Changing Needs Define Approach To Womens Market
A marketing strategy that targets women should include sub-strategies based on the various stages of a womans life, according to interviews with National Underwriter.
Because no one characteristic is true of all or even most women, companies find it more strategically advantageous to market financial services to womens needs at different points in their lives rather than focus on a specific trait, priority or reality that might be true of one woman, but not another.
A woman who is pregnant has a different life insurance need than a woman who has children in college, says Karen Noel, associate advertising director, State Farm, Bloomington, Ill. The company uses different ads and media placement for targeting single mothers, mothers with teen-age children, mothers with college-age children and so on.
“All women need the products we offer,” Noel says. What State Farm focuses on is “how do we reach them at the best time.”
“We respect women whatever stage theyre in, we know theyre juggling a lot and their time is important.” The message State Farm wants to send is “heres how we can help you during this life stage youre in.”
State Farm assumes its would-be women clients have much to do in their daily lives, so it keeps its financial services messages simple, Noel says. This helps the company stand out from other print and TV ads, she says.
“It gets so confusing people may block ads out,” Noel says. “We hope our ads make it easier for them so they dont feel this is way too complicated, I cant invest. “
For example, State Farm runs an ad that says a client can open a mutual fund with $50 a month, Noel says. The message is “we can help you easily to start saving and meet your financial goals.”
State Farm also emphasizes the positive side of saving and insurance protection in its ads targeted at women, she says. Rather than use scare tactics, the company shows a couple vacationing or something similar, Noel says.
“We show that they get to take that great trip theyve been saving for rather than gloom and doom, like youll need a second job if you dont save, ” she says.
John Hancock Inc., Boston, also takes a needs-based approach in its advertising, says Lisa Scannell, general director, advertising and marketing services.
“Our strategy is to show that we understand the various situations people face,” she says. “We try to depict real-life situations and be inclusive.”
Susan McGory, chief operating officer at CNA Life and Long Term Care, Chicago, says CNA doesnt have a codified philosophy on targeting women, other than being in the right place in order to get its message across.
The message CNA tries to convey to women is that “women more times than not end up being in the role of caretaker, whether of children, parents or extended family,” she says. “And more and more women are the predominant financial provider as well as the caretaker.”
It is CNAs objective to help women understand how to prepare financially for these roles throughout their lifetime, McGory says.