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Is your business marketing to women in 2016? It better be, they are the world’s next economic powerhouse

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Ignore women at your peril. That’s the message for businesses in 2016, regardless of the product or services they provide.

While China was the last economic boom, the female economy could very well be the next. This is thanks to rising education levels, growing labour force participation and increasing incomes. The global purchasing power of woman has never been greater.

According to Harvard business reports, women represent the largest economy in the world driving 70 to 80 per cent of all consumer purchasing. And as well as doing the day-to-day purchasing, women are now responsible for big-ticket items such as homes, appliances and cars.

Women are influential in more ways than one

What’s interesting is women not only have buying power but they have the influence, which means even when she’s not paying for an item, she often has the final say about the purchase.

So from a business and brand perspective, products and items traditionally made for men now need to be marketed with women in mind as well. However, there are still certain industries where women feel less valued or understood, including the automotive industry.

When we look at cars, for example, two thirds of women are making the decisions and doing the purchasing globally, yet 74 per cent say the car industry does not understand them. This is why, however, Ford has cleverly chosen a female spokesperson in their recent advertising campaign.

So how should your business market to women?

While any business would be wise to market to female customers, there are six key industries that need to market to women effectively: apparel, food, fitness, beauty, financial services and healthcare.

There are a few things businesses need to keep in mind when marketing to women:

Avoid stereotype

About 85 per cent of women don’t recognise themselves in advertising, which is why it’s important to do away with the stereotypes, such as women being portrayed in the domestic sphere.

This is a really limited view, and will therefore have a really limited impact on the intended audience and target market.

Listen more

Brands and business that connect with a female audience are having success because they are listening, and speaking directly to them, not down to them.

By listening to the female market, some brands have also been given permission to champion causes close to their hearts which makes for powerful advertising and marketing campaigns.

That’s why brands such as Nike, for example, have been successful, creating campaigns speaking to women as they really are.

Understand the new generation

If you can tap into marketing to millennial women – a generation of independent, tech and media savvy post-feminist consumers – you could strike up a lasting relationship which is key for success in 2016 and into the future.

Lauren Fried is the Founder/Managing Director of Pulse Marketing, an award-winning Australian advertising agency. Lauren is also a regular panellist on ABC’s Gruen TV show and was recently named as one of Australia’s 50 influential women entrepreneurs. Lauren started her first business more than 10 years ago, and has grown into a successful, award-winning and competitive presence in the marketing and advertising industry, picking up a number of awards and accolades. Lauren has received the prestigious NSW Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year award, as well as numerous national and international business, creative and effectiveness awards. She’s also an Advisory Board Member of Rare Birds, a global organisation and network inspiring women entrepreneurs. She’s a Board Member and regular speaker for the global business network Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs.

Lauren Fried

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