Talking The Talk

By Christopher Zoukis

Another area that is vital to understand when marketing to women is their method of communicating. Women use more detailed and descriptive language, relying on qualifiers, disclaimers, apologies, and explanations. Whereas men prefer to come right to the point, which means men begin at the end. While women start at the beginning and move toward the end.

This means a marketing campaign for women should proceed logically from origin to conclusion. Additionally, research demonstrates that women dislike overly pushy and aggressive marketing. Avoid condescension when marketing to women. They immediately reject it.  Image courtesy

When making investments, women’s attitude toward money is different than men’s. Women exhibit more caution and are uncomfortable with high financial risk. They are, however, more open to accepting investment advice from an expert. Which means women appreciate information when making investment decisions. They want to be included in the process. So rather than giving advice, the seller should make suggestions presented as responses. For example, “You asked me about whether you should sell now rather than sit tight and see what the market does. Let me give you the pros and cons of each position, and then we can discuss it.” This approach includes the female client in the decision making process.

A perfect illustration of how to appeal to the unique psychology of women is BMW. In 1992, BMW noticed an increase in women buyers, which was not BMW’s target market. Their target market was affluent men. Rather than knock on wood and hope women kept buying high-performance luxury cars, BMW took a proactive stance.

For the next two years, BMW evaluated, investigated and researched the BMW brand in relation to women. BMW examined its sales, service, customer service, advertising, dealership environment, and the BMW car itself, all from the perspective of potential affluent women customers. At the end of the study, BMW realized that women presented a vast opportunity.

BMW discovered that affluent women customers meant something else even though they used the same terminology as affluent men. When women talked about safety, they meant kid-safe vehicles with air-bags and anti-lock brakes. When men talked about safety, they meant responsiveness and handling characteristics of the car at high-speeds.

BMW also discovered that affluent women had definite ideas about what they wanted and did not want in a luxury car. When asked, women gave BMW their opinions. Men were less inclined to speak about such matters. BMW listened to their affluent women customers and made changes in the car, along with environmental changes in the dealerships and in the sales techniques of salesmen. Not only was the placement of stereo control buttons changed, but also promotional brochures. The result? More satisfied customers, male and female. Along with a 7% increase in affluent women car buyers, which was unprecedented and much higher than other car manufacturers.

The selling and marketing of beauty to affluent women customers is a niche market with tremendous potential. Beauty can be packaged as an idea and sold.

Affluent women want a better version of themselves. They are looking for luxury products and services that will transform them without having to go through Botox treatments or plastic surgery. They are looking for luxury products that include lip plumping, teeth whitening, spray tanning, anti-aging hand lotions, nail whiteners and nail strengtheners. They also desire “healthy” and organic foods, massages, and yoga.

Translating this into marketing means the seller should offer “transforming” products. Focus on explaining how services and products impact and improve health. Work with other sellers on “package deals,” such as massages and moisturizing lotions.

Most affluent women customers shop for beauty products when they run out. Since most women shop for luxury beauty products in stores, this is the perfect time to present them with something new. Advertise discounted prices to attract them. Make sure test samples are available, because just like cars, women prefer to test-drive first. Communicate how the offered product will make life easier. Retail displays should be simple, accessible, and organized. Offer a variety of luxury products, which provides one-stop shopping.

According to Diane Warga-Arias, marketing to affluent women customers includes three distinct types of luxury buyers. Trendsetters make up the first type. These women read upscale magazines, monitor blogs, and online websites, staying ahead of the crowd. They are aware of what’s new and in vogue. Winners are the second type. They reward themselves by making luxury purchases, often to commemorate some recent event. The third type of affluent buyer is the connoisseur. Connoisseurs depend on research, professionals, and specialists for direction in making their purchases.

Customized marketing is necessary to appeal to each of these luxury buyers. Marketing strategy for trendsetters includes a strong visual message, unencumbered by particulars, and simple contact information, such as a website address. For the winners, marketing should be unexpected and portray a winning yet independent message. Strong stories and event sponsorships work well. Marketing to connoisseurs involves product reviews in upscale consumer reports.

Affluent women customers purchase luxury clothing, jewelry, and accessories. These items are part of the beauty package. Often, success is in the simplest of details. Jewelers wishing to appeal to affluent women customers should have full-length mirrors situated throughout their stores. Why? Because women buy luxury accessories to accompany “a look.” They need to be able to see how everything goes together. This would also be the perfect location for the seller of luxury hand lotions to place samples. That way, potential customers could try the lotion or cream while trying on jewelry.

Collectors Universe suggests that sellers of any luxury service or product could take affluent women customers to lunch. Why? Because affluent women expect to be indulged. Or perhaps form a committee composed of affluent women, who gather over a gourmet lunch, which would allow for networking, which would lead to word-of-mouth referrals.

In conclusion, affluent women customers are influenced by and respond to marketing targeted at them. Not only does such marketing affirm them as individuals, but it also recognizes them as a powerful buying source. One-size-fits-all marketing is obsolete, a waste of time, and a mishandling of advertising capital. In simple terms, it does not work.


Clive Christian PLC

1 Pillory Street

Nantwich, Cheshire

CW5 5BZ United Kingdom

Our marketing philosophy at Clive’s would be best described by the notion of nonchalant. It is what I describe as reverse marketing. Reverse marketing is, for lack of a more propitious phrase, where one markets by seeming not to market. One might actually refer to it as anti-marketing. Here at Clive, we view anti-marketing as the future of marketing.

We don’t want the customer to be conscious of us as one of the weary brands, which are the ones everyone hears of constantly. Rather, we want our clientele to have already heard of Clive by word of mouth from a chum. We want them to inquire of the shopkeeper. “Do you have No. 1?” In that manner, when they purchase our No. 1 fragrance at say Harrad’s, they feel as if they are part of a small, very erudite, very elite club. Elite, private and exclusive.

No. 1 is available at the finest places. Bergdorf Goodman, Fortnum & Mason, Harrads, Neiman Marcus, Paris Gallery, and House of Fraser. Each is handed a slicky by the Clive agent. The slicky is a plain black brochure with No. 1 printed on it. That’s all. No contact information. When our agent comes back round, they positively trip over him trying to order No. 1. Demand for No. 1 is presently mighty. Which is somewhat worrisome, as we do not want No. 1 to become mundane.

Likewise with our website presence. It is most definitely not an advertisement. Strictly a presence. Clive exists, but only for those of wealth and discrimination. Plenty of advisement preceded this notion of nonchalance, I might add. It was a planned campaign, carefully implemented. We tend to it and remain ready to jump in a new direction.