By now, every marketer knows that women are the CIOs of purchasing decisions, i.e., not only are women key decision-makers on most household purchases, but they are also major influencers in buying decisions for both men's and women's products. For apparel retailers, the million-dollar question becomes: should they market to women's desires or insecurities? The answer is both.
Every man and woman has his or her insecurities - a large number of ultra-luxurious sports cars, particularly convertibles, is owned by boomer men who are trying to compensate for their loss of youth and vitality. For women, who spend hundreds of dollars on workout clothes, they are not just fulfilling their desires to look good, but they want to look even better in clothes they wear while sweating - sports bras, yoga pants and skin-tight tanks. Successful exercise-wear and yoga-apparel retailers capitalize on women's insecurities by providing workout gear that women can feel stylish in - even when they're perspiring.
A lot of retailers make a mistake thinking that women want to impress men. But successful retailers such as Lululemon understand that women want to look good to impress other women instead of men, both inside and outside the gym. According to The Huffington Post Canada, a poll of British women conducted last summer supports the claim that they care far less about impressing the men in their lives with their sartorial decisions. Instead, they dress up - or down - for the ladies.
But in this 21st century when a lot of women out-earn their male counterparts, marketers also strategically target independent, self-sufficient women. Earlier this year, both Citibank and Honda launched major ad campaigns that explicitly pointed to the demographic's financial successes and increasing independence. The new ads sell women the objects of desire they can now afford by presenting the big-ticket items as tools for celebrating their independence rather than attracting a man.
It's about time that marketers should acknowledge women's strengths rather than exploiting their weaknesses. Saluting women's earning power and helping them be aware of this growing power are the only ways to earn a share of their wallets!