I recently read In Women We Trust by Mary Clare Hunt (read her blog here) at the urging of Yvonne DiVita (it is one of her company's books). Yvonne was putting together a virtual book tour and I was happy to help. It has taken me a little longer than I had hoped to publish this review, as impending motherhood has gathered most of my attention. I thank Mary and Yvonne for their patience! I had the opportunity to correspond with via email and talk via phone to Mary, and really enjoyed our conversations. There is much to learn from this book, and I recommend it – particularly for those marketers who are seeking to use word-of-mouth techniques to reach female audiences.
Mary captured the key to success in marketing to women in her title: Trust. Related to this (part of building this trust) are things like respect and community. “But wait!” you say. “Men want these things as well.” Of course they do, and the techniques Mary writes about will work for men as well. But as we women know intimately, marketers have done a rather bad job dealing with us. It is time to focus on how to improve the relationship between brands and women.
The book is full of examples that I am sure most of my female readers can relate to: shopping for electronic equipment or cars are two iconic ones. I still seethe when I think about how I was treated at a major electronics chain a few years ago when I went there to buy a digital camera. Standing at the outside of the square counter, with the (male) clerk behind it, I was ignored completely while he waited on at least four other men (some of whom arrived after me), then when he finally asked me if he could help with a sigh, I launched into my questions, which he really didn't listen to (he barely looked at me) and then, when he was interrupted by another man with a “quick question” that turned into a lecture on the benefits of pixels, I simply walked away, left the store, and vowed never to buy anything from them again. And I spread the word among my female friends. I bought the $600 camera at another store.
Women will make or influence decisions on over 80% of all consumer purchases. This statistic is one of many that will be found in the first part of the book. As Mary wrote, “Money talks.” Here are a couple of other data points I found interesting. Women make or influence decisions on:
- 83% of all consumer products and services
- 50-60% of all auto purchases
- 51% of consumer electronics (this number is from 2003 – from recent news I think it is increasing)
- 81% of riding lawn mowers.
Women cannot be ignored in the business-to-business arena either. They own 45% of all companies in the US, with more than $1.2 trillion in sales. They employ 18 million people.
So, how do marketers learn how to better tap this market rich in resources and possibilities? Mary believes a cultural shift is necessary “to the softer side of business.”