What surprised us were the energetic discussions by speakers and panellists and the level of engagement from attendees. Each session seemed to generate more and more enthusiasm. It genuinely felt like everyone in attendance was eager to learn from each other. As a result, it was great to spot a number of encouraging trends emerging which will set the stage for years to come and have a lasting impact on how we market to women in the future.
So what are the new trends and rules for marketing to women in 2015 and beyond
1)The conversation has clearly moved on from preaching about how important the female consumer is to a deeper dialogue about HOW we can better engage with her now and in the future.
2) When women talk, brands need to learn to pay attention. Women are natural storytellers so listen to them and they will tell you what they want.
3 ) Top of the list of the factors influencing women to purchase a product (at 84%) was a recommendation from family, friends or peers. As word of mouth continues to grow in importance, brands need to let her have more of a voice. In the next few years we will hear more about advocacy.
4) Women’s buying behaviour is a lot more complex than men’s. On average women research 10 sources of information before buying a product (versus two for men). Brands need to give women an opportunity to learn more about them and give them the tools to try, share and recommend.
5) Women are more connected than ever before with less boundaries between home, work, online and in-store. In her new 'blended world' brands need to be where she is, which means being more omnipresent.
6) Authenticity is not a fad, it is a fundamental shift in the marketing landscape.
7) Declining brand loyalty remains an issue and, with more and more consumers building their relationships with brands based on shared values, brands will benefit from being more open and transparent about their philosophy and values.
8) Packaging and design are as important as messaging. Avoid brand schizophrenia: that moment when the customer realises that the glamorous, seductive brand they saw on TV doesn’t quite match up to their expectations when they bump into it on the shelf.
Our first visit to M2W has exceeded all expectations and it was clear from our conversations with a number of the other speakers that they felt the same. Our notebooks are overflowing with thoughts and ideas we will be taking home and talking to our clients about when we get back. For us the most important take-out is that, if brands want to connect and resonate with women, then they need to be more like her. Listen, tap into her innate desire to talk and share, pay attention to detail because that’s what she’ll be doing, and give her experiences that will surprise and delight every time.
As marketing professor and author Jenny Darroch concluded, it will be well worth the effort. Such is the value of women as consumers and influencers that, if marketers improve the way they market to them then a brand’s overall performance will improve.