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Don't Think Pink

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Don't Think Pink

What Really Makes Women Buy — And How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Marketers are polishing their pursuit of women shoppers' pocketbook power. Here's how to get your share of the purse.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Women are the most powerful consumer force in the U.S., but they do not approach buying decisions the way men do. That's intriguing, but it doesn't mean that exhaustive demographic and sales statistics make interesting reading. Authors and marketing consultants Lisa Johnson and Andrea Learned explain how to direct your marketing efforts to women. Each chapter deals with a different subset of women - old, young, black, white, Hispanic, married, single - but the groups are compared along similar lines and the information is sliced the same way in most chapters. The authors liven up their exposition with short illustrative case studies, but the cases often feature products for which marketers have made no concerted, specific effort to attract female buyers. For instance, the decision to sell single servings of food occurred because of other demographics (more people living alone) and was not intended just to attract women buyers. Still, the thesis here is important enough to carry the authors' occasional tendency to twist product features to fit the theme, as well as their branding jargon. Acknowledging the significance of marketing to women, recommends this information-packed book.


Stereotypes Don't Sell

Although women comprise 51% of the U.S. population and control the spending of more than $2 trillion annually, many marketers don't know how to reach them. In the past, they didn't try, aside from just announcing that a product was aimed toward women. Simple approaches that never addressed deeper women's issues became expensive marketing errors. When companies show an in depth understanding of what drives the precise community of women they want to reach, those women recognize that authentic effort and buy the product in question. To accomplish that, your organization may need to think a new way.

Women's earning and spending power will increase as the population ages. Women benefited from the liberating 1960s, when more women entered the workforce than at any time since World War II. Today, women earn 57% of U.S. college degrees, including 50% of law degrees and 46% of medical degrees. They own 40% of businesses, head 40% of households with a net worth of $600,000 or more, and control 51% of the private wealth in the U.S. To tap into that wealth, develop a marketing plan aimed at women. Begin by gathering as much specific data as possible about...

About the Authors

Marketer Lisa Johnson has worked with clients in sporting goods, financial services and women's health. She developed a seminar on marketing to women for the American Management Association and is a speaker and conference presenter. She lives in Eugene, Oregon. Andrea Learned has written articles for Before founding the Reaching Women Web site, she spent 15 years in marketing and public relations. She lives in Burlington, Vermont.

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