What Women Want—During a Recession

According to a recent Meredith Corporation/NBC Universal survey, women have a lot on their minds right now and it affects the way they view issues, respond to media and the way they spend money.

The nationwide “What do Women Want?” survey of 3,000 women covered a wide range of topics important to women, including marriage and family, health and fitness, safety, and financial matters.

Not surprisingly the economy is at the forefront of their concerns:

  • Two-thirds (68%) of women cite “financial strain” as a major threat to the American Family – and a much bigger threat than “divorce” (48%), “loss of faith/spirituality” (47%), “liberal views on sex and sexuality” (32%), “both parents working” (28%), “unwed mothers” (21%) and “couples living together instead of getting married” (19%).
  • The majority (79%) of women in dual-income households say it is “essential for both spouses/partners to be employed in order to make ends meet.”
  • Six in ten women are concerned about being able to pay their bills each month (60%) – especially high among single mothers with children under 18 (80%).
  • 72% of women are concerned about rising taxes – especially Boomer women (81%).

Here are three things Michelle Miller author of The Soccer Mom Myth suggests business keep in mind over the next couple of years:

  1. Don’t focus on growth – focus on staying even. The key is efficiency – making the highest and most effective use of your marketing and operating dollars to streamline your message and customer experience.
  2. When it comes to customers, there’s a pecking order. Even in good times, smart marketers know that the care and feeding of existing customers takes precedence over capturing new ones. Building brand confidence can’t help but generate good word-of-mouth about you – some of the smartest (and cheapest) marketing you’ll ever do.
  3. Don’t stop taking chances. Now more than ever, it’s critical to continue branding your business in the hearts and minds of customers. Yes, you’re feeling the pinch. But don’t slash your marketing budget to shreds. Start talking about the “relationships” you have with your customers. Have you created good brand equity through meaningful connections with customers? Extend it by telling them you feel their financial pain, then lower your prices a tad.

Women are responsible for $.85 of every dollar spent in the United States. Learning how to communicate with them no matter what the financial or political climate is key in any marketing success.



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

3 Responses to “What Women Want—During a Recession”

  1. Corollary to point #2: It costs about 7x more to gain a new customer than to serve an existing one.

  2. I agree that word of mouth advertising is VERY important! I used to own a child care business and I met people who had heard of my daycare (all good) that didn’t even live near the center. It brought most of my customers to me.

  3. […] topics important to women, she-conomy.com […]

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