Although the women’s empowerment movement has succeeded in elevating the issues important to them in culture, media and politics, women are seeking more than awareness. They want to see a shift from empowerment to power.
Why do marketers need to pay attention? Because women have power in the marketplace, and they will not wait for brands and businesses that are slow to adapt to the shift from passive to active. And marketers will not get their attention by appealing to gender alone.
A woman does not equal all women
Too often, brands and marketers take a one-dimensional approach, marketing to women as one monolithic segment. But women are a kaleidoscope of complex—and sometimes conflicting—identities and values. The key to marketing to women is to stop marketing to all women and speak to them as the diverse people they are.
Subsegments of female consumers can have varying attitudes about issues pertaining to women, work, finances, shopping and everything else. Brands and businesses that want to win with women must understand the full spectrum of values any one segment—or one woman—can hold at the same time and to appeal to the right values at just the right time.
Women are now expected to be both providers and nurturers. These “Superwomen” do it all and expect themselves to make it look easy. They are caring for children and possibly aging parents as they advance their careers and build their financial security.
The attitudes of Superwomen can more closely resemble those of professional men than those of their fellow women. Their drive, determination and expectations of success exemplify the shift from empowerment to power. As they take the reins of leadership in their professional lives, they want to be respected for their skills regardless of gender.
Despite similar attitudes about success and accomplishment, Superwomen differ from Professional Men (and from other women) in their more measured approach to finances and the demands of their lives. It should come as no surprise that Superwomen place a premium on preparation and practicality.
Friendship, community and personal relationships are important to Superwomen, no matter how busy they are. Marketers can’t risk overlooking the importance of human connection to these women, even when connecting with their professionally driven motivations.
(Top 2 on a 7-pt. scale)
The shift from empowerment to power is infused with a sense of urgency, particularly for young women who are coming of age and learning to exercise their power. Serena Williams, in her Super Bowl spot for Bumble, captures the urgency and power of this shift. They won’t wait around for businesses that don’t meet their needs. They’ll look elsewhere or find their own solutions.
* Superwomen are defined as women who are employed full-time, care for a child or elderly family member, and find it very/extremely important to be seen as someone who handles stress well.
** Professional Men are defined as men who are employed full-time and find it very/extremely important to be seen as someone who handles stress well.
All data are from the 2018 U.S. MONITOR.