Women in Charge: The Rising Power of the Female Consumer

In this post, DIY Marketers takes a look at the challenge and opportunities of marketing to women, the largest and most influential audience that your business can market to. As this Forbes article points out, women are the dominant influencers and shoppers in the market holding trillions of dollars in purchasing power and assets. This power and influence makes women the likely target of many of your marketing campaigns, even if you don’t realize it.

Tailoring your marketing for the female consumer isn’t easy. The consumer group of “women” isn’t one large group of individuals with the same characteristic. Women are a diverse, dynamic, and complex group. This diversity provides opportunity, but also presents a challenge: How do you market to such a large group of powerful, complex, and diverse group as this?

While no marketing article (certainly not this one) can give you a specific answer, you can get some perspective. To that end, the following list of seven books may be able to help. Each of these seven books provide some insight into strategies and insight gained from experts who have successfully marketed to women. Their insight might be able to help you.

Woman sitting in a couch under spotlight

7 Essential Books to Help Your Business Market to Women

Marketing to Women: How to Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market by Marti Barletta

Marketing to Women book coverOur first book takes a rather broad look at marketing to women with “How to Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market” by Marti Barletta. In this book, Marti Barletta helps readers understand the power and the key unique characteristics of marketing to women. Barletta then provides a marketing framework to help readers assess and improve their marketing focused on female consumers.

Of particular note, is what the author calls the marketing “Marketers Golden Bull’s Eye”, the marketing category of women aged 50 and up who will control and inherit the largest transfer of wealth in history. Barletta urges readers to get ahead of this unique time in history take advantage with smart, multi-dimensional marketing. Her book provides a roadmap for marking that happen.

Ideal for: Business owners who want to improve their marketing strategies focused on women, especially those who want to leverage the marketing potential of women born during the Baby Boomer generation



Marketing to PrimeTime Women: How to Attract, Convert, and Keep Boomer Big Spenders by Marti Barletta

Marketing to PrimeTime Women

Continuing the theme of targeting the wealthiest and most influential group of women in history, Marti Barletta (who also wrote “Marketing to Women”) shines a spotlight on how to market to the “Golden Purse”, women born during the Baby Boomer generation will inherit an unprecedented amount of power.

As Barletta points out, the uniqueness of women born in the Baby Generation isn’t just the money. Female Baby Boomers are socially, politically, and physically active in ways that their ancestors have never dreamed of. Some are retiring, others are launching second careers. They are making decisions that shape our economy. This new world overturns the traditional stereotype of the 50 or 60-year old, presenting a different challenge for marketers focusing on older-aged women.

If you are looking to reach out to women 50 years and older, this book provides tools and strategies to help business owners tap into the “Golden Purse” market and build a relationship with one of the most economically powerful groups of women in history.

Ideal for: Business owners who have read “Marketing to PrimeTime Women: How to Attract, Convert, and Keep Boomer Big Spenders” but need more detailed insight on how to target women above the age of 50

Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers by  Bridget Brennan

Why She Buys book coveMarketing strategies and tactics are important, but marketers must understand something more important first, their customer’s mindset. In “Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers”, Bridget Brennan shares her insight, market research, and experience as CEO of a market research and sales training agency focused on helping businesses understand women.

Bridget takes a globally comprehensive view in response to the question, “Why did she buy that/” As Bridget shares, gender is often an afterthought when we consider what consumers buy. Because many businesses make this mistakes, they often miss the mark when trying to reach out to their female consumers.

Bridget hopes to fix that problem. In “Why She Buys” starts from discussion about differences between men and women and how that affects the buying process to a look at the global trends that are shaping how businesses interact with women.

Ideal for:Data oriented marketers who want to improve their understanding of what’s going on beyond the data and use that knowledge to improve their marketing for the future

What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It by Mary Lou Quinlan

What She's Not Telling You book coverA lot of the activities in marketing are based on what customers tell you. In What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It, author Mary Lou Quinlan (known as the “Oprah of Wall Street”) focuses on what your female customers don’t tell you.

Women, the author argues, aren’t as as straightforward and honest about their shopping preferences and behavior as many think.These “half-truths”, whether they are intentional or not, challenge the feedback that many businesses rely on for marketing decisions. As a result, businesses lose money in  misguided thinking leading to failed campaigns and marketing efforts

“What She’s Not Telling You” hopes to help business owners identify and confront those “half-truths”. Mary Lou explores what motivates women to tell “half-truths” and provides strategies for business to reach what Mary Lou Quinlan calls ” Whole Truth” marketing.

Ideal for: Marketers who had failed marketing campaigns targeted to women or marketers who are looking to gain a more comprehensive perspective of buying psychology when marketing to women

Marketing to the Millennial Women by Ann Arnof Fishman

Marketing to the Millennial WomanIn the first few books on this list, we covered marketing to women from the Baby Boomer generation and the potential impact they can have on the world. It’s time to focus on another history-making generation of women, Millennials.

Millennials, born between 1982 and 1999, present an entirely different marketing challenge than Baby Boomers. They will be the largest generation the United States has ever had.While their large numbers make them a promising marketing target, their contradictions makes them hard to figure out. Caught between two generations, Millennial embody a reality that strongly accepts entrepreneurship, financial stability, and family-life balance as viable goals all at the same time. It’s a world of side hustles, FOMO (fear of missing out, and selfies.

Understanding how to navigate this confusing maze of Millennial interests is the function of “Marketing to the Millennial Woman”. In the book, author Ann Fishman finds the commonalities between the diverse interests of Millennial women. In particular, she focuses on the big influencers on your business’ marketing and advertising. (Hint: You have less time than ever to make an impression!)

Ideal for: Businesses targeting Millennials and need a basic foundation for understanding the “How do I market to Millennials?” question.

Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market by by Michael J. Silverstein,‎ Kate Sayre,‎ and John Butman 

Women Want More book coverLike the book “What’s She’s Not Telling You” mentioned above, this book looks at the data to understand how marketers can better target and connect with their female consumers. “Women Want More”, however, focuses more on applying that knowledge in specific categories and situations

“Women Want More” starts off with a general look at the role of women in economy. The book then looks at women’s needs and interests within categories. This is important because many marketers often forget that women’s interests are more nuanced than they expect.

Understanding this nuance within your product or service’s category is the key to helping your brand stand out. It isn’t enough for a brand to find and target women that might be a good fit for your business. Your business must connect with a particular group (or groups) of women. From there, your business needs to position your business’ unique product or service within a category that fulfills a need for women. That is how your business provides more. As the book points out…women want more.

Ideal For: Marketers who want a deeper understanding of women’s role in the economy and the role of categories in that economy

Why Marketing to Women Doesn’t Work: Using Market Segmentation to Understand Consumer Needs by Jenny Darrooch

Why Marketing to Women Doesn't WorkIt’s only natural to consider the opposing view in this conversation about marketing and women. For that we turn to “Why Marketing to Women Doesn’t Work”, which argues that marketing focused on gender does not work.

Instead, marketing focusing on the behavior, gets results.

While the book doesn’t discount the differences between men and women, the book argues that these differences aren’t as simple as they might appear. Marketing to women isn’t as easy as changing a product’s color or label. It involves a more detailed understanding of how and why your customers behave. It’s about leveraging psychology, instead of just demographics.

:Why Marketing to Doesn’t Work” explores why businesses have so often failed in the past when they tried to market solely based on simple demographics, like gender. It offers tools to help your business understand their customer and develop a stronger (and more informed) marketing strategy.

Ideal For: Marketers who are no achieving results using demographics such as gender, age, or location and need a better framework to market to women  

Understanding, Not Numbers, is the Key to Marketing to Women

In looking over the books on this list, two things become evident:

  1. Women are a powerful and influential consumer group
  2. Marketing to women involves understanding what women want and need from your product

As many of the books on this list point out, many businesses have failed when it comes to marketing to women. They targeted the category, not the needs and wants of women who would be a great fit for their brand. In this already-crowded, global marketplace, your business can’t make that same mistake. If your business wants to reach the larger and incredibly powerful group of consumers known as women, your business will need a better understanding of the women who use (or could use) your business’ unique product or service.

The books in this list should help your business take the first steps to marketing smarter to women. Take a look and use these books to create a marketing strategy can use to reach your special group of consumers out of the most economically powerful and influential groups that the world has ever known.