Out of the approximately 92 percent of all Americans
ages 12 and up who arereached by
radio each week, the Radio Advertising Bureau reports that more than 90 percent
of women in nearly every age category are listening. Globally, women control
roughly $20 trillion in consumer spending and “drive the world economy,”
according to the Harvard Business Review 2009 article “The Female Economy.”
of the radio industry and leading marketing professionals have a few pearls of
wisdom to offer station managers and advertisers on the best ways to pursue
female listeners. On the top of that list is being practical with the incentives
used to lure women to promotional events, and with the information provided
about a given product.
“Women would really appreciate prizes that help
them save time,” Marti Barletta, author of “Marketing to Women,” told Radio
World. “Instead of offering tickets to a conference, offer a promotion with
Domino’s for free pizza or a maid service.”
modern woman is busy and often needs a rationale to attend an event, Barletta
argues. Another way of attracting women is to offer a learning component, she
“Women are a lot more pragmatic,” said Kathy
Sheehan, executive vice president of GfK Consumer Trends, a research and
marketing firm headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany (Sheehan is based in New
York). “When you talk about innovation, for women it’s much more about ‘show me
how this solves a problem.’ Men are more likely to see innovation for novelty
alone; it’s just the latest and greatest.”
Corinne Baldassano, a programming and
marketing executive at the “Dr. Laura Program,” makes the case for using social
“I don’t think a lot of radio stations really
understand the power of social media,” said Baldassano. Facebook and Pinterest,
in particular, are a great way to engage with women, she said. According to a recent study from PEW, women
are five times more likely to be on Pinterest than men; women are also more
likely to be on Facebook than men.
“Some stations have Facebook pages, but it’s
all promotional — ‘We’re doing this and that.’ You have to connect with the
audience more, particularly with women,” Baldassano said. When promoting Dr.
Laura’s show on social media, she takes care to include clips and information
with which users can interact.
Marketing effectively to women means making
them “feel cool and relevant at any age,” said Heidi Raphael, vice president of
communications at Greater Media and a board member at the National Association
of Broadcasters, in an email to Radio World. In order to do that, Raphael
recommends holding informal focus groups to inform their campaign strategy.
Raphael helps lead the Mentoring and Inspiring
Women in Radio Group, which is dedicated to the advancement of women’s careers in
|This screenshot of Dr. Laura’s Pinterest page
demonstrates social media strategies that can be used to gain your target
important to the practices radio and advertising executives should follow are the ones they
try to get women’s attention by “painting it pink,” says Blaise Howard, general
manager at WBEB(FM).
to appeal to women by exploiting extreme gender stereotypes is an obtuse
technique that actually alienates more than it draws women in.
It’s about time, too, Raphael argues, that the business
move on from sexist gimmicks like booth babes, which remain a fixture at industry
will walk by a trade booth at a trade show — despite how good their product may
be — if having booth babes are the only way they know how to promote their
product or service,” Raphael said.
Despite the facts and
growing understanding that women control the purse strings, not everyone
markets to this demographic with the savvy that they should, Barletta says.
Raising awareness and staying up-to-date on best
practices is a way that radio executives and advertisers can ensure they are
harnessing the airwaves to reach women. Howard has taken that to heart by
creating a website singularly focused on advertising to women.
the tag line “she earns, decides, and buys,” the site acts as a clearinghouse
for statistics on female purchasing power, organized by category of product,
and also chronicles the latest news highlighting research in this space.
awareness campaign, Howard says, has helped advertising clients do a better
One success story Howard points to is a foreign
luxury SUV (he declined to name the brand) that advertised with the station and
decided to lend one of its cars to one of WBEB’s female disc jockeys for
several months, recognizing that women buy the majority of new cars, according
to She-conomy. They created a radio spot using her testimonials from the
experience and subsequently became one of the top sellers of that model in the
region, according to Howard.
The annual Marketing to Women Conference (M2W)
aims to help managers do as its name says; and the conference website, www.m2w.biz, is a resource for finding
leading experts and relevant research.
When it comes down to it, Howard says, if you
aren’t talking to women, “you are missing an entire market. This is a growth
Eliza Krigman is a freelancer writer based in Washington. She has written
for Politico, National Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic and the