Capturing Your Share of The Women’s Market – A Pictorial
By Nancy Salamone, CLU
Women are not all alike. This, of course, is stating the obvious but nowhere is that statement more apparent then when we view women via the prism of the “Generational Divide”. When a financial services company and financial advisors implement a strategy to increase their share of the women’s market they tend to “lump” all women together regardless of age – this is a mistake.
This post explores the various generations of women in words and pictures and describes the differences between the generations of women and methods to increase your share of the women’s market.
The Greatest Generation of Women (Born before 1929)
This generation lived through WWII and the “Great Depression”. The prosperity of this generation is depicted through the legendary show “Happy Days”. The Greatest Generation women are community minded and strongly interested in personal morality and near-absolute standards of right and wrong. They have a “use it up, fix it up, or make it do or do without” attitude. They avoid debt and save and buy with cash.
Here’s how to attract the women of The Greatest Generation:
- This woman is more comfortable buying from established institutions so it’s important to talk about your company its history and its strengths.
- They want to understand what they are buying.
- They want frequency of contact. This means if an advisor has not kept in contact with her over the last 3 months, they will not get referrals, they won’t gain more of her investable assets – and she will start looking around for someone else – and this generation will tell everyone they know not to use the advisor.
- Send them written information; this is probably America’s most literate generation.
- She wants to leave a legacy.
- She fears losing her independence due to declining or poor health.
As stated above this generation lived through the Great Depression and knows how to stretch a “dollar”. They tend to be frugal and want to be sure they do not outlive their investments.
The Silent Generation of Women (born between 1929 and 1945)
The Silent Generation lived through the Korean War, The Cold War and the Space Race. These women were at the forefront of the women’s rights movement in the early 1960s, they helped start the civil rights movement and are pioneers once again–this time in redefining aging. This generation is disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious – and like other women they fear outliving their assets.
How to attract women of the Silent Generation:
- When talking with these women never talk age, rather talk “life stage”. Silent women see themselves as years younger than their chronological age. They are vital and active and don’t want to be stereotyped by age.
- Show them how your products can support a lifestyle that offers “soft” adventure – adventure without risk. Many women of the Silent Generation are afraid life is passing them by.
- Let them know about any awards you or your company has won – they respect expertise.
- Support their philanthropic endeavors with your money and your presence as they turn to their own kind – people who are helpers.
- Be part of their financial support system. Single women of the Silent Generation will look to you for that.
- These women will respond to direct mail – they like to read and will take the time to read a brochure and respond.
- They want to help their grandchildren – The Millennials.
The Silent Generation shares the same frugality as “The Greatest Generation” and also the independent spirit of the Baby Boomer generation. This is the last generation who believe that they can rely on pensions and Social Security.
Baby Boomer Women (born between 1946 and 1963)
These women lived through the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement and the Vietnam War. These women come in two segments; 1. the save the world revolutionary, and 2. the “party hardy” career climber – think Yuppy. This is also the Rock and Roll generation – think Beatles and The Rolling Stones. This was the generation that ushered in free love and societal non-violent protests – yet some became violent.
This generation of women began working outside the home in droves and was, for the most part, the first generation to have their children raised in a two-income household. This is also the first divorce generation – to them divorce was no longer a taboo.
How to attract Baby Boomer women:
- “Boomer” women like direct and easy to understand products and services and, do it quickly – don’t waste their time. Baby Boomer women are caught between their children and many are caring for their “Greatest Generation” parents. Accordingly, their time is limited.
- They resent authority. You may be the expert, but approach them as being part of their team. They like to be in control.
- They are lifelong learners. Their love of learning and desire to be in control means that combining financial services with education is appealing to them. But, again, keep it short – they’re busy.
- They want quality of life as they age. Demonstrate how your products can help them achieve their dreams.
- Boomer women are the first generation of American women who have, in large numbers, made their own money. Many have to manage their retirement in a more hands-on manner than their mothers did.
- They don’t want to feel like they are being “sold to”, rather they want to know the benefits not just features of products – they want and need to know how a financial plan can solve their problems and needs.
- They are smart. They know what they want and are not afraid to pay for it. This generation reacts to “stories” so stories must be told to them about how financial planning will solve their problems and needs.
- They own Smartphones and tablets as well as PC’s. They have an online presence and in fact 60% are active on social media sites. They will search the Internet and Social Media to research a product or service before making a decision to purchase. And, they trust testimonials more than a “sales pitch”.
Generation X Women (born between 1964 and 1981)
According to Financial Planning, “Gen X grew up with less economic and family security than the Baby Boomers. Oftentimes, they grew up in households with divorced or two working parents. Despite being labeled “skeptical,” “cynical” and “slackers” in their youth, Gen Xers have stepped up and generally take responsibility for their own well-being. The advent of personal computers and the Internet made them a tech-savvy generation.”
Generation X women are socially conscious. To attract this generation financial advisors and financial services companies would do well to adapt their corporate social responsibility to be more of a business imperative – not just a “branding” exercise. Generation X will work with companies that they believe are “giving back” to their communities.
Additionally, to attract Generation X an organization must appeal to their sense of individuality and not be too promotional or “salesy”.
Generation Y women (Millennials) (born between 1982 and 2004)
According to Census figures, there are 60 million Millennials in America, and half are women. Specifically millennial women are known for being highly ambitious, educated, optimistic, dedicated, and are attempting to thrive in a well-rounded lifestyle. Millennials are now the largest population cohort in America.
This is the first generation to have grown up having the Internet as an integral part of their lives – they are “Digital Natives”.
According to USNews “Millennials have been handed a daunting set of financial circumstances: underemployment or unemployment, high student debt, a slow-growth economy and fewer chances for traditional career advancement. Having witnessed the financial meltdown of 2008 and the devastation of many older family members’ retirement, home equity and hopes, Millennials are wary.”
Millennials do not believe the safety net of Social Security will be their reality. That said, given a difficult set of circumstances Millennials are still optimistic about their financial future but half of them live pay check to pay check and do not save. This is an opportunity for financial institutions as they can develop a robust social media campaign that crosses a variety of platforms to educate and inform Millennials of savings and investment opportunities.
Digital marketing is the way to attract the Millennial Generation. Put simply, modern consumers (Millennials) expect their financial and insurance advisors to truly know, understand and empower them, and that means digital. For decades marketers have asked “What’s the ROI of our marketing effort“. This is a generation that is asking “What is MY return on MY investment in doing business with this company?”
This post is the “tip of the iceberg” regarding how to work with women of various generations…For more detailed methodologies and strategies download my White Paper “Capturing Your Share of The Women’s Market”. Please contact me with any questions and I look forward to your comments and ideas.