The trust factor

Sixty-five percent of women rely on the opinion of friends when making a purchase decision.

Sixty-five percent of women rely on the opinion of friends when making a purchase decision.

I've always been obsessed with cracking the code on what makes women buy one brand and not another. Lately, it seems like the media has started to catch on to what we've known for decades — that women are the key to most buying decisions. Digging deeper, recent statistics show the impact girlfriends have in influencing brand choices. I decided to find out what my peers thought on the subject. Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central shared her belief that the decision to buy is strongly influenced by trust.

“Relationships matter to us, and we assign trust factors to everyone we interact with. Ultimately, the people we trust the most are those who share similar interests, even if those people are complete strangers,” she said.

Word of mouth is not a new concept, but with the rise of social media, women don't have to rely on brands to tell them what to think. They want to hear from real women - “people like me” - who have actually used the product. So whether it's an online product review or a suggestion from a beloved beauty blogger, the higher the assigned trust factor, the more likely a woman is to follow through with a purchase.

So what does this mean for brands? It means that most brands have to rethink their marketing strategy. If trust is the currency that matters to women, brands must find ways to build relationships and establish that trust. How? One way is by creating an authentic community of brand advocates and arming them with tools to share with other women. Another is to invite two-way conversation rather than just talking at them. While social media provides a great opportunity to engage women, it's also possible to rethink the entire marketing mix and see it through the lens of building trust with female consumers.

Here's the bottom line: if brands want to capture and keep the attention of female consumers, they need to develop relationships with them that are based on trust. 

Maureen Lippe is founder and CEO of Lippe Taylor. This three-part blog series is based on a P&G Alumni Network panel discussion held on June 2 in New York City. 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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