Friday, November 18, 2011

What women want to know.

         If you are an entrepreneur at heart, you know that the path to success is understanding your customer well enough to satisfy her unmet needs. But what are those unmet needs that women say are highest on their list?

         Some of the answers are dealt with in depth in "Women Want More", the informative book by Michael J. Silverman and Kate Sayre of the Boston Consulting Group. Their source is mainly a survey of 11,747 women. Here's what they learned.

          To begin, women have serious dissatisfaction in their role as customers. The worst categories are investments (47% dissatisfied); cars (47%); banking (46%); life insurance (44%); physicians (41%); and car insurance (39%). These are huge numbers.

          Next, there are categories where women are perfectly willing to pay top dollar for better products and services: food (23%); personal clothing (16%); facial skincare (18%); bedding (14%); and perfume (17%). The key, of course, is what does "better" mean.

          Before you set out to explore that question, there are major, overriding things that women want, according to the survey, and we marketers better listen.

          First, they want love and connection. That includes a lasting romantic relationship; trust and commitment in a partner; connection with family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.

          Second, they want fulfillment. Freedom to pursue happiness and satisfaction, however they choose; empowerment; flexibility; and encouragement to achieve.

          Third, they're concerned about money as a marker. That includes increasing expectations about being valued; skepticism about claims; wanting more information and guidance about money.

          Fourth, women surveyed want a balance of life and work. They've learned by watching men. They're time-stressed and looking for ways to get leverage. Women are taking on more and they're worried about making it all happen.

          Those are the marketing clues of the day. If you can help in a meaningful and value-conscious way, you'll have a chance to make a difference and maybe get rich. And  by the way, if you think women need a lot, be assured today's men need a whole lot more.

          Where do you start? By listening. That's probably what women want more than anything.

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