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CE: A Female Perspective

By Kathryn Baird and Kim Hiltac 

We’ve been reflecting on our exhilarating experience last month at International CES 2009.  And we’re not talking about the good time that we had in Las Vegas (though we did have one!).  We mean the electronics that literally made our eyes pop as we wandered the halls.  In our view, CE manufacturers have hit a home run this year.  They’ve developed products that provide a tremendous opportunity to connect with women and truly enhance their lives.

It’s pretty well-known that women purchase more than half of all CE products and influence 90 percent of all major home purchases. If you can get a female consumer to love you, they will not only be loyal but they’ll also tell their friends about you. Mobilizing this powerful group of spenders — even in a down economy — can drive the future of the industry.

In our households, we are the chief financial officers, schedulers, chauffeurs, personal shoppers and nurses.  With each decision we make for our homes and families, we ask ourselves:  Will this make our lives easier? Better?  Save time?  Joyously, the CE industry is really making our lives easier!  With the introduction of broadband and wireless television and an exciting variety of whole-home solutions, the industry has begun to offer products that not only appeal to the female consumer, but impact their day-to-day lives in a powerful, positive way.

How do manufacturers and retailers tap into this powerful consumer mindset?  Last summer, we conducted focus groups with women throughout the country to answer that question.  We wanted to better understand a female’s purchase process, what drives her purchase decisions and, most importantly, what she’s looking for in a shopping experience for big-ticket items.  The women we spoke with were not short of opinions.

The greatest lesson from our focus group research was this:  Don’t talk.  Listen.  Listen to what she’s looking for and what’s going on in her life.  Then, speak her language in one-on-one conversations, in your ads and on your Web sites.  Would broadband TV present more opportunities to bring her family together?  Does the solution you offer save her time or lower her day-to-day stress?  It’s most impactful to discuss the product benefits, and not just the features.  Men love to talk about features, but women want the bigger picture on benefits.  They want you to help them zone in on the net result of the technology.  

Show her what all of these technological advancements mean, and how they can help her have a better life for herself and her loved ones.  Listen and give her a great shopping experience, and you’ll have a loyal customer for life.

Kathryn Baird and Kim Hiltachk of Torus Marketing provide consultation services and for clients such as BrandSource, as well as and many other companies and organizations over the past two decades. Contact [email protected], [email protected] or visit