Women control most of the corporate and small business spending decisions in the U.S. Women hold 50% of managerial and professional positions. Among them, women ages 50 to 70, whom I call "PrimeTime Women," are in the most senior positions with the most spending authority.
Among women business owners—who have been starting 70% of all small businesses for the last couple of decades—a significant number have exited big corporate jobs to bring their considerable business experience to their own table.
I call them "PrimeTime Women" for two reasons: they are in the prime of their lives; and they are the prime target opportunity for marketers in almost every category. They handle 80% to 85% of the spending decisions for households (and a significant amount in businesses) and are in the peak years of their income, wealth and spending power. PrimeTime Women are different than men and, most importantly, than younger women.
Whether you're targeting these women business owners or merely talking one-on-one, there are must-haves to keep in mind:
- Listen. Recognize that women often communicate via the "story of their lives." She's telling you how she is going to use your product or service, in the context of her business, business needs and the people in her business. You need to listen for cues to her needs, wants and worries.
- Present benefits over features. Present the human benefits, not the product features, in the context of the business needs she has already told you. Don't use the canned pitch. Offer options to consider, with the pros and cons of each, so she can feel that she has a comprehensive grasp of specifics and has done "due diligence."
- Follow-up. Just because she doesn't buy after the first conversation doesn't mean that she is not interested. It probably just means that she's busy. Be sure to follow up in a way that indicates that it's for her benefit, not yours.
- Thank her. Thanking them for their business with something to surprise and delight them will lead to word-of-mouth and positive recommendations to their friends and expanded networks.
- Make it an "event." One specific vehicle that connects with these women is event marketing. These women are in the market for great experiences. Build a fun, educational and social event and they will come.
PrimeTime Women are the healthiest, wealthiest, most active, educated and influential generation of women in history. Your business can't afford to ignore them. Are you ready for prime time?
Marti Barletta is CEO and founder of TrendSight Group, Winnetka, Ill., and author of "Marketing to Women" and "PrimeTime Women." She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.