By Jim Gilmartin (President, Coming of Age)
According to a new Nielsen study “Women of Tomorrow: U.S. Multicultural Insights”, women are the world’s most powerful single demographic. They control the majority of household spending decisions, their influence is growing, and they are increasingly exercising this new-found power in a variety of ways.

From 21 countries, representing 60% of the world’s population and 78% of GDP, there is one very positive commonality: women believe their roles are changing for the better.

As overall consumer demand shrinks and companies look for new segments of growth, the multicultural female consumer represents a significant opportunity now and in the long term. The report provides good insights into understanding the needs of multicultural women and is applicable to women of all stages of life. However, the most powerful gender is the women between 50 and 70 years of age.

In her book, Prime Time Women, Marti Barletta discusses the “Power of the Prime Time Purse.” She admits, “My ill-informed assumptions would have been that ‘old folks’ didn’t have much money, and middle-aged women didn’t have much moxie. Shame on me.” She goes on to say “they are the prime target opportunity for marketers in almost every category.”

“I’m in charge!” “Connect with me!” If you’re not hearing this, you aren’t listening.

Women are the world’s largest economy

  • Annual spending power – $2.1 trillion
  • All consumer purchases – 83%
  • Home furnishings – 94%
  • Houses – 91%
    Consumer electronics – 51%
  • Health care – 80% of decisions and 2/3 of spending
  • And businesswomen control significant purse strings and women-owned business = 40% of all U.S. companies.

To be successful in older female customer marketing and sales, show you understand in what circumstances woman appreciate being treated differently. Knowledge gives you the confidence to create successful sales communications approaches:

  • Understand better who women are and why women are worthwhile customers
  • Understand the why of selling differently to women
  • Understand what actionable tactics are available
  • Challenge your thinking to blast you out of the cave
  • Realize that different is not dumb

Men’s selling typically doesn’t work with women. There are clear gender-based differences in perceptions, attitudes and communications styles. Women have a very different set of priorities, preferences and attitudes and they respond differently to media, messages, language and visuals. And women deliver profit in two ways, loyalty and referrals. You also get two satisfied customers for the price of one. Women have higher expectations and, if you meet them, you’ll fulfill the demands of men.

Woman need to connect, and deciding factors are related to biology and evolution. They are wired differently and have better intuition and integration skills. Women experience greater intensity that is expressed more often and articulate feelings better. Titillate emotions – stories do this best. Barletta says, “Women are more people oriented; they like talking. They build bonds with people.”

  • Men – do stuff together and side with the law
  • Women – side with the person
  • Men – here are the rules – Truth, Justice and American way
  • Women – “it depends”

According to Barbara and Allan Pease, gender differences have significant implications for marketing and sales.

“A woman knows her children’s friends, hopes, dreams, romances, secret fears, what they are thinking, how they are feeling. Men are vaguely aware of some short people also living in the house.”

“Men and women don’t think the same way, don’t communicate the same way, don’t buy for the same reasons,” says trendspotter Faith Popcorn. “He simply wants the transaction to take place. She’s interested in creating a relationship. Every place women go, they make connections.”

Become a Gateway to Desired Female Customer Experiences. The way a woman shops when she is 18 years old is the same way she is going to shop when she is 43 years old and older. It is a lifelong mind-set. However, there are clear gender differences – Don’t Jump to Conclusions.

Rebecca Maddox says, “To be successful with women, it’s not enough to be good at your job. You also have to be good as a person. This means being honest, being authentic, having integrity and consistently doing the right thing. The way most organizations are accustomed to selling is not in sync with the way most women want to buy. And nowhere does an organization reveal its attitude towards women more vividly than in the behavior of its sales force.”

This post was originally posted at Engage: Boomers.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr.