I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

With great power comes great responsibility. Thanks to emerging media, marketers now have the power (i.e. ability) to reach consumers in ways we never thought possible. However, just because companies have the ability to communicate with so many consumers through multitudes of media platforms, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily should. When it comes to profitability and potential sales revenue, not all consumers are created equal, and marketing to everyone the same way is just a waste of time, money and resources.

Because not all buyers are alike, marketers have to create ways to place buyers into cohesive groups that differ from one another based on specific wants and needs. This is known as market segmentation. Marketers use segmentation to focus on subgroups of the total population because they are expected to be more receptive to marketing campaigns than the population in general.

It’s no wonder companies want to tap in to the power of market segmentation. Just consider the buying power of the fastest growing ethnic markets in the US:

  • African-Americans’ buying power has increased from $316.3 billion in 1990 to $946.6 billion in 2010 and is projected to climb to $1.3 trillion in 2017.
  • Hispanic buying power is worth $1 trillion now and is expected to grow another 50 percent to $1.5 trillion in the next five years

There is a lot of money to be spent, and consumers want to spend it on companies that make them feel valued. Navigating these waters can be a bit tricky, however, especially when it comes to communicating across cultural barriers. Even more difficult still is reaching across the gender gap.


With their purchasing power and influence, women drive an estimated 70-80% of consumer spending; and roughly 75% of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their households. However, nearly half of women surveyed say marketers misunderstand them. Unsure of the most effective way to market to women, many marketers adopt a strategy of gender washing, which has two defining characteristics: First, a failure to acknowledge women’s distinct needs, and/or second, a belief that marketing to women simply means offering the “shrink it and pink it ” version of men’s products. Example: Bic for Her.


As companies steer clear of gender washing, they can utilize emerging media to effectively communicate with women:

  • The average 15+ female spends 8 percent more time online than her male counterpart.
  • According to comScore Plan Metrix, nearly 56 percent of adult women say they use the Internet to stay in touch with people, compared to 46 percent of adult men.
  • Retail is also a key site category for women, and they spend 20 percent more time on retail sites overall than men
  • Women text 30 percent more overall than men.
  • 44% of moms own a smart phone and they are giving them a good workout. Top uses include: looking up store locations and hours (61%), keeping family schedule, (49%) and work schedule (37%), and texting family and friends while shopping to get their input on clothing decisions, (49%) 641
  • In May 2011, 69% of women were users of social networking sites, compared with 60% of men.
  • Women are also more active in their use of these sites, with more than half of female internet users using social networking sites on a typical day (54%), compared with 42% of male internet users
  • Globally, women spent an average of 16.3 percent of their online time on social networks in April 2010, compared to 11.7 percent for the men

With women making most of the household purchasing decisions, and spending more time communicating through technology, using emerging media to reach this market segment just seems like a no-brainer.


3 thoughts on “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

  1. I’m glad you had a post showing the importance of marketing towards female customers. One of my goals at Cabela’s is to create events that are geared towards getting more women involved in shooting sports like archery and target shooting. More women are understanding that they don’t need to be a hunter to own a rifle, handgun, or a bow. As a company, we have two events a year that focus on our female customers. Ladies Day Out is an event that we hold in the spring (April 18th) and in the fall. The events range from an archery class at our indoor archery range, to choosing the right firearm as well as fly fishing classes. This is a grass roots for the retail marketing managers at the stores and promoting the event is up to us. I have signage throughout the store, as well as a huge banner hanging from the front of our building. Next week I’ll be sending out a press release about the event to all of the media outlets in Buffalo with hopes to get some exposure for the event.

    “According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), women the women’s market is a very real one, and it is growing, untapped, and undeveloped. The retailer who meets the demand for specialized equipment will find a group of enthusiastic, supportive buyers as well as loyal customers. The industry has already seen an increase in businesses servicing this demographic as more products are released with women in mind. Custom gun cases, smaller frame pistols, accessories dressed up with bling or pink, all of these products are created to target the female market.” The goal behind our Ladies Day Out event is to tap into this new market of potential customers. Women are looking to get involved in shooting sports and we would like to have them shop at Cabela’s.

    “As the shooting sports industry continues to grow, women look to be a key factor in the sport’s constant development. The retailers and businesses that see women as a valuable sector of their customer base will find new growth and a group of customers who want to be educated and skillful in shooting sports.”



  2. The ethnic-market consumer spending figures are impressive, as are women’s online habits. Therefore, marketing to women online, and segmenting by ethnicity, could be a profitable strategy…


  3. After reading your post IKEA came to mind as an example of using research about the sub-group, women, and utilized an IMC campaign created by MED and Ogilvy & Mather.

    The mission was “to grow the amount each customer spends per transaction at IKEA (known as “ticket size”), a figure which had only seen a mere 2% growth during 2010″ (Elliot, 2011). While opening new stores can always help to increase sales, the marketing teams focused on selling more to the customers IKEA already had. Before implementing a campaign research was first conducted which consisted of “in-home and in-store ethnographies with 35-year-old low-ticket IKEA shoppers to understand why they spent so little- and how they might be persuaded to spend more” (Elliot, 2011). IKEA understands that women have a high majority of purchasing power, and when it comes to home furnishing also makes them a target audience.

    This research revealed that the 35 year old woman saw IKEA as something she loved in her 20s and only saw the individual products such as kitchenware, lamps, rugs, beds, etc., rather than seeing kitchens or living rooms or bedrooms (Elliot, 2011). This is when it was realized that this target audience cared more about their family and “furniture is a means to an end: furnishing her own unique vision of happy family life” (Elliot, 2011). From this research the tagline “Made by (insert name), Designed by IKEA” was created.

    Now, the implementation of the IMC campaign began with traditional media as well as online media, “TV ads showcased IKEA’s range of styles and demonstrated how, with a bit of negotiation, the perfect room can come together in harmony between two people. Print focused on one key style and showed people interacting with each other within that room, giving people the chance to imagine their own family life there. Online display ads highlighted big ticket items, like sofas, while rich media and video units let the user engage to open up a full page living room ‘showroom’ where they could browse products, download a brochure and find their nearest store” (Elliot, 2011). Further, IKEA also had furniture in HGTV’s show Dear Genevieve, IKEA partnered with other media shows, IKEA implemented “Life Improvement Seminars”, and “TV and magazine editorial integrations lent credibility through association with home and kitchen professionals and celebrities” (Elliot, 2011). If this campaign were to be run again with the social media and technology marketers have now, such as incorporating hostages enabling further digital interaction.

    Lastly IKEA employed interaction with their customers by setting up “The Share Space”, “an online destination where people could showcase how IKEA had helped them achieve a personalized style in their home and inspire others to do the same” (Elliot, 2011).

    All of these strategies and tactics proved to be successful for IKEA as “sales grew above expectations at 7.4% (versus the 5% target), especially sales of rooms, which rose 9% for living rooms and 12% for kitchens. In fact, IKEA outpaced industry growth, which was a low 1.05%. The team’s goals were exceeded by 55% as MEC and Ogilvy’s combined efforts increased ticket size to 6.2%, by successfully driving people to spend more on whole rooms” (Elliot, 2011).

    And, in terms of social media, “IKEA’s Facebook fan base tripled to 354,000, @DesignByIKEA hit 13,648 Twitter followers in just over a month and The Share Space site saw more than 36,000 unique users within the first month of launch” (Elliot, 2011).

    By diving into an audience and finding what is important to them (i.e. gaining insights) marketers can create campaigns that resonate with its consumer and is successful. Click here (http://hashonomy.com/link/how-an-integrated-marketing-campaign-boosted-ikeas-sales-over-7-191614/) to view the numerous tweets IKEA received about this particular IMC campaign and the success IKEA achieved.

    Elliot, A. (2011, December 13). How an integrated marketing campaign boosted IKEA’s sales over 7%. Yahoo News. Retrieved from http://news.yahoo.com/integrated-marketing-campaign-boosted-ikeas-sales-over-7-104826162.html


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