The most valuable consumer of 2011 has been the American woman. And it’s not the first win for the female shopper as Time’s in depth report shows….and it certainly won’t be the last. According to Time, Women accounted for 58% of online spending, and more than 80% of health care decisions made.
But what’s most revelatory and relevant to marketers is not that women are spending more, it’s that they’re earning more. In the United States, women influence more than half of the nation’s private wealth. In cities like New York, single, childless women in their twenties and thirties are earning more than their male counterparts. Nationwide, one-third of women make more than their husbands, for the first time…ever.
The reason? For one, women make up nearly half the workforce. But importantly, it comes down to the fact that a higher percentage of women in the workforce have college degrees than men. And so that influence is not only more empowered to spend but educated to spend wisely.
These changes have real implications on how brands and companies market to women. No longer are we living in the world where Mad Men’s Betty Draper purchases beer for her husband’s dinner party based on the display at the supermarket. Social media has expanding the buying experience long before and long after the point of sale, from product research to customer service. Women are more likely to share content online than men – and use those shared recommendations to impact purchasing decisions.
BlogHer reports that about 54% of women are engaged with blogs, and many use them as a first stop for product insights and reviews. To leverage this growing influence, MWW worked with our client Sara Lee to introduce Jimmy Dean to influential female bloggers by providing samples to and engaging more than 2,000 participants at BlogHer 2010, the preeminent conference for female bloggers. This activation resulted in more than 30 million impressions and 2,893 fans on Facebook in the days surrounding BlogHer. But more importantly, it engaged an entire network of influencers who could share their experiences and impressions of Jimmy Dean to a loyal and trusting audience.
Blog engagement not only taps into a built in network and credibility, it can help reach fragmented audiences through hyper-targeting. There are blogs focusing on everything from DIY and fashion to sites for pet lovers and foodies.
Bottom line, to matter more to women, brands need to understand what matters most to them: outstanding customer service at all points of contact, endorsements and recommendations from people they trust, corporate responsibility and better business practices, diversity and women leadership in the boardroom. Smart brands and companies will leverage the buying power of women to innovate better products, better buying experiences, and ultimately, the way business is done.