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Soon it will be Mother's Day, a day filled with fresh flowers, delicious dark chocolates, fancy fragrances, and gem-filled jewelry.

But guys, listen up... the way to a woman's heart is not through these traditional "feminine" gifts. What'll really make her swoon and sigh is sleek, metal, shiny, and fast—women want the latest and greatest consumer electronics and have the hots for high tech, just like men.

A recent survey by Oxygen Network showed that more than half of women surveyed would pick a plasma TV over a two-day vacation in Florida; 77 percent would rather have a new plasma TV than a diamond solitaire necklace. And 86 percent of those surveyed prefer a new digital camera over designer shoes!

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) says that women buy 57% of consumer electronics, or about $80 billion of the $140 billion spent on consumer electronics last year. Beyond that, according to Best Buy, women influence 90% of consumer electronics purchases, from the type and look of the big-screen TV to the color of the iPod speakers for the living room.

The CE industry caught on fast, and in 2004 the CEA started its annual "Technology Is A Girl's Best Friend" campaign and awards program, which features marketing-to-women winners in eight product categories: audio, computers, digital imaging, laptop bags, mobile/automotive electronics, portable audio, television, and wireless. Award winners are announced at the Consumer Electronics Show Product Showcase and have included Motorola's RAZR cell phone, in bold fashionista colors like magenta or ice blue.

Some recent ads are also evidence of some smart gender-savvy marketing from the power players in the CE industry. But, as always, some marketers more than others "get" the differences between marketing to men and marketing to women.

Traditionally, most CE ads have focused on the product, not the prospect. They featured a large close-up of the TV, printer, PDA, or whatever high tech gadget is the "hero" of the ad. Then the copy goes into how many megapixels, megawatts, or megabytes the product has. Such ads may have appealed to men, who are always the first adopters of any new technology. But they have no stopping power with women.

That's because women have a longer list of criteria (they want all the same things as men—and then some), and while product specifications are relevant, they are not the only things that drive women's purchase decision.

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image of Marti Barletta

Marti Barletta is the founder and CEO of consulting think-tank The TrendSight Group  (www.trendsight.com) and the author of PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds, and Business of Boomer Big Spenders (Jan. 2007) and Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment (Dec. 2002). Reach her at marti.barletta@trendsight.com.

Are you a Premium Plus member of MarketingProfs?  You can replay our 90-minute virtual seminar with Marti, Reach the Big Spenders:  How to Market wo Women from 50 to 75.