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To design marketing plans that are effective in attracting and selling to more women, you have to know where you are today. In other words: To get the right answers, you must start with the correct questions. As your company focuses on developing appropriate strategies, here are some questions you should consider.

  • What is your company's current status? Is a program in place to attract more women consumers?

  • How does your company stack up with others in your industry? With others not in your industry, but vying for the same dollars?

  • Do you have well-defined strategies and goals?

  • What are you currently spending for this initiative? What is your ROI?

  • Is someone clearly in charge of this effort—and held accountable for results?

  • Where can you turn for help?

    • Search the internet to get more information on women, marketing to women, and consultants who work in that arena.

    • Attend conferences on the subject.

    • Read books or professional articles on the topic.

    • Take a brief marketing quiz to see how you stack up.

The help is there. You don't need to figure it all out yourself or with women in the company who are not specialists in marketing and selling. All you have to do is ask for it. You will be surprised at how much you can improve your bottom line by making this an integral part of your marketing action plan, setting goals, and holding the persons in charge accountable for results.

Women as Purchasing Agents and Multitaskers

One of the most important things that marketers, retailers, and salespeople need to remember is that women make the vast majority of purchases in almost every category. As a wife, mother, or single woman, she purchases for her family. As a business owner, she is frequently involved in buying decisions, especially large-ticket items. And many women staff purchasing departments in companies.

As multitaskers, women frequently combine their various purchasing roles into one trip. They may enter an electronic store to purchase a computer for their child, their husband, their home-based business and/or to expand equipment in an existing office. Yet women are frequently ignored in electronic stores. Recently, I purchased a big screen TV, with all the latest bells and whistles, in spite of the sales staff rather than because of them.

I advise women that, when it's practical, they should leave stores where they are ignored, patronized, or given the runaround. And that's exactly what many women do. They leave and buy from your competitor.

What Are Women Looking for?

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Gerry Myers is CEO, president, and cofounder of Advisory Link (www.advisorylink-dfw.com). She is co-author of Leading the Way to Success and specializes in marketing and selling more effectively to women.