In the movie, What Women Want? Gong Li’ character, who played the role of a newly appointed Creative Director in a top advertising firm, challenged her male subordinates to tap into their ‘anima’ in order to understand how to market to women.
For those who have yet to watch the movie, anima, is a term according to Carl Jung’s School of Psychology, that describes the unconscious level of the male’s mind that expresses a feminine inner personality.
Gong Li then went on to the torturous act of forcing Andy Lau into wearing lipsticks, high-heels, skirts and the whole nine yards. The two of adversaries eventually fell in love and lived happily ever after.
Beyond entertainment value, the movie does serve as a reminder on the tremendous market that women represent, which were largely overlooked by most businesses. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you see a marketing plan including tactical strategy on how to appeal to the lady customers?
This article examines the critical points on marketing to women by first asking the obvious question; What Women Want? Male and female species are wired differently. If your business is still adapting a one size fit all strategy, you may miss out on a lot of opportunities for your products and services to appeal to women.
According to Sharifah, Senior Sales Manager of NBT, “Most of the buying decision when purchasing the family car comes down to women, even though men are apparently more astute about cars. It is the woman who holds the final say because they are responsible for the household finance.” In Marina Mahathir’s keynote address at last year’s Women’s Forum, Nissan’s sales accelerated simply because they made a strategic decision to hire more female sales assistant.
Trendy cafes are sprouting up all over Brunei, patronized mainly by women, simply because the old fashion male dominated ‘kopitiam’ are unable to provide an environment conducive for women and make them feel safe and comfortable.
Universiti of Brunei Darussalam in the past 3 years produced more female graduates than male. Women all over the world are gaining power both politically and in business; as a result, the power of the purse has also increased significantly. If you want to know more about how women think, the following principles can be the beginning of your quest:
According to Paco Underhill, author of What Women Want, “Women like and appreciate cleanliness. It’s hard-wired. “Clean” and “unclean” register for most women instantaneously. For a majority of the world’s females, ‘am I in a clean environment?’ is an intuition, an undercurrent, a sixth sense, a vibe they pick up about every room in their house, every retail establishment they frequent, every dressing room they try clothing on in, every restaurant they dine in, every hotel room they plunk their suitcase down in, every health club they join, every swimming pool they wade into, and every bathroom they enter.”
For most men, the number one factor of consideration for food is the taste. Whereas for women, it could be something as subtle as whether or not the restaurant has a clean toilet and a hygienic ambience that gives confidence that the food she and her child eat is safe.
Most men are physically stronger, not to mention larger, than the average woman. Thus, females are conscious of their own personal security in ways most males really can’t fathom, whether it’s the lighting levels in the lobby, the burned-out bulb in the parking lot or an apartment or hotel window that isn’t locked, even if it’s twelve feet up from the ground. Women often feel vulnerable. Saftey may or may not be a design function, say, of a retail environment or a hotel, but it is very much a female’s desire to know that she’s safe and sound.
According to Tsang Poh Yi, Head of Etiqa Insurance and a mother, her ‘safety alert mode’ in choosing a parking space is 80% higher when she is alone, avoiding dark corners or blind spots. Tsang’s need for convenience and visibility in the parking lot rises to 101% when she is in the company of her five year old daughter. Safety alert is something unheard of amongst the male species.
The reason why you see more women in cafés as opposed to ‘kopi-tiam’ is because of the sense of being at ease, and not being constantly watched over by men in a male dominated environment.
In Japan, there is no excuse for fathers not to bring their baby daughter to public toilets, simply because most public toilets are equipped with facilities or a special room that allows either parent to assist their child with ease.
A Kuala Lumpur shopping mall’s selling point for women are its extra large parking spaces, one and a-half times the normal size.
Think about the amount of worries and troubles you are lifting off the mothers, by designing ways for fathers to be involved. Consider the details and you could have won over the vote of your female customers for life!
Now more than ever, women are connected with their species, hobby group, shopping partners, friends and family than at any other time. For example, when a woman is shopping alone and spotted an evening gown; she could take a picture with her iPhone, load the image on Facebook and within minutes, receive comments from her peers telling her if the gown suits her eye color or makes her look fat.
Skin Inc, the newly established upscale skin supplement spa in Kiulap, understands the importance of this principle. The company throws private birthday parties for their regular customers, where their clients get to invite two or three of their own friends in an exclusive setting, to enjoy and connect for a few hours.
Amongst the female of the species, news about unfair treatment, a bad experience or an inconsiderate retailer travels as fast, if not faster than the good service you provide or the exclusive sale that is happening around the corner. Together, women vote through their purse and will determine whether or not you will be in business in the next five years. Gentlemen, it is about time you get in touch with your ‘anima’.