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Women in Business ... and as Consumers!

I was at a party on Saturday evening and had a brief conversation with a lady who runs her own business focused on teaching organizations how to sell to women. Cristi Cooke has a very nice practice (Majority Marketing) working with the multitude (majority?) of organizations who don't seem to have it right yet.

Anyone who has read this blog regularly knows that I am a fan of Tom Peters and if you were to spend any time looking at Tom's stuff you would know that women as a potential market is an area he has been focused on for a long time. He explains that in December 1996 a women who was President of his training company set up a meeting with 25 powerful women who described the degree to which women were disregarded as purchasers and leaders. If you go to Tom's website he posts the decks from his presentations and you will invariably find his opinions on this subject, which he has pursued for some 12 years.

A brief Google search brings up expert speakers on the subject like Marti Barletta, who wrote the book "Marketing to Women" and other experts such as Barbara Ashton who starts her web page off with this statement ... "Women are going to control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the coming decade. During this time the segment of the population aged 55-64 will grow 48 percent. The percentage of women in this age group will only increase over the next five years."

I work in the staffing industry which is very women friendly! All of the Canadian operations of the large multinational staffing companies are headed up by powerful women ... Addeco, Manpower, Kelly, Randstad, Drake etc. Women enjoy great success in our industry and yet as a society there is still much for us to learn. My wife, who is President of Eagle, has been listed as one of Canada's most powerful women for the past many years and I hear first hand about the ways in which companies miss the boat when selling to her.

It is probably a shame that we need experts like Cristi Cooke to help us sell to women, but any company that ignores the kind of advice she and people like her can bring is likely missing an opportunity.