What Are Your Thoughts That "Women Make 80% of all Buying Decisions” Argument? - Tony M, Canada

But don’t start looking for a media delivery vehicle that ‘targets’ women. You will fail. Forget the media. Focus on the message.

Tony, I will give you my personal thoughts,

an expert opinion,

a scientific theory on why (a little tongue in check),

an example of how marketing to women added $975,000 in one year to top line sales of one of my clients,

and my final conclusion.

1. My personal thoughts

Angela, the Princess of Australia, suggested we needed to stamp our personality on our house. What I heard was a four-letter word, "work." This found me buying paint and floor coverings and curtains. I was the face the shop owners saw. My name was on the credit card. But, the Princess made the decision to renovate.

Tony, in my world 80% is close to correct. :-)

2. An expert opinion

But I figure you want scientific data rather than my personal experience. So, I called my business partner Michele Miller.

Michele with Holly Buchanan wrote the definitive book on marketing to women. The SOCCER MOM MYTH - Today's Female Consumer: Who She Really is, Why She Really Buys.

Michele wrote the follow-up book, 'Unzipped a portable guide to the anatomy of the female customer.'

Michele shared the figures from the American National Retail Federation. Their report says Women as Consumers or Influencers affect 83 cents of every dollar spent. They also break it down by category:

  • 83% of all consumer purchases
  • 94% of home furnishings
  • 91% of new homes
  • 50% of do-it-yourself purchases
  • 52% of consumer electronics
  • 60% of automobiles
  • 89% of new bank accounts
  • 80% of healthcare
  • A few quick Google searches come up with similar figures.

So, again 80% gets a yes.

But, is this a new phenomenon?

3. A theory on why (it's in our DNA)

*Steve Taylor Ph.D. is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University. He wrote an interesting article, Why Men Don't Like Shopping and (Most) Women Do: The origins of our attitudes toward shopping.

Steve wrote that back when our ancestors lived roughly, hunting was the man's job. Gathering all the other food was the woman's job. "... women were the main "breadwinners" in hunter-gatherer groups. Anthropologists estimate that women’s gathering provided around 80-90 percent of groups' food..." 

Women did most of the work and provided most of the food!

Steve goes on to say,

**"In 2009, anthropologists Kruger and Byker found very clear similarities between modern men and women's shopping habits and our hunter-gatherer past. They found that women "scored higher on skills and behaviors associated with gathering, even though the environment and the objects being gathered have changed... Men scored higher on skills and behaviors associated with hunting." They found that women were more inclined to spend extended time browsing around shopping malls, while men more inclined to buy what they needed and then leave straight away."

So according to science if the Stone Age had shopping centres and online shopping, women would bring home 80% of the stuff needed for the family to survive.

And according to science, most men suck at shopping because of our DNA!

4. An example of how marketing to women added $975,000 in one year to top line sales of one of my clients.

11 years ago, Ric from The Tint Professor came to me with a problem. His sales had flattened. When I looked at his advertising message, I found it spoke only to young hairy males.

Knowing that women make or influence 80% of all buying decisions I changed the message. We spoke to women, about what matters to women. Here is one ad we ran in that first year.

5:35 am… the alarm throws rocks at your head… wake up!

In the pre-dawn, you cut lunches for 3…

You buckle the kids in the family chariot… stop at the school gate… battle a torrent of traffic… discover a car park… sprint to work… it’s only 8:56 am…

Hi… I’m Rick the Tint Professor…

Your time is precious…

That’s why when you need window tinting… the Tint Professor comes to you…

While you work… we tint and pamper your car…

It’s a little thing… but we hope it helps…

Sales jumped $975,000 that first year and continued to grow in the many years after. We used the same media. All that changed was the message.

5. My conclusion

Tony, it doesn't matter if 80% is an accurate number or not. It could be 70%, 63%, 50% or 40%. The important point is your marketing needs to be relevant to both women and men.

Speak to women about what matters to women in your copy, and watch your sales grow. Simple. But not easy. Read Michele's books, they'll get you up to speed.

But don't start looking for a media delivery vehicle that 'targets' women. You will fail. Forget the media. Focus on the message.

Craig Arthur

Wizard of Ads Australia

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* Steve Taylor, Ph.D. is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author ofThe Fall: The Insanity of the Ego in Human History 

**Daniel Kruger and Dreyson Byker. 2009. "Evolved Foraging Psychology Underlies Sex Differences in Shopping Experiences and Behaviors." Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 315-327.