I’m convinced that we have yet to fully realize that focusing on the female customer is not a fad.
It’s not going to dissolve into the ether like past eras of marketing buzz, where moving from target to target was the strategy du jour.
The power of the female customer will not only influence how brands market this year and next; it will define the business and marketing strategies for at least the first few decades of the 21st century.
You may ask,”Who endowed you with the crystal ball to predict the future”?
No one. One could come up with the answer as easily as I could, if one looked closely enough at the patterns drawn by history – patterns that mark our paths and shape our society.
Look back over the last century, there have been three historic milestones or “waves” for American women, based on the confluence of three critical elements:
1. The role of women in society at a given time
2. The banding together of women in a concerted effort to make their voices heard
3. The emergence of a new form of communication technology
In 1920, women gained the the right to vote for the first time after declaring their intent to fight for equal rights. It had taken 54 years of marching, protesting and imprisonment to finally triumph. So what was the tipping point for this First Wave of feminism? Communication to the masses through the power of the press and by means of the newest invention in the home – the telephone.
In 1963 Feminine Mystique was published, it was a scathing analysis of the role of women in 1960s America. Overnight, the country experienced a Second Wave of feminism. The call demanding equal opportunity in education and jobs spread like wildfire, thanks to images of female protestors and bra burners that flickered on nightly television newscasts.
Jump ahead another forty years to current day. A Third Wave rebellion is under way, and today’s female consumer is swinging her purchasing power around like David’s slingshot, aimed directly at the Goliath of traditional advertising and marketing.
Women are calling for recognition in the form of consumer parity. They want to be acknowledged as an individual consumers with individual needs, rather than anonymous members of the female demographic. “I know I’m a woman,” she’s saying. “But I’m not like every other woman. Would you please start speaking to me about what matters to me?”
What’s causing this Third Wave of feminism to spread at an epidemic rate? The emergence of the newest form of communication technology – the Internet and smart devices like the Blackberry..
Women are devoting more and more of their highly valuable time to researching, reaching out, and shopping online. It fits their multitasking lifestyle perfectly, with instant access to products, services, and each other – completing a full circle in the purchasing and influencing process.
Technology has made women the mainstream customer base of today and tomorrow. And it’s not going away.