Is your firm a used car salesman?
In the Nielsen Company’s article, “When it Comes to Spending Decisions, Women are In Control,” we learn an age-old truth: women and men are different. In fact, when it comes to effective relationship-building strategies men and women employ are very different. Barbra and Allen Pease’s book Why Men don’t Listen and Women can’t Read Maps brilliantly discusses the evolutionary basis underlying men and women’s different needs. One may also refer to Beyond Philosophy’s blog post on how to address male responses to stress versus those of women.
But nobody really needs to read a book to uncover the realities known through day-to-day experience. I would be lying if I told you I am responsible for the majority of financial decisions in my own home. My wife, Lorraine, is the real chief financial officer of our household. I earn the money and she decides where, when and how to best allocate it. All around the world, women’s positions in society are changing. More and more women, like my wife, are responsible for the bulk of household spending decisions.
Nielsen’s article hits the nail on the head: women and men are different. Women use different media and technology platforms, need audience-targeted products, and ultimately make different purchasing decisions than men. But how do gender-differences translate into a model of building a customer experience based on trust?
Poor customer experiences cost money. Using the wrong psychometrics to gauge customer experience is the wellspring of poor customer experience. Are you confident your firm is attuned to the reality of the differences between men and women? The classic example of the used car salesman illustrates how you do not want your firm to position itself in the rapidly expanding market of women consumers.
A husband and wife decide it’s time to make a major purchase—their first family car. As young starlit newlyweds, they are a little bit short on cash so they decide to buy a “pre-owned” car. The couple approaches a used car salesman and explains that the wife wishes to buy a car for her use. The used-car salesman takes them through the lot. The couple eyes several models they like and take one for a test drive. The wife, the husband and the used-car salesman pack into the car. The wife drives the test car. The used car salesman sits in the back seat with the husband and says to him, “So how do you like the car?” The husband looks forward at his wife in the rear view mirror and sees her roll her eyes. Now more than ever, women are in the driver’s seat. So, is your firm a used car salesman?
Building upon the tried and true technique of using psychographic factors to gauge emotional segmentation, Nielsen outlines the following five keys to better engage with women:
- Invest in her tomorrow.
- Ease her worry.
- Give her back time.
- Earn her trust.
- Connect to the bigger picture.
We use a more sophisticated approach when we use Moment Mapping® as a tool to design new experiences, but this is a good start.
The results are clear: to be successful in the face of a changing market, customer experience must respect the subconscious emotional needs of both male and female customers.