Benefits, please

Seventy percent of women in the US are part of the workforce, but 91% still take full responsibility for household tasks.

Seventy percent of women in the US are part of the workforce, but 91% still take full responsibility for household tasks.

Breadwinner, wife, mother, maid, chef, and chauffeur – women have been wearing different hats for decades, so what's different now? According to Time magazine, nearly 4 in 10 working women earn more than their husbands, but their responsibilities at home have not lightened up significantly.

Most days, women barely have time to shave their legs, let alone read between the lines when it comes to product benefits. Yet companies continually miss the mark when marketing to women.

In fact, one study found that 91% of women felt that advertisers don't understand them at all. I was interested to find out more, so I asked Aliza Freud of SheSpeaks to share her thoughts on the topic.

“Marketers sometimes forget the type of dialogue women want. At the end of the day, women don't care about features, they care about benefits,” she said. All too often, brands get caught up in technology and ingredients because they're rightfully proud of their R&D.

But while they engage in a claims war versus the competition trying to one-up each other on product features, they forget that all we want to know is what a product can do for us.

Perhaps this helps to explain why only 50% of women consider themselves to be brand loyalists. So what do women really want? We want to know that a lotion will make us look younger, a drink will help us get thinner, or a device will help us have better sex.

How can marketers speak our language better? They can tell us how their brand can simplify our lives. They can tell us how their product will save us time so we can spend more of it with our husbands, children, friends, or even ourselves.

The companies that are the most successful and will continue to do well are those that most clearly communicate product benefits rather than features – it really is that simple.

This three-part blog series is based on a P&G Alumni Network panel discussion held on June 27 in NYC. The panel titled “Are Women the Key to Fixing the Economy?” was developed and moderated by Maureen Lippe, founder and CEO of Lippe Taylor, an integrated communications agency that specializes in “why and how women buy.”  The panel included Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central, Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks, and Jen Drexler, co-founder of Just Ask A Woman and VP of Insight Strategy Group.  

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