Summary of Pocketbook Power

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Women not only rule the roost, they control its purse strings. In an economy 75% driven by individual consumer spending, women make decisions that affect 88% of all purchases and control almost half of all the households with assets of more than $500,000. The results of marketing research data show, in staggering and unequivocal terms, that women are the dominant demographic and financial engine behind the U.S. economy. The first half of author Bernice Kanner’s book focuses on women’s impact on various industries. The book’s second half notes failed campaigns and explains what kind of marketing appeals to women. Despite its overwhelming reliance on marketing data, this book suffers from mixing the differences and similarities between the genders. At times the distinctions are clear, but often the differences get blurred. This extremely informative book would have benefited from tighter editing to make it less jumbled. Still, thinks marketing and advertising executives can use this book to avoid chauvinist marketing pitfalls, adjust to changing demographics and more effectively draw female consumers to their clients’ products.

About the Author

Bernice Kanner is a marketing expert with extensive journalism experience. She worked at Bloomberg L.P., wrote a column for Marketwatch, served as editor-in-chief of Women’s BizUS and authored numerous books, including The Super Bowl of Advertising, Are You Normal About Sex, Love and Relationships?, Nickel and Dimed and The 100 Best TV Commercials and Why They Worked. She wrote an award-winning column for New York Magazine entitled, "On Madison Avenue."



The Impact of Women

Today, women are 51% of the U.S. population and 62% of its workforce. They increasingly control more wealth and make trillions of dollars in buying decisions annually. As any retailer or marketer can testify, they have a major impact on how businesses are run and how products are sold.

Demographics buttress the argument that women can make or break any product. First, women live longer than men (average life expectancy of 79 versus 72). They react differently to product messages, service deliveries, environment and small nuances in messaging. Women respond to individual service in stores better than men. They answer to a language of connection and intimacy, while men prefer to hear about product features, current styles and high return investments. Women value promotions and coupons more than men. However, companies that pursue female consumers must not pander, condescend or overprice their products. Contrary to what many companies thought when they altered products to meet women’s demands, men welcomed such changes and viewed them positively.

Women’s changing role includes being workers, wives, mothers, volunteers and consumers in ...

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