Lending A Feminine Spin To Your Marketing Strategy
Looking for a fresh idea to serve baby boomer women? Then consider creating an all-volunteer, not-for-profit money club where they can go to discuss personal financial issues.
Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall, financial advisors and co-founders of the Womens Institute for Financial Education, did just that in 2003. The results to date have been eye-catching: Some 40,000 womenmany of them from the far corners of the globeclick on to their Web site, moneyclubs.com, each month.
And what do they discuss?
“We hear a consistent refrain,” says Bahr. “Their biggest concerns are consumer debt, educating children and retirement planning. Those issues typically arent brought up in investment clubs.”
The institutes online initiative, the goal of which is to get 1 million women involved in money clubs nationwide, is founded on a central tenet: Men compete, but women are predisposed to comparing and cooperating when making decisions. So, theyre more inclined than their male counterparts, on average, to seek information and advice on money matters.
To judge by the latest poll numbers, the overwhelming majority of women say they need help. A study released in June by Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial observes that, of 1,134 women surveyed in February 2004, more than 80% require counsel when making financial decisions. And 26% want assistance in almost all areas of financial education.
Underpinning the numbers, says Maria Umbach, a vice president for individual life product marketing at Prudential, is the fact that many more boomer women today are taking responsibility for financial decisions. For example, 92% of Prudentials respondents have sole or joint responsibility for long term care products. Thats up from 66% in 2002 and 60% in 2000.
Likewise, 91% of those polled said they have sole or joint responsibility for annuities, compared to just 60% two years ago. Regarding IRAs, the margin was similarly wide: 95% in 2004, vs. 66% in 2002 and 61% in 2000.
Why the dramatically higher numbers this year?
“One reason is there are a lot more women in the workplace,” says Umbach. “Also, theres been a breakdown in traditional roles, with many women now serving as the partial or sole breadwinner.”