Key lessons from Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing.
A woman’s world revolves around family and work; she either chooses between the two or tries to balance both of them.
At least not for Kotler.
In his book on marketing’s latest trends (Marketing 4.0), he discusses the brand’s opportunity to expand its market share by focusing exclusively on them.
He says that women are better multi-taskers than men so they’ll probably try to balance work and family. In doing so, they’re more empowered to become natural leaders and if brands can get to them, they’ll gain the best advocate to their cause.
Brand’s appeal to target female customers exclusively is based on women’s three key behaviors when it comes to purchasing decisions.
#1 They gather a lot of information before making a purchase
If they take more time to buy something, why would brands prefer them over fast and mindless buyers?
First, we need to understand what’s their purchase journey. Kotler says women follow a spiral rather than a direct line between their intent and their actual purchase. They like to collect information, look at the product/service, and then come back and do some more research before going any further with their purchase.
For instance, women spend hours in retail stores analyzing and comparing prices. They might also make an online search while at the store. Conversely, men limit their search and buy what they need as fast as they can.
Women also talk to each other about these different brands. They ask their friends and family and are open to suggestions. They want to find the best product for their needs.
Men just want to buy the damn thing.
What’s in it for companies?
All those efforts brands do to educate their customers and invest in telling people about their products and services are not wasted.
Brands have the opportunity to get to women through multiple touchpoints thus enhancing the brand-customer relationship. They have several opportunities to reach them effectively before women make their final decision.
Women listen and digest this information, and they are the ones summarizing it to others afterward.
#2 Women are holistic buyers — they consider the benefits that will bring to themselves as well as to their families
Women interact with the brand through many more touchpoints than men. Their behavior throughout their purchase journey makes them look for information from multiple channels.
They need to consider many factors before making the actual purchase: the emotional benefits, the price, the product’s purpose, and so on. Once they review all these features they can determine the real value of what they’re buying.
As Kotler points out, when women look for a product, they want to know their personal as well as their family’s benefit with this purchase they’re about to make.
They’ll analyze different brands, even those that aren’t popular, all in the hopes of finding the most valuable one. When all this scrutiny is over, they’ll feel much more confident about their purchase.
What’s in it for the firm?
Women are much more likely to be self-confident about their decision. A brand wants customers to feel they’ve made the right choice.
By having an intense feeling of self-assurance, women will also feel a stronger loyalty towards the brand. They’ve invested time in finding the right fit and now that they found the one, they’re rewarded with a great product/service.
And now comes the best part.
What’s the thing all brands want the most for their marketing strategy?
A natural, organic, word of mouth recommendation of their products. Brands are not the ones trying to convince the customer, and instead, the customer is the one doing it for them with other potential clients.
Women will be more vocal about products and services and here’s where companies get their most valuable asset to do the heavy lifting.
And it’s free of charge!
#3 Women are the actual home managers and decision-makers
Since they are the ones doing the research and choosing the products and services that better fit the needs of the whole family, they’re the natural family leaders.
Not only do they act as the first barrier of new products entering their house doors, but they also influence the purchase of financial services and investments.
It comes down to the person calling the shots at home.
According to the Pew Research Center, women are responsible for 43% of the decisions at home. On the other hand, men account for just 26%. So the dominant party is evident. Decisions are equally divided among couples the rest of the time.
What’s in it for brands?
When you have a clear figure making the decisions at home, brands know who they have to get to.
In certain countries, this gender proportion is even much more tilted towards women, even if they don’t hold a job outside of home.
According to Mark Plus Insight, 57% of Indonesian women are the sole decision-makers when it comes to household electronic items, and up to 70% when it comes to other devices like smartphones and tablets.
Brands will therefore try to persuade the one with power and women are the ones holding the reins.
Kotler states three reasons why brands should focus on women as their main customer:
- Information seekers: they gather a lot of information before making a purchase. This behavior enables brands to interact with them through multiple touchpoints and has more opportunities to influence their purchasing decisions.
- Holistic focus: women not only consider their needs but their family’s too when buying a product or service. Once they’ve decided on a brand, they’ll stay loyal to it and they’ll even recommend it passionately to others.
- Household managers: women are most commonly making decisions at home when it comes to purchases. They’re the ones spending the money and brands need to go where power resides.
These 3 features are the main reasons why marketers should focus on women as their target audience. Women have a huge influence on the purchasing decisions and they‘re more likely to be advocates for the brands they believe in.
Kotler’s final statement points towards women as one of the most influential groups in the digital era. If brands want to expand their market share in today’s digital economy, women are their best bet to do so.
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