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May 12, 2008
5 things you need to know about women and word of mouth
Wondering how word of mouth works when marketing to women?
We asked Michele Miller, co-author of the new book "The Soccer Mom Myth: Today's Female Consumer: Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys" to share five tips for understanding word of mouth and women.
Do women and men differ in they way make recommendations or share information?
Women are three times more likely to share personal stories with a friend than men. Ask any woman how she found her hairdresser, doctor, or favorite wine, and she is likely to tell you that it was from a friend. Women are natural word of mouth spreaders. They are wired that way – with four times as many connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, women tap deeply into that area that is responsible for bonding and connecting with others.
What can you do to make increase women’s word of mouth?
Here’s the wrong way to do it: “Sign up three friends and we’ll give you a 15% discount.” This feels like you are asking her to sell out her friends. Instead, change the offer to “You and every one of your friends who signs up will get a 15% discount.” Now she has special access to a discount that she can pass along to friends. You’ve made her the hero. She can offer value to her trusted network. She has just increased her trust and standing.
What about asking women for referrals; good idea, or bad idea?
This is tricky. Because women are such great referrers, it seems logical. If you are doing business with her, and she values your relationship, it may seem perfectly acceptable to ask her for a list of friends who might benefit from your services. But that may not be a good idea, even if she thinks you’re the best thing since Starbuck’s drive-thru. She is the gatekeeper of her relationships. She’s not being stingy, she’s being protective. A better idea might be to give her a few of your business cards and say, “if you know of anyone who might benefit from my service, feel free to give them my card.”
If women talk more than men, how do we avoid bad word of mouth from them?
The “duh” answer is, meet or exceed expectations. The other answer is, communicate clearly and often. If something goes wrong, explain to her exactly why, then do your best to make amends. Basic, fundamental communication can go very far to deflect bad word of mouth.
How can you delight women?
Give her the personal touch. It does not have to be fancy or extravagant (though that’s always appreciated). A personal thank you note mailed the old-fashioned way may be enough to get her attention and touch her heart. Remember her kids’ names, and even more importantly, the names of her pets. Give her a gift she can pass along to family members. A financial advisor for my friend Holly knows Holly has two dogs. Every visit, he sends Holly home with two dog biscuits. He even knows their favorite – Snausages. Holly likes his work but what really endears him to her are the Snausages. It’s a personal touch that makes life better for those she loves.
Interested in a free copy of Michele's book? Go to the Society for Word of Mouth (registration is free) and add a comment expressing your interest to this forum post. Deadline for the book giveaway is Friday May 16 at 5 pm CDT. We'll give 5 copies away (to be drawn randomly).
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Great post and the absolute truth about the market of women.
Stero types are often stemmed from truth. Great interview.
As always, I enjoy your insight into the truth about women. At this rate I will have a much better understanding of what appeals to women consumers, and I may even be able to understand my wife one day. :)
I can't wait to check out the book!
Great article very useful, so much so I passed it on!
Wow, does that mean I am finally getting in touch with my feminine side?
I've been doing it all wrong.:)
I'm going to make some changes right now.
Thanks for the article! I've been doing it all wrong as well.
I really like her last tip about "personal touches." I recently received a handwritten thank you note from Graco and my opinion of their brand just skyrocketed. It's the little things...
Well, I must have a feminine side, or lots of left brain-right brain connections, because I act a lot like the women portrayed in this post when it comes to talking to others about my likes and dislikes. Like Andy Goodman, I believe storytelling is a powerful way to communicate with others.
Of course, I regularly got into trouble as a child in K-12 schools for talking too much in class. Maybe that's another way to track who will be strong social networkers later in life!
This is a super post and great advice to any company or individual looking to market their products to women. Its is so true that women are natural word of mouth spreaders and I agree that the best way to tap into this natural behaviour is to encourage rather than push.