The study, "Girls Just Wanna Have Funds," was the fourth of Oxygen's "Women's Watch" series to be headed by the network's VP-research, Karen Ramspacher. It was during the focus groups with women from various demographics that Ms. Ramspacher first began to realize financial-services messaging's lack of effectiveness on female audiences.
'No home runs'
"There weren't any ads they could remember. We had to spark their memories and show them different ads," she said. "But when we talked about advertising in general, really what we found was there's no home runs in the financial-services category."
Reaching women is of particular importance since the study found that 62% of women consider themselves to be the financial head of their households. Additionally, nine out of 10 women who are married or living with a significant other said they were decision makers when it comes to finances.
Financial marketers "are missing out on a great opportunity," Ms. Ramspacher said. "Obviously, women are so influential and do not feel spoken to. It's clear from the numbers they're open to [all the ads] -- it's not like they hate them. They're saying, 'We want to learn about this, talk to us in a way that's humorous, relevant, in a way that makes it fun.'"
No need to speak pink
But women don't like to be belittled, either. "There's this whole theory about whether you need to speak to women in pink -- you don't need to," Ms. Ramspacher said. "You need to talk to them as equals but you also need to reduce the jargon. Financial categories are known for keeping their own money-speak. [Women] would prefer you lay out the deal in fine English. It's a little bit like you have something to hide if you're speaking in the category language."
Although more married women said they were in charge of their financial decisions, single women are of particular importance for advertisers to get to know better, Ms. Ramspacher added. "Younger women are a huge opportunity. As we've seen in this study, they're more open-minded to receiving this [information.]"
Of course, any study from the network responsible for "The Bad Girls' Club" and "Girls Behaving Badly" wouldn't be complete without a cheeky question or two. In the booty department, 75% of women said they'd rather have big financial assets than in the posterior region. And when it comes to beauty makeovers, 64% of women would rather have a financial overhaul. "Beauty makeovers are all over TV and magazines, but women like [financial] stuff just as much."