Why Women Matter to Wood Flooring Marketers

Women are responsible for about 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing through their buying power and influence. This often-cited statistic has appeared in publications including Inc., Forbes, and Bloomberg, as well as many other credible sources. Even if the reality is closer to 50 percent, it would be unwise to underestimate or ignore this valuable market segment, especially in home purchases like flooring.

Women have the ability to greatly impact the profitability of flooring companies, installers, and refinishers. Here’s why:

Women are influencers.

Even if a woman isn’t the one completing the transaction, she often has a strong vote or veto power in what products, services, or brands are purchased.

Women create a multiplier effect.
Women represent multiple markets – their children, spouses, parents, friends, and extended family,to name a few. Almost half of adults in their
40s and 50s are part of the “sandwich generation” – adults with living parents older than 65 years of age and adult children, according
to Senior Living.

Women are waiting longer to get married.
Researchers with the Population Reference Bureau found that, in 2018, the
national average age at which women first marry is 27.6. U.S. Census figures indicate that, in 1968, that average was 21. That’s 6 years longer that women are the sole decision-maker about things such as buying or improving homes.

Women are waiting longer to have children and are having fewer children.
In 2017, the number of births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age was 60.2, down 3 percent from the previous year, and a record low, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That leaves more disposable income and more time for home projects.

Women tend to have higher expectations for customer service, says Bridget Brennen, author of “Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching
the World’s Most Powerful Consumers.” And when companies or service providers rise to meet the challenge, service improves for everyone, and the company’s reputation improves.

More specifically, women play a significant role in buying decisions when it comes to home improvement. According to a TraQline survey of more than 500,000 consumers annually, nearly half of the time (47 percent) flooring purchase decisions are made jointly by men and women. And when the decision is made individually, women edge out men, 28 percent versus 25 percent.

These findings are consistent with a survey of homeowners by Service Magic, a web-based service that connects homeowners with prescreened home-service professionals. The survey found that a majority of homeowners (65 percent) say they make home improvement decisions
as a team.

CONTENT MATTERS
Today’s marketing must focus on the total customer experience, which starts before they reach out to a contractor or flooring specialist. To do well, marketers must understand the customer’s psyche – their needs, wants, and motivations
– then speak to them in a way that gets and keeps them interested in the company or its products and services.

• Answer their questions in blogs, Q&As, podcasts, newsletters, and social media.
• Make your website a source of information. Demonstrate your knowledge so your prospective customers will trust you and want to do business with you.
• Be transparent in your communication and don’t withhold information to get a chance to “pitch” or sell your services. Your website (for example) may be the only chance you get.
• Be willing to invest some time up front in phone calls and consultations. Consider it an opportunity to start building a relationship.
• Ask customers, especially women, to write positivereviews on Yelp, Houzz, Angie’s List, or HomeAdvisor.
• Respond to negative reviews and try to resolve issues with unhappy customers.

Not sure if online reviews matter? According to a 2016 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey, a whopping 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as the recommendation of a friend or family member. Further, 90 percent of consumers read 10 reviews or fewer before they feel they can trust a business.

MEDIA MATTERS
In addition to addressing women’s questions with quality content, consider using media that are preferred by women.

• Of all the people on the internet, 83 percent of women use Facebook. Further, 84 percent of online users age 30-49 are on Facebook; and 72 percent of online users have incomes of more than $75,000, according to
Facebook.
• As of September 2019, Pinterest reported that 70 percent of its users are female.
• Instagram reports that 52 percent of its audience is female.

Also, options include strategically targeted Google Adwords, email marketing, or video marketing. For companies targeting less digital-savvy customers, consider advertising in highly visual media such as regional or local home and design publications, targeted cable networks and programs,
or direct mail.

MORE THAN MARKETING
Being truly successful at marketing to women takes more than good content and well-placed ads. Marketers must be careful to understand that women are not a homogenous group, and avoid stereotyping. Just as with any target market, women need to be segmented, not just by age or income, but also their needs, wants, and aspirations. Consumers won’t settle for products or services that fail to address their unique needs. Nor should they. And that’s the challenge for all marketers.

Katrina Olson is a marketing consultant, trainer, writer, and principal of Katrina Olson Marketing + Training. Reach her at katrina@katrinaolson.com.



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