The Most Important Thing Your Business Can Do This Year
By Gerry Myers

Recently Tom Peters’ blog http://tompeters.com/entries.php?note=008456.php posed two simple questions whose answers represent fodder for individuals formulating New Year’s Resolutions. They apply equally as well to businesses formulating their 2006 business strategies:

What's the most important thing you've done in the last year?
What's the most important thing you'll do in the next year?

Tom left it to bloggers to comment on these questions; however, he often pronounces oracular business truths himself. (I’ve been a fan since Tom endorsed a key marketing strategy my company, Advisory Link, http://www.advisorylink-dfw.com, has been promoting for two decades.) As he wrote in Circle of Innovation, “This ‘Women’s Thing’ is …unmistakably, in my opinion…Economic Opportunity No. 1.”

Is this the year marketing to women will become the most important thing your business can do to grow and prosper?  By significantly improving your success in marketing and selling to women, your company can positively impact its bottom line and show a substantial return on your marketing dollars.

In varied industries from retail to professional services, the trend among many companies is to hone in on this lucrative market segment. Consumer electronics giant Best Buy, home improvement rivals Home Depot and Lowes, Harley Davidson, MassMutual Financial Group and Lexus are just a few of the marketing heavyweights who are reaping the rewards of winning women customers.

Whether you’re a small or large business, you need not break the bank or the budget to succeed. Here are some tips to help you focus on the most important thing, women consumers … “Economic Opportunity Number 1” in 2006.

Mine the data of successful marketers.

Businesses that survey women consumers often gain a fresh (and eye-opening) perspective. A Sears’ survey http://www.searsmedia.com/mediatools/specialreports/women/herhomesurvey.htm revealed that if given the choice of an hour of free advice from home-repair pro Bob Vila or popular psychologist Dr. Phil, 63% of women would choose Vila. Market leader Home Depot started offering special classes targeted to women. MassMutual Financial Group presently has 12 external Women’s Advisory Boards across the country to provide them with continual input, and Nike and Jockey have boosted their brands by launching lines for women. Businesses selling any number of products and services can benefit by offering women what they want.

Measure your attitude and aptitude.

While traditional marketing has relied heavily on costly customer surveys, focus groups, readership polls, and other market research, the Internet opens a wealth of free resources to businesses. A case in point, consulting firms such as Advisory Link, specialize in the women’s market and offer expertise and tools to reach this lucrative customer base. An online marketing quiz, http://www.advisorylink-dfw.com, is a good starting point. The Marketing to Women quiz uses your expert knowledge about your business to measure your aptitude with women customers. Does your company acknowledge that there is a difference in marketing and selling to women vs. men? Does your advertising reach and appeal to women? Score yourself on these and other revealing questions and evaluate what you need to improve.

Consult with an expert.

Marketing experts and trendspotters offer helpful insights on the women’s market. Some notable ones:  Faith Popcorn, author of EVEolution: the Eight Truths of Marketing to Women; Deborah Tannen, PhD, Talking from 9 to 5; Gerry Myers, Targeting the New Professional Woman and Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt. Megatrends for Women.  For strategies tailored specifically to your business, consider hiring a consultant with expertise in this market. Companies that complete the Marketing to Women quiz at http://www.advisorylink-dfw.com qualify for a free personal business consultation with professionals who can help map a strategy to market to women.

Take advantage of more free online resources.

Savvy sources of information about women as consumers abound online.

Check out blogs, such as Wonderbranding http://michelemiller.blogs.com/marketing_to_women/, online newsletters, such as MarketingProfs.com http://www.marketingprofs.com/index.asp  and free survey data, such as the Pew research study http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/171/report_display.asp, which highlights gender differences between men and women’s use of the internet.

As you look at your plans for 2006, what’s the most important thing you’ll do in the next year?


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