The Powerful Female Economy

“Women challenge the status quo because we are never it.” Cindy Gallop

Advertising is one of the most male dominated industries on the planet. Female creative directors are outnumbered 10 to 1 in most industry average studies.

And yet, effectively engaging the female economy (and actually doing it well) remains one of the biggest ‘hidden in plain sight’ business and creative opportunities in advertising today. Why?

Four reasons big reasons to better recognise the global female economy in your marketing.

1. It’s huge!

Women drive the economy. Women dominate the purchasing decisions in the market. An estimated 80% of daily consumer decisions are made by women (for products for both men and women). 80% is not a niche. That means $28 trillion dollars of the world’s $35 trillion dollar consumer economy is the hands of females. That’s probably enough of a reason to stop right there.

2. It’s growing…

The female economy is hands down the world’s largest growth market. The Boston Consulting Group’s Global Inquiry into Women and Consumerism predicts global incomes of women will hit US$18 trillion by 2018. That’s up from US$13 trillion in 2009 — twice as much as the predicted growth of China and India combined over the same period.

One of the largest area for income growth for women comes in the form of equal pay. The McKinsey Global Institute reported that if women around the world enjoyed pay parity, it would add US$12 trillion to the global economy.

Women own about a third of all businesses in the world, and nearly half of those businesses are in developing markets. Every year, more women across the world are participating in the workforce. Every year, women are earning more at work. Every year, there are more women on the billionaire list and more women in board rooms. Women have outnumbered men in worldwide university enrolments and graduation since 2009. (Source: UNESCO’s 2009 Global Education Digest).

This translates to an educated, increasingly powerful, growing segment on the economy.

3. It’s influential.

Women drive 80% of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of buying power and influence.

Influence is all the stuff she’s not buying herself but has influence or veto power over. As dominant primary caregivers for children and the elderly all around the world, women buy for themselves — but also for the people they live with, as well as extended family and friends. They hold a multiplier effect. Win her, you win them all.

When women find a brand that meets their needs, they can become evangelical in their appreciation. Research shows women are more active on social media and more likely to post, comment and share about their favourite brands.

4. It’s unloved and underserved by existing marketing.

Untapped sales to women are literally worth trillions of dollars, but 91% of women say that marketers do not understand them (funny that). The authors of Women Want More surveyed more than 12,000 women from 22 countries and all different incomes and walks of life, and found, universally, that women feel undervalued in the marketplace, underestimated at work and underserved in marketing efforts. They have huge demands on their time, the consumer world is not working hard enough to build them solutions and too much marketing is created ‘at women’ not ‘for women’.

How do we get it right for women?

Building marketing content for gender differences takes an astute and strategic approach. It requires empathy. It’s easy to get wrong. CEO of Female Factor, Bridget Brennan, says “Gender is the most powerful determinant of how we see the world and everything in it. It’s more significant than age, income, ethnicity or geography.” These differences aren’t taught at business school or marketing courses and the marketplace is littered with examples of product and marketing to women gone wrong.

It’s about empathy and understanding what women want.

They want respect.

Respect is a great starting point for any advertising to any market. Women deserve (and want) to be acknowledged for what they are: powerful, intelligent, resourceful, diverse, intuitive humans with their hands on the wheel of the consumer economy.

They want time.

Mums, on average, get just 17 minutes “me time” each day. They are after work/life balance, on the hunt for ways to share the load or magic some extra time. They are looking for convenience. They are worrying about how to make it all happen, what the trade-offs are and how to make tough decisions about what they give their time to.

They want value.

Everyone wants to spend their money wisely. Everyone is skeptical about marketing claims. Women are always juggling the economics of multiple purchasing decisions. They are thinking about their future, the future of those they care about, they are busy and rightfully skeptical of marketing claims. They need to spend their money wisely and need real value in the products they buy.

They want love.

Like anyone, women want to feel understood and valued. They need to know that their feelings and concerns matter in a world that often misses the mark for them. This means being spoken to with honesty and respect. They want support, they want to be backed up, they want to be acknowledged.

They want connection.

Women want to feel they are part of something beyond themselves. A sense of community, belonging and connection is important. We all build meaning and purpose through interaction and this is especially relevant to women. The opportunity to build connection and trust is huge in the female economy.

How are you thinking about the female economy in your marketing?

It shouldn’t be an afterthought or a niche segment. Pink is not a strategy. ‘Lite’ is not a strategy.

If you’re not building empathy and understanding with the female economy into the foundations of your marketing and advertising, then you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Drop us a line at Double Denim. We specialise in strategic communications for women.