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Author: Purnima Thakre

Marketing to Women

Women hold an immense amount of buying power, driving an estimated 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions. Yet research shows that 91% of women believe advertisers don’t understand them.

Market to women

At refine+focus, we’ve worked with both large and small brands to help them succeed at marketing to women. The catch? It’s not just about marketing to women—it’s about marketing to a specific customer segment that you’re trying to target. Our experience has taught us that it all boils down to listening and learning.

Via Unsplash

tips to get started

Be authentic. According to Forbes, “Brands that integrate real women’s stories into their messaging in an authentic way have the best chance of making an impact.” Create messaging that resonates by using the voices of everyday women to tell real stories. Letting them speak in their own style and voice will help you avoid delivery that feels too commercial. 

Avoid generalizations. “Shrink it and pink it” won’t cut it anymore. Harvard Business Review found that there are six key female consumer segments, most of them based more on behavior than age. Many women are not mothers, don’t have husbands, work full time—in other words, exist outside of stereotypes, and marketers would do well to target them specifically. 

via Harvard Business Review

Segment further based on demographic and psychographic background. Market considering intersectionality—categories like home life, schooling, roles at work, and caregiving are all facets of a woman’s life, not to mention race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. Show the complexity and the wide range of situations that women face so that they feel represented at all levels. Check out this great article from UN Women to learn more about marketing positive gender portrayals during COVID-19.

Build women into the product. Women still have trouble finding jeans that fit, yet they represent over $20 trillion in consumer spending and make 70-80% of the purchasing decisions in the household, according to statistics by Harvard Business Review. The design of a product built for women should reflect that, and go even further by considering a particular segment or persona.

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Use online platforms (particularly influencers). Influencers have an established bond with their followers, and women influencers know how to use that bond to reach women in a genuine way. Find an influencer that aligns with your target segment and allow her to use her unique communication style to market the product in a way that resonates. Another platform to consider is Pinterest, which according to Martech Advisors reaches “83% of women aged 25–54 in the U.S.” On top of that, 71% of users identify as female, making this platform women-dominated and a rising star in advertising.

Empower women holistically, not selectively. Everlane is known for being inclusive in its underwear and lingerie lines, but faces criticism for using typically skinny models for its other products. These kinds of discrepancies don’t go unnoticed—they shape the way that women understand and interact with a brand. Inclusivity and empowerment are more than just marketing for profit: they have social and material effects. Women want to know that a brand is genuine in its approach to empowerment, and they’ll look for it in every facet of that brand. 

Via Empowered Women Series

try it yourself

Ultimately, marketing to women, like marketing to any segment, requires listening and learning. Follow these tips to make sure you don’t fall back on dated and misguided techniques, but approach women as they really are—unique individuals with their own pains, gains, and needs. Having trouble? Check out our Empowered Women Series for inspiration, or shoot us an email at—we’d love to help.

want to learn more?

We all know that marketing to women isn’t about “pink it and shrink it.” Yet many of us, especially marketers, are scrambling to understand the best ways to gain insight and develop compelling approaches to reaching women—approaches that are authentic and effective. Check out our latest Live Session to hear Zach and Purnima share their POV and answer your questions on this important topic. From 16+ years of experience, they’ll share what works for them.

Plan for Your Strategic Plan

You show up. Lighting strikes. Suddenly, in one week of brilliance, you and your team complete an amazing strategic plan without any issues. You’re the hero!

We all know this seldom happens. Real life happens. Information is incomplete. People don’t pay attention in meetings. Major conflicts surface. What you thought you were solving for has changed—and you didn’t get the memo.

You can avoid this. You can de-risk your planning process by “planning the plan.”


Planning the Plan

Start a month or so before strategic planning begins. Involve the right stakeholders and ask what they need from the strategic plan. Envision what stands in their way. What are the essential conversations you must have to make everyone’s time worthwhile? How much information and insight can you gather before you begin?

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The more preplanning you do, the more you ensure your success. That’s why we’ve created a checklist. When you’ve accomplished each item, not only will you de-risk the meeting, but you’ll also create clarity for everyone in attendance. They’ll know what the process expects from them, and you’ll know what they expect of you.

Want proof? Ask two people involved in your strategic planning process about what results the plan should produce for them. Compare.

Via Unsplash


More likely than not, they’re lacking alignment. That’s when you’ll want this checklist—and that’s why we’re offering a 1-hour live “planning the plan” workshop, at no cost while we refine our offering. Bring up to three of your colleagues, and we’ll provide innovation tools and thought exercises to enhance your planning process. We only have three spots available, so if you’re interested, let us know at

As you’re thinking about strategy, enjoy this great presentation on the Future-Back approach, which is the same kind of thinking we’re employing in our workshop.


Consider the groundwork

Set yourself up for success: plan for the plan. Reach out to us at to apply for one of our limited no-cost sessions and see the power of what we’re doing.

“This workshop has been very helpful for my team to consider the groundwork we need to complete prior to launching the planning process. Ultimately, I learned that we can make the process and the product much more engaging and enduring if we take the time to set the foundation properly. Excellent!”

More on Planning the Plan

Check out our Lunchtime Live session on how to use innovation tools to build your strategic plan. Zach and Purnima have helped their clients from Fortune 100 to Startups plan the plan.

Empowered Women: Finding Story Behind the Story with Jody Seay

Most of us wish we could write well, many of us want to write a book. Not many of us know how-to and where-to start or what-to-do.

That’s why award winning author Jody Seay, awesome person that she is, shares her experience of writing. So that we can learn and may be write a book on our own. One day.

Jody credits her late mother for kindling her love for storytelling. As an accomplished author, she takes every opportunity to learn more about the people who inspire her essays and books. By taking upon a genuine interest in others and being passionate in everything she does, Jody has been awarded for a wide range of career successes.

Listen to Jody discuss how to look for the “story behind the story” and how that mindset helped her create her newest book, Almost a Murder. The less obvious story is the one that “touches people’s hearts.”

When we dig a little deeper, we often enhance our understanding of whom we are talking to, and we become better communicators. Armed with empathy, we may become stronger writers.

What story, event, or article are you going to explore more deeply today? May be even write a story about it?


#empoweredwomen #womenprofessionals #stories #career #empoweredwomenseries #career #careerdevelopment #writing #author #authenticity #empoweredwomenempowerwomen


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