Advertising & Marketing

Marketing to Women 2020

Leading organizations and brands of the future will find new sources of growth through better understanding this growing group of consumers; women who have spending power, and are shaping the future of society through their actions and choices.

Looking at women through the lens of the four dimensions of change highlights the fact that changes that occur for women have a marked impact on the rest of society and on the economy. Looking back at our Opportunity Tension Framework we are reminded of how diverse women’s experiences are both between and within markets.

The pattern of development may be different across the three clusters, but one characteristic permeates them all; that economic development for women always happens at a greater pace than the pace of change in their social rights and participation. Many of the opportunities for businesses and brands arise from this tension between economic empowerment and social empowerment.

Lagging markets

In the ‘lagging’ markets (where women have below average economic participation and below average socialparticipation rights) there are opportunities for businesses and brands to focus on solutions created by women themselves for existing needs, and to provide attainable products to answer them. This includes using mobile technology to support learning and access schemes, which in turn allow women to become more active and empowered consumers.

Brands can also partner with aid agencies to champion women as the key to reducing poverty and increasing national GDP.

Ones to watch In ‘ones to watch’ markets (where women have above average economic participation and below average rights and opportunities) businesses and brands should be focusing on categories which have previously been male dominated, where women are starting to become important consumers (e.g. technology, automobile, alcohol). Women’s role as ‘gatekeeper’ to a broader circle of consumers will be key in these markets as more women become economically active. Brands will have an important role to play in helping to resolve the tension between tradition and modernity – to support women in maintaining some of the conventions they want to preserve while still making progress.

These markets are also likely to be a source of female talent and skills in previously male dominated industries.

Closing the gap

In markets which are ‘closing the gap’ (where there is a relative established balance between women’s economic participation and their social participation rights) opportunities for business and brands exist in emerging new life stages, and in being sensitive to blurring gender roles whilst acknowledging the difference in physiological needs between men and women.

 Developing flexible working patterns will be important to retain female talent.

Companies will be expected to respond to the demand from women for a greater synergy between online and offline shopping experiences. There will be an important role to play for brands in exploring new ideals of femininity (and masculinity).

Getting it right with women

By analyzing the shifts we can expect to see in the four key dimensions of women’s lives, we can draw some conclusions about how leading organizations and brands will behave in the future.


Dimension 1:


■ Welcoming newcomers: Seeking out opportunities in previously maledominated categories, both in established and emerging markets – and finding ways to appeal to women as newcomers to the category.

■ Using the gatekeeper:Leveraging women’s role as purchaser on behalf of others to access other consumers in her sphere of influence.

■ Creating seamless interactions:Working to create greater synergy between online and offline brand and shopping experiences.

■ Helping women have their way, while playing by the rules:Finding ways to resolve the tension between tradition and modernity for female consumers.

Dimension 2:

Workplace & economy

■ Making flexible working mainstream: Putting workplace policies in place, which make it possible for both mothers and fathers to manage parenthood in a more balanced fashion, and making it a default part of work culture.

■ Hanging on to talented women:Developing systems to keep women motivated and rewarded and where necessary taking controversial yet proven methods such as setting quotas on leadership positions.

■ Revaluating the metrics: Developing evaluation and promotion systems which reduce gender bias on the promotions ladder, and valuing the different socially conditioned qualities which women bring to the workplace.

■ Finding and funding hidden gems:Seeking out and investing in female entrepreneurs and innovators.

Dimension 3:

Communication & Identity

■ Championing new ideals of femininity: Taking the lead on shaping new ideals of female identity which are more aligned with women’s real ideals (“women want to be her, because other women admire her”).

■ Becoming a part of their inner worlds: Giving women a reason to make brands a part of their private spaces for conversation in the online world.

■ Gaming for good: Leveraging women’s use of social gaming to develop new ways for them to play, learn and interact.

■ Reinventing masculinity: Being smart about how men are portrayed in communications to avoid alienating women, and finding new identities for men as their traditional roles are eroded.

Dimension 4:


■ Bridging the needs gap: Identifying places where women are creating ‘hacked’ solutions for their needs and developing products and services to answer them.

■ Being body conscious in design: Adapting and developing designs to account for physiological differences between men and women.

■ Avoiding pinking: Tailoring functionality and not just aesthetics.

■ Inventing for new life stages: Seeking out opportunities for new product development arising from new demands and changes in women’s role and new life stages emerging from shifting lifestyle patterns.

“Smart organizations— and those that succeed over the next decade and beyond—will understand that the 21st century is the ‘Women’s Century.’ Women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurial growth will drive the world’s economy. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ — but rather a matter of ‘to what heights’.”- Mukhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Coca-Cola


Source:The Futures Company

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