If you've been paying attention lately, some companies are marketing to women very effectively, while others are not.

The smart ones are beefing up their customer service training, offering incredible return policies and providing intuitive e-mail a friend tools. The slower-on-the-uptake companies may do as little as use photos of women on their site and call it a day.

The following mistakes, with tips for avoiding them, are meant to serve as a quick checklist to follow as you approach a new campaign or web site re-design. So print it and tack these to your bulletin board!

Here we go:

1. Mistake: Thinking that women are a "niche."

Reality: Women are the primary consumers in the US.

Women represent an economic powerhouse, making over 85% of the consumer purchases (in the US) and influencing over 95% of total goods and services.1 Women's consumer spending is $3.7 trillion and business spending is $1.5 trillion.2 Women also purchase 50 percent or better in traditional "male" categories like automobiles, consumer electronics and PCs.

Tip: Develop a visual image to represent how many dollars women consumers spend in your industry. This exercise should help your whole marketing or product development team to "get it" so they join wholeheartedly into the effort.

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image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.