Testing Your "Women IQ"
By Gerry Myers

The importance of the women's market to every industry has been well documented by numerous sources including Tom Peters and Faith Popcorn. It is time to take stock of what you and your staff know about women customers and what you don't. And then develop sales and marketing strategies that will help you capture this powerful market.

To help you better access this, answer each of the following questions with
Men or Women.

1. Who are more loyal customers?
2. Who talk more about their feelings and buying experiences?
3. Who sees money as status?
4. Who are more confrontational?
5. Who are more sensitive to their treatment?
6. Who are better listeners?
7. Who needs more private time or their space?
8. Who tells more stories and jokes?
9. Who are more apologetic?
10. Who seeks approval from others more frequently?
11. Who tries to win by intimidation?
12. Who worries more?

The answer to questions 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 12 is women.

Now let's change directions slightly and focus on your marketing strategies. What are you doing to market more successfully to women? If you are grappling with what to do, you aren't alone. Many companies debate whether women need specially designed products and targeted marketing programs. Guessing wrong on marketing to women can be costly. While women don't want to be segmented out and catered to in an overt manner, they do perceive things differently and do have different wants and needs than men. Being able to walk the gender-sensitive tight rope successfully takes skill, information and innovation.

To discover how in tune your organization is to the women's market, answer Yes or No to each of the following questions:

1. Does your business make marketing to women a priority?
2. Do you have specific programs in place?
3. Do you have access to up-to-date information on women in order to stay ahead of the competition, as well as the trends?
4. Do you provide training on the women's market to your sales and service staff in order for them to better serve female customers?
5. Have you hired consultants in other areas, but no one who specializes in marketing and selling to women?
6. Is recruiting and retaining qualified women a priority?
7. Are women well represented in your sales force? In other areas within the company?
8. Does your advertising appeal to or turn women off?
9. Does your organization support women's issues and organizations?
10. Does top management support efforts to market and sell more effectively to women?

If you answered No to more than two questions, you might want to rethink some of your policies, procedures and priorities. While all the questions are important, the last one really holds the key to success. Without management support, the staff will never be able to fully capitalize on the enormous potential women afford them financially. After all, if you know there are differences and you aren't doing anything about it, it won't be long before your competition seizes the opportunity and wins this lucrative market segment.


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