Will Focusing on Women Turn Off Men?
By Holly Buchanan
Pretty much everyone in the credit union industry is aware of the growing economic power of women. Women are earning, inheriting, and controlling more money than ever. Focusing on women can give a credit union a powerful competitive advantage. Yet many credit unions are hesitant to market specifically to women. One reason is that they don’t want to do anything that will alienate their male members.
So, will focusing on serving women turn off men? The answer is, no, as long as you do it right.
The right and wrong way to market to women
When I say “marketing to women,” what comes to mind? A website with a pink background? An article talking about ways you can save money to buy a fashionable new outfit? A brochure with a picture of a mom in the laundry room? Guess what, not only will all of these turn off men, they will likely turn off women as well.
These are all examples of the wrong way to market to women. Men don’t want to see marketing material that’s dumbed down or “painted pink” or full of female stereotypes, and neither do women.
And by the way, male bashing will totally backfire on you. Stop with the “doofus dad” commercials. Show a loving dad genuinely engaging with his son or daughter. Women will appreciate it (and so will men).
What’s the right way to market to women? The first key to success is to look at everything through the eyes of a woman, from your marketing materials, to your branch layout, to how your front line staff greets members, to the decorations in your rest room. (Summit Credit Union got very positive feedback when they put signs on the mirrors in women’s restrooms saying, “You look great today.”) Women notice details and make judgments about their experience as a whole.
Why is this so important? Anticipate a man’s needs and he may not even notice. Anticipate a woman’s needs and she will be your customer for life.
For example, a terrific client gift is an umbrella. I suggest financial advisers have a stash at their desk. If it is raining, they ask their client if he or she has an umbrella with them. If the answer is “no,” they give their client the umbrella (with company logo). Women absolutely love this. (And they think positively of the person every time they use that umbrella).
Another difference between men and men is that women tend to be more risk aware. (Notice I did not say risk averse.) They often want more information and have more concerns. I recently ran across an article, “7 Unjustified Fears of Loan Seekers.” This is exactly the kind of content women would love to read on your website. Do men have some of the same unjustified fears? Sure they do. They’re just not going to talk about it publically. But many men would appreciate this article as well.
It’s about increasing membership – of women AND men
The point of focusing on women is not to increase the percentage of members who are female. Done correctly, it will increase the overall number of members, bringing in women, their spouses and families as well.