Male Marketers, Don’t Tell a Woman She Needs More Time… She Already KNOWS That.

Women Want MoreI love this book from Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre. It’s titled Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market. But I must warn you to be careful not to read it from a male perspective.

I have highlighted some of the key findings below, and you can read more at The Harvard Business Review as well as an overview provided by the authors, or you can just buy the book.

In summary, the book overwhelmingly substantiates the massive spending power of women as well as reveals how companies continue to fall short in meeting the needs of these women through their product designs and the marketing messages of their products. But another point that seems to be driven home repeatedly is how women want more “time.”

According to Women Want More, “Above all, women want “agents of leverage” – ways to find time, save time, free up time. And when women find a product or service that truly meets those needs, they can become brand apostles.”

Essentially, women are more stressed out, have less time than ever with overlapping priorities, yet they still don’t want to give anything up. Companies that find ways to truly leverage her time, find solutions and become her supporter will be the winners.

But Be Wary
Because so much attention has been placed on “time” [and rightfully so], I suggest you be very careful to resist the inevitable temptation to remind the female market that she has no time in your advertising messages. Taken literally, [and they are already doing it] companies tend to focus on the problem and not the solution.

So, don’t tell her she doesn’t have enough time.
She already KNOWS that.

Don’t portray her as perplexed, anxious and frazzled.
You are actually implying she is presently not doing a good job.

And please don’t tell her she can or deserves to spend more time with her kids.
She feels guilty enough as it is.

Don’t continue to hammer on the problem. Everyone will be doing that. You need to offer time-saving “solutions.” You will need to think like a woman.

Leslie Wexner, founder and chairman of Limited Brands, and one of the most successful marketers to women, says, “You can’t sell to women like they are men wearing skirts.”

Connect with her emotionally. Understand her needs. Be empathetic. Become her partner.

Noted in the book, women need the following, so remember don’t tell her what she already knows:

  • Time – give it to her
  • Love – ask how she feels
  • Family – support her
  • Relationships – commit to her
  • Community – engage her

So, where do you start?
According to Marti Barletta, author of “Marketing to Women” and CEO of TrendSight Group, “The optimistic message [from marketers], all the ‘You deserve it’ stuff, is completely wrong right now. What is right is saying, ‘You’re smart. You can handle this. You can make the right decisions, and here’s how we can help.'” (via Advertising Age)

And, as I was quoted in Marketing Week, “Brands need to communicate that they’re on women’s side.”

Based on the few  findings below from Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market, this book is a MUST read for anyone serious about effectively connecting with the female market. But BEWARE: do not implement the findings like a man wearing a skirt.

  • Women now drive the economy representing the largest market opportunity in the world.
  • As this recession abates, women not only will represent one of the largest market opportunities in our lifetimes but will also be an important force in spurring a recovery and generating new prosperity. The rewards for companies that do understand what women want and are able to serve them well will be enormous.
  • Globally, women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending and have $13 trillion in total yearly earnings. In five years these numbers are expected to be $25 trillion and $18 trillion respectively.
  • Yet despite all this spending power, women feel undervalued and misunderstood. They are pressed for time and stressed out by products and services that don’t meet their needs.
  • Although it would be foolish to ignore or underestimate the female consumer many companies do – even those that are confident they have a winning strategy when it comes to women.
  • They have too many demands on their time and constantly juggle conflicting priorities—work, home, and family.
  • Few companies have responded to their need for time-saving solutions or for products and services designed specifically for them.
  • Three-quarters of the people who have lost jobs in the current recession are men.
  • The number of working women in the United States is about to surpass the number of working men.
  • Many companies continue to market mostly to men and fail to explore how they might meet women’s needs.
  • Women feel vastly underserved. Despite the remarkable strides in market power and social position that they have made in the past century, they still appear to be undervalued in the marketplace and underestimated in the workplace.
  • Companies that can offer tailored products and services – going beyond “make it pink” – will be positioned to win when the economy begins to recover.


Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

5 Responses to “Male Marketers, Don’t Tell a Woman She Needs More Time… She Already KNOWS That.”

  1. This whole focus on time is dead on. I’ve been marketing to women most of my career, and I also live a version of the same busy life familiar to most of my customers. Whenever my company makes a decision about creating a message or endorsing a product, we think about saving her time…we keep our own messages very short, and try very hard to make them worth her time.

  2. […] brand purchases. So what does this mean during tough economic and recessionary times? According to Women Want More, even though they are incredibly stressed, overburdened, out of balance and dissatisfied, they […]

  3. Great article. Being in design and branding for small business, I’ve recently taken notice that the majority of my new and existing clients/entrepreneurs are women. Not only that, but the majority of their clients…also women. They connect so well, so naturally. Time to simmer on that for awhile.

    Keep the tips coming!

  4. […] before she can have fun, she has to find time. According to Women Want More, by Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre, “Above all, women want […]

  5. […] according to a comprehensive study fielded by Boston Consulting Group and published in the book, Women Want More by Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre. It was revealed that women also wanted to make […]

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