Moving on from Soccer Moms, Marketers Discover the Benefits of Targeting Single Women

Marketing to Women: Addressing Women and Women's Sensibilities, May 2007 | Go to article overview

Moving on from Soccer Moms, Marketers Discover the Benefits of Targeting Single Women


The ad depicts a classic moment in Americana--a family moving into a new home. A child plays amid the boxes. Mom directs the unpacking. There's just one familiar element missing from this scene: Dad.

This is "Single Mom," one of the latest ads from Century 21. The spot is one in a series designed to reach out to niches in the real estate market, from empty nesters to new immigrants to suburban power couples. The ads are critical to reflecting the diversity in the Century 21 marketplace, says John Greenleaf, SVP-Mmarketing for Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

For many firms "diversity" now encompasses single women.

Long focused on married women, marketers are discovering the payoff of targeting single women. For generations the single woman was brushed aside by marketers as either economically disadvantaged or just passing time until she could get married. Today, experts say, single woman have emerged as an individual niche.

The numbers paint a compelling picture. The U.S Census shows more than half the adult women in America are living without a spouse--more than double the percentage 20 years ago. More than half of single women own their own homes. In its report, "The Solo Female Consumer Market" research firm Packaged Facts finds solo women often show upscale tastes, preferring the premium class of compact autos and opting to buy jewelry as a "me" gift.

More marketers are taking note:

* Housing. More women are entering the real estate market as solo buyers. To reach them, companies are engaging in a variety of tactics. Home Depot launched "Do It Herself" in-store events to attract female homeowners. Developers are tweaking their designs to reach out to women. One Southern California home builder created design features specifically to appeal to the single woman buyer, including smaller units, gated access and fitness facilities, says Rachel Bogardus Drew in her report "Buying For Themselves: An Analysis of Unmarried Female Home Buyers. "Not only are unmarried women a large segment of the home buying population, but they are fast-growing, too, increasing their share of home buyers by 50% in eight years," she says. Last year, new home sales to single women made up 21% of total home sales.

* Advertising. Commercials are starting to show women in roles other than Soccer Mom. One ad that caught the attention of many last summer was for the Ford Freestyle SUV. The ad depicted a family outing, but ended with Dad being dropped off. He thanks the woman driver--who we now surmise is his ex-wife--for inviting him along on the outing. And the SUV pulls away into the sunset with a single woman at the wheel. This was not Ford's first pitch to unmarried women. The marketing campaign for the Ford Fusion emphasized the life of a single girl with experiential marketing that included makeovers and speed dating sessions. …

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