard and Hearst Magazines
Whether its technology, where we spend our holidays, a pot pie recipe or car repairs, our wife gathers all the facts, all the information, all the feedback before she makes a buying decision (she calls it a recommendation).
Cheap Isn't Enough
It turns out, it takes a lot of time to filter through all that information to reach "our" decision because it goes way beyond price.
Cammie listened to the price pitch and said, "Yeah, I keep forgetting that part!"
After the Research - There are many factors that women consider in making their purchasing decision; but once the decision is made, nothing moves them to quickly make the purchase like a special or limited time offer. Source: Q Interactive
In fact, Nielsen found that quality was the number one driver of brand loyalty across 95 percent of the countries, and was the key factor across 17 considerations.
While coupons and "deals" were important, being the lowest price didn't even make it into the top three selection criteria.
The female consumer has held sway over product success or failure for years and perhaps nowhere has it become so apparent than in the consumer electronics industry.
The CEA, with female advancement organizations, has undertaken a series of initiatives to raise women's visibility in the industry as well as help members address their wants/needs.
The CEA recently reported that women spend more on technology than men for their family and personal use.
Last year, women accounted for $55 billion of the $96 billion spent on electronics gear. Working closely with women's advancement organizations, the CEA found that to increase their chances of meeting the female consumer's wants/needs, firms need to do more than bathe the products in pink or some other girlish color.
In addition, they and other researchers found that Coyotes, Cougars often change their communications and research habits when children enter the picture because they feel it's even more important to be in control of the family/home situation/environment.
That could be one of the reasons Nielsen found that women not only felt more empowered, but also more stress.
The communications, connected shift is even more apparent in developing countries because mobile phones are more widely used than computers and the internet.
Dependents - The presence and age of children in the household shifts the importance of various feature/smartphone activities. Children and available time make some activities more important than others. Source: Placecast
Today's smartphone makes it easier for them to coordinate family schedules as well as research family activities, daycare options, family purchases. They're also great for viewing/managing family pictures as well as downloading/playing games or music for the kids.
That's a lot of work/entertainment for a small communications device.
While price isn't in the top three purchasing factors for women, there are ways to influence, swing the buying decision...coupons, special offers.
Coupons-to-Go - Women, even more than men, are interested in receiving coupons on their mobile device when they are considering a purchase. The challenge is that most marketers have either not embraced, or only cautiously embrace, mobile marketing activities. Source - miBuys
It sounds simple enough; but unfortunately, most companies' mobile marketing activities are still in the planning or toddler stages...if they exist at all.
Women are downloading more movies and music than men.
They do the majority of game-playing across many of the platforms.
And, they have higher "purchase intentions" than men do when it comes to most electronics.
While we - like most men - still agree with Sigmund Freud, "The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'"
The answer goes beyond just asking them, it requires getting them more involved in the industry and at increasingly more responsible technical, company positions.
That's difficult in a male-dominated industry; but it has to be done because Coyotes, Cougars can be awful mean if things don't go the "right" way.
Just remember, they could rise to Lil's position and say, "I never said I was your friend. I'm your boss and you knew the rules like everybody else."
If that happens, the party's over and the rules could change.