How Women’s Needs, Online Channels and the Buying Process Converge to Perpetually Market Your Brand

Women are continuing to flood to the online social networks. But some of you continue to ask: how does this affect her purchases?  I believe for companies that not only participate in social media marketing, but strategically listen and respond, it means increased revenue even during recessionary times.

Let’s take a look at three factors individually and then how they effectively converge to perpetually market your brand.

  • Women’s Wants and Needs
  • Online Social Channels
  • The Buying Process

Women’s Wants and Needs
Women are responsible for 85% of all 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 still want more. But more of what? Your products and services? No, not really.

What gets her attention is family, health, security, friends and lovers; learning and education; work and career; helping others and giving back. This translates to needs for:


Online Social Channels
Women are going online daily via channels to have a voice, attain advice, research, check on friends and family, make connections, collaborate and share.

And today she is meeting her needs and wants that are mentioned above through online social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, MySpace, Female Forum, wikis, etc. The chart below, appropriately titled The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas, displays many of the channels available as of just a few months ago and the applications continue to grow rapidly.


Are you beginning to see the how nicely women’s needs interface with the benefits of online social networks? This is why they are spending more and more time online. Unlike men who mainly use the Internet to just make a transaction, women are there to make connections. But do not be misled by thinking this has nothing to do with the buying process.

The Buying Process
So, let’s look at the stages of the buying process, according to Marti Barletta, CEO of Trendsight. When men and women buy as partners, women control at least four out of five stages of the purchasing process.


1. Kick-off  – women     2. Research – women     3. Purchase  – men
4. Ownership – women     5. Word-of-mouth – women

And further, even though men are present and appear in control during the purchasing stage when they pull out the credit card or sign the contract, they are not really in control of that stage either – they just think they are. A lot happens way before then that actually determines the decision of what is bought.

So what happens? The other four stages. The decision to buy something, gathering of information, considering past purchases and collaborating with others.

Do these stages sound familiar? They mirror a woman’s basic needs, what she’s doing online, and how she conducts her life. This is how she thinks–Everyday. All day.

Women, networks and buying converge to create perpetual marketing
Participating in online social networks allows you to communicate, connect and build relationships throughout ALL of the stages of the buying process continuously.

If you are trying to capture her attention simply during the purchase stage, your competition will not only be getting in front of women way before you do, they will be building relationships with her. This is especially true today as everyone is so focused on price. But keep in mind, price is an obstacle, not a solution. Unless you are willing to give up your profit, you’d be wise to have a better strategy than price alone.

So, understand her needs, connect with her online as she is fulfilling them and you will be there for her when she is ready to buy. You will not only build your brand perpetually, but organically as well. You will constantly build her trust so when she is ready to buy, she will buy from you.



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

7 Responses to “How Women’s Needs, Online Channels and the Buying Process Converge to Perpetually Market Your Brand”

  1. I recently bought a point-and-shoot camera and of course did my research online. Flickr actually became one of my main sources for information, way above the manufacturers websites – it’s an enormous community there, far bigger than just my FB network but seems personal. This is such an interesting trend and a thought-provoking article, but I’m not sure I get the part where in a partnership purchase women aren’t as often the ones whipping out the credit card – can that possibly be true?

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! The research reveals that women are “IN control of at least” 4 of the 5 stages of the buying process, but yes, a great amount of the time they are also in control of the purchase.

  3. Wow! I love the graphics, a truly well thought out post.

    Dr. Letitia Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show

  4. Best line “they are not really in control of that stage either – they just think they are.” Ha. Thanks for the great article

  5. Stephanie –

    I’d love to know what research you’re citing that reveals that “women are in control of at least 4 of the 5 stages of the buying process. ” I thought I had originated that as one of my consumer insights in my book, Marketing to Women, but would love to have documented research to substantiate it.

    Marti Barletta

  6. Stephanie, once again another insightful and delightful piece of information and insight about the market we so love to serve and work so hard to keep happy. Interesting question from Marti Barletta who was one of our earlies sources of women’s market insights(Both her books and articles/blog posts etc) that we found documented or validated by other leading women’s market visionairies and consultants.

    Ray Knight
    Chief Envisioneer Officer

  7. Ray, thanks so much for the kind words. I am pleased the information is helpful. Marti’s comment was simply due to a misunderstanding. The “stages of the process” linked to this post: which identified Marti as the originator of “5 Stages.” To make it more clear in this post I added her name here as well (which was not there when she made the comment) So, all is good! 🙂

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