Marketing to Women: The Banks' Most Important Customers
Barletta, Martha, ABA Bank Marketing
Martha Barletta is president of The TrendSight Group and author of the newly released book, "Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment" (Dearborn Trade Publishing).
Q:. Why are women important to the financial services industry?
A: Because with the economy as tight as it is, and financial services competition increasing astronomically over the past five years, firms need to market smarter if they want to survive, let alone thrive and gain a competitive edge. And the best way to do that is to focus in on their key customers, and develop harder-working marketing communications that are more effective in creating awareness, preference and action.
Q: Are you saying woman are key customers?
A: There's no question about it. They make the decisions in almost every aspect of the business: Women handle checking accounts in 85 percent of households; credit cards are carried by 76 million women, compared to 68 million men; women buy 68 percent of all new cars in the United States; women have sole or joint ownership in 87 percent of U.S. homes owned; women own 40 percent of all small businesses and account for 70 percent of entrepreneurial start-ups over the past decade, women already control over half of U.S. wealth today. By 2019, The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates women will account for fully two-thirds of wealthy Americans (available investment assets of $500,000 or more).
Q: A loan is a loan, a fund is a fund: Why do we need to market differently to women?
A: Because (brace yourself) men and women are different! And I'm saying that based not on stereotypes or anecdotal observation, but rather on thousands of statistically significant findings over the past 20 years in fields like anthropology, brain structure, human development and psychology. Put it all together, and you get a picture of a female gender culture that is really quite different from male culture. Not only that, but the differences are concentrated right at the heart of marketing--how she sees herself and her life, what matters most to her, what goes into making a major decision, and what communication patterns she uses and responds to.
Think about it: If you were introducing a product in a country with another culture, you would tailor your message, language, visuals and media choices to work within that culture, right? …