The female economic opportunity makes sense when you examine the figures from the likes of Boston Consulting, read the countless articles about why, and especially when you do the math and apply it to most businesses. Women are making the decisions, spending the ca$$$$h, and are a more engaged audience as proven by research.
And it has absolutely nothing to do with the age old battle of the sexes.
Certainly it has nothing to do with any misbeliefs that women are trying to be superior, outdo men or reign supreme in any hierarchical way. Instead it is about focussing on the majority spender, not the minority spender. And not broad-brush targetting both genders, but instead following the money.
The dedicated pursuit of the female market has been taken seriously across many categories and industries such as finance, farming and sport/sporting apparel but sadly in many cases it still akin to turning the Titanic with a tugboat.
Traditional male or gender-neutral categories can undertake dedicated strategy to bring about innovation to meet the needs of women, as well as grow their audience. Now that is called serving the majority customer in the right way.
Theodore Levitt, a longtime professor of marketing at Harvard Business School explained his thinking about businesses being there not to make product but to serve customers.
“For companies to ensure continued evolution, they must define their industries broadly to take advantage of growth opportunities. They must ascertain and act on their customers’ needs and desires, not bank on the presumed longevity of their products. An organization must learn to think of itself not as producing goods or services but as doing the things that will make people want to do business with it. And in every case, the chief executive is responsible for creating an environment that reflects this mission.”
The following chart taken from KPMG’s 2016 CEO report reflects the very thing Levitt describes. Customer loyalty will not last if the delivery of service or product is based on functional or rational benefits. Women are changing the global economy, and disruptors are finding it increasingly easier to lure dissatisfied consumers from traditional businesses that have not viewed this through the #femalelens.
So CEO’s women love to love brands and create relationships – so take heed of Levitt’s advice and get in the business of delivering what women want. It’s easy when you know how, but it does take a desire to relearn new ways, engage and show leadership with your teams, and not pink-wash it with tokenism. Worse still, popping a few females in the roles hoping they come with magic wands won’t work either.
The financial upside of Female$ is waiting and it’s not a statement about sexism – it’s simply a matter of smart business.