I was fortunate enough to get to the television before my kids the other day. It’s almost a contest to see who can get up, dressed and in front of the television first. Breakfast in hand, of course. As I flipped from the Disney channel to CNN, I was greeted with some updated facts regarding an old topic with relevance to the marine industry.
In a segment titled “Banking on women in recession,” CNN reported that nearly 78 percent of the four million people who have lost jobs in “the first year of the recession” have been men. That’s 3.12 million men, as of mid March, who have lost their jobs. The journalist also rattled off a few other facts, such as that which outlined that women make 80 percent of the buying decisions when it comes to household items.
Historically, the marine industry has had its share of trouble catering to the women who may not be the ones to sign on the dotted line but who so deeply influence discretionary purchases. CNN’s feature spoke of how women used to be considered by many as a “niche” market, but that their decision-making power is greater than ever today.
The power of women as an influential decision maker in the household has long been a concept that industries just don’t understand. And it’s not just boating, either.
One of the daycare providers at my children’s preschool had her mind set on a special edition Dodge Challenger when these retro muscle cars first hit the market. She waited patiently, shopped the entire nation online, and when she found the deal she wanted, she put her husband in the passenger seat and drove a full day from Minneapolis to Michigan to buy the black beauty.
She paid for the car with her own money, and when the deal was closed and she was ready to take her new car on the long drive home, the sales guy stood up and handed the keys to her husband. I think she would have been happier with a slap in the face.
Examples of this abound. The point is that we in the marine industry have an opportunity to change the way we do business in this regard. It’s time to reformat our thinking. It’s time to re-tool our marketing and refocus how we’re approaching our prospects.
Today’s savvy marketers are “going girly” with their messages, CNN reported. Volkswagon and Frito-Lay have gone “girl crazy,” while Office Depot has changed dramatically in who its marketing messages target.
Bottom line, CNN reports, is that women have higher quality expectations and want more variety. What does that mean for their boating experience and, closer to home, what does it mean for your business?