A woman’s influence on the financial service category is strong, with 93 percent (or approximately 148 million women) saying they have complete or some influence on the financial services purchase decision. According to a recent Prudential Research Study, women are more in control of their finances than ever. They’re also earning more advanced degrees, filling more leadership roles at work and earning higher salaries than ever before. While 53 percent of women are primary breadwinners, they’re facing a number of challenges when it comes to financial decision-making.
Some firms have, indeed, taken notice. Citigroup, for example, offers a service called Women & Co, which links finance information/resources to various aspects of her life including: career, family, home and lifestyle. Similarly, Prudential has a Women & Money Sector, which includes a “Manage Family & Relationships” resource. While it’s promising that these companies are recognizing the need for such specializations, the question remains: Are they talking to her effectively?
Insights in Marketing, LLC, a marketing research consultancy based in the Chicago area, believes financial services businesses are struggling to effectively communicate with women. In our survey of 1,300 women and 200 men about which of the top brands effectively market their products and services, only 4 percent of women say Charles Schwab markets their products/services effectively to them and, only 3 percent say TD Ameritrade markets their products/services effectively to them. According to the Harvard Business Review, the financial services industry is the least sympathetic industry to women—and one in which companies stand to gain the most if they can change their approach.
Women have different needs, values and personalities. Insights in Marketing defined five different psychological profiles (FBI ProfilesTM) that women fall under, and each of those profiles is designed to help businesses communicate more effectively with women. For example, a Profile 1 woman accounts for 26 percent of all women, and is the profile most engaged in the financial services category. These women have the highest household income and image, premium quality and convenience are important to her.
When it comes to finance, these women are more likely than others to:
- Stay up to date by reading financial news/financial publications
- Discuss her knowledge of the industry with others and recommend products/services she likes to other people, but also likes learning about financial products or services from others
- Save her money for a specific purpose
- Have others seek her advice when it comes to financial matters
- And most importantly, she finds the rollercoaster (ups and downs) of the financial markets exciting, and is more willing to take risks when investing in hopes of a high return on investment
So how do you win her loyalty?
First, financial services organization need to show her that they recognize the need to talk to her directly. Let her know that you care about her needs and want to help. You should also:
- Make her feel important and valued (don’t talk down to her). She is smart & savvy
- Exhibit stellar customer service; make her feel important and special
- She is busy so save her time
- Show her how your product/service fits easily and conveniently into her life. For example, show her the ease and capabilities available via her smartphone
- Simplify your offerings. Provide easy quality measures or comparisons on the bank’s website, and explain what separates your bank from other brands. If not, she will find it on someone else’s site
- Make sure the sales team is well trained to identify her sensitivities
- Explain any service benefits, such as first-time service discounts, perks/rewards, etc. Assure her that you are at her disposal and always available to help her. Small gestures will go a long way
Women offer an enormous opportunity for those in the financial services industry, but first, you must know what she wants and how to give it to her. Start a dialogue today, and you may discover your most loyal customer, yet.
Emily Doubet is the Consumer Intelligence Manager at Insights in Marketing. She has more than 8 years of supplier-side marketing research experience and has worked with some of the world’s leading brands at both the domestic and global levels.
To learn more about Insights in Marketing and their Female Behavioral Insight Profiles (FBI ProfilesTM) visit insightsinmarketing.com. For more ideas on how to elevate your marketing to women, download Insights in Marketing’s latest eBook “Getting Women to Buy: Better Insights to Transform Your Marketing” here.