Why She Buys: 3 Ways to Influence the Buy Behavior of the World’s Most Influential Consumer by Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa
They may not have known it, but when Chris and Dan Heath authored the book entitled Switch, they ultimately mapped a guide that can help brands approach women consumers. Since women have cornered most consumer markets, including those traditionally driven by men, such as sports and automobiles, all brands have a compelling business case for making marketing to women a priority. When viewed through the lens of female consumer psychology, Switch provides a powerful way of retooling the three main variables explored in the book: the elephant, the rider, and the path. These three elements will help brands motivate, guide, and shape women’s purchasing decisions both on -
Motivate the Elephant
Get emotional. The Elephant is the emotional motivation in the decision-making process. If marketers emotionally connect with women, they will effectively encourage brand loyalty. Proctor and Gamble (P&G), for example, “spoke to the elephant” when it released its 2012 Olympic games commercial that paid tribute to moms for their roles in shaping athletes. In this way, P&G created a strong brand perception that women will remember.
Shrink the change. Since the Heath Brothers argue that people naturally avoid change, they make the suggestion of “shrinking” it into smaller steps so people will embrace it and create new habits. It is on this note that women’s intimates online retailer, Spanx, excels at changing check-out conversion. Perhaps knowing that 42% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts pre-purchase, Spanx sends reminder emails to users urging them to complete check-out and offer free shipping as an incentive.
Guide the Rider
Use the right language. The Rider is the logical, calculated motivation behind decision-making. If marketers know why women buy, they can better address their needs. For example, a new University of Michigan study found that advertisements that list daily well-being as the primary benefit of exercise are most appealing to women. Knowing this, weight loss and exercise programs should emphasize well-being when advertising to women instead of focusing on weight loss. When brands focus on goals that women care about in a language that they identify with, the Rider will be less inclined to resist change.
Shape the Path
Tweak the environment.What the authors call “shaping the path” is ultimately a practical approach to user experience that marketers can use to remove distractions and funnel “buy” behavior. By carefully presenting “action triggers” that engage women, marketers can better affect their purchasing decisions and permanently impact their perceptions of brands. Shaping the path is an area that social media has generally done well. During the sign-up phase, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter all offer the option of joining and then completing user profiles later. Since the goal is to prompt users to engage immediately, they appropriately chart the course to this action and thereby remove potential barriers to engagement.
Build habits. Encourage women consumers to make specific progress. For example, While LinkedIn has recently introduced mobile apps, it still hasn’t made changes that encourage people to engage or connect. It’s no wonder then that this is the only major social network where men lead women as the majority user.
Rally the herd. Since women are more likely to make purchases based on reviews, brands should use the strength of social mechanisms to build online communities of loyalists. “Rallying the herd” is a Switch concept luxury brand, Burberry, has caught onto. In fact, Burberry receives more customer engagement than any other fashion brand on Facebook and has been called “the most followed luxury brand in social media” all together. Has this aggressive social media strategy paid off for Burberry? Absolutely. The brand attributes its 21% revenue increase to its commitment to drive brand momentum through operational effectiveness and customer engagement.
How else can marketers influence women’s purchasing decisions and brand loyalty?