Selling To Women Understand Generational Differences
By Ann Arnof Fishman
Whether youre targeting one or several of the six generations of female consumers out there today, you need to be nearly as much a sociologist as a financial advisor or insurance expert in order to succeed.
In a marketplace where the consumer is kingor rather queen, since women make about 80% of purchasesunderstanding the fundamental needs, values, icons and historical experiences of the various generations of women to whom we hope to market is more critical than ever. Generational mindsets and feelings are major factors in determining what and how women buy and therefore in developing an effective marketing strategy.
And, since we are each members of our own generations, and our world views tend to be colored by our own experiences, we have to work at understanding the feelings and behaviors of those from other age groups.
Each generation is molded by the world events that occur during its formative years. If you lived through the Great Depression, you carry some mark of that experience. You save; you may be thrifty. If you lived through the Vietnam War, it almost certainly affected your view of authority.
These distinct historical experiences create characteristics that stay with people throughout the rest of their lives.
So now, lets translate generational characteristics into good marketing. How does each generation of American women want to be approached by you? What does she expect from her financial or insurance advisor? Heres a snapshot of each generation.
GI Generation women (80-103) were underestimated as leaders. During World War II, these “Rosie the Riveters” jumped into the work force, managed families, joined the war effort, and waited, waited, waitednever knowing whether loved ones were dead or alive. Today, theyre still as active as they can be.
To market to GI Generation women:
–Talk about your companys history. GIs feel more comfortable buying from an established institution.
–Spend time with them; elders may be isolated and lonely.
–Send them written information; this is probably Americas most literate generation.
Put it all together for them. GIs invented Readers Digest, Disneyworld, Sun City and vacation bus tours. Packaging still works with this group.
Silent Generation women (62-79), a generation identified by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, started the womens rights movement, helped start the civil rights movement and are pioneers once again–this time in redefining aging.
To market to Silent Generation women:
–Talk life stage, NEVER age. Silent women see themselves as 15 years younger than their chronological age. They are vital and active and dont want to be stereotyped by age.
–Show them how your products can support a lifestyle that offers “soft” adventure, adventure without risk. Many Silents are afraid life is passing them by.
–Let them know about any awards you or your company has won. Silents respect expertise.
–Support their philanthropic endeavors with your money and your presence. Silents turn to their own kind, people who are helpers.
–Be part of their financial support system. Single Silent women look to you for that.
Busy Baby Boomer women (44-61) expect to be fast trackers at work, find personal fulfillment, handle aging parents and children, and lead the good life. They are overloaded, overworked and filled with high expectations.
To market to Baby Boomer women, remember that:
–Boomers are busy people. What can your product or service do to make their lives easier? Is your marketing outreach easy to grasp?