Women must be in key leadership roles to win in today’s marketplace

Business woman 2by Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

The following entry is a personal viewpoint. The only stats to back me up are my own, unique experiences and outlook (and a smidgen or two of research data). The main point – there needs to be more women in key, leadership roles. I look across the business landscape, from our clients to our industry (branding and advertising) and businesses in general, there is a major flaw in the make up of the company and the customers they serve. It is common knowledge that women ARE the market in B2C and are becoming a more dominate player in B2B (remember, women owned businesses total more than 10 million in the U.S. alone). With that in mind, shouldn’t  a company’s internal make up reflect the customers they serve? Mainly women.

Here’s my point, if your brand serves the women market and women are important to success, your org chart should reflect your customer base. Yes, I do believe men can learn to market to women (I take pride in being a student of this), but there are intrinsic insights that only women have that we men naturally don’t have. The main insight is behavior. Women know the “why” behind the behavior, while men only see the what the behavior is. The difference is Anticipation vs Reaction. Seeing the behavior is after the fact. When marketing to women, I would rather anticipate their behaviors and have a deep understanding of why they behave as they do. This allows brands to connect in an authentic way from the outset instead of making missteps and having to apologize or change their communications in order to get it right. This causes distrust and makes women feel you are less than genuine about their needs.

Another important reason for having your company reflect your customers is it makes Cents (no, that’s not a typo). If you are selling hunting gear, I understand why most of your company’s top level management is male dominated and full of hunting and outdoor enthusiasts. So, doesn’t it make sense if your customer base is women, your key positions needs to be filled with those who are just like your customers? Women dominate over 85% of all purchasing across the board in consumer purchases. The percentage in the B2B world will soon reach this mark as well. A brand that is women-centric must start within. The key is, it must be strategic, not just a “women’s program”. If it doesn’t, then all they are doing is “white washing” their image. This will do more harm than good in the long run. Once you lose the trust of women, it’s extremely difficult (and expensive) to woo them back.

The bonus of having more women in key positions is they are just as adapt in selling to and working with men. With men, you generally get half of the equation. They can sell and work with other men, but have a difficult time selling to women.

I will go back to the beginning for the ending – If your brand serves women, then your company needs to reflect this internally. Women must be dominate players in your corporate structure. It just makes dollars and sense. As the saying goes, you wouldn’t trust a skinny cook, would you?



About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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