Sheconomy.  The Third Billion.  Influence-Hers.

Obviously, all three slogans tout the importance of women as consumers – and their major role in buying products and services. 

In fact, the numbers do astound:  Women account for 80 percent of buying decisions (though that statistic has been debated of late).  One-third out-earn their husbands.   Forty-four percent are NFL fans.  Et cetera. 

In targeting this group, marketers, through much trial and error, have discovered that women buy differently.  [Duh.]  Loyalty counts.   Explanations are critical.  Social networking makes large inroads into their decisions and preferences.  Once converted, they’re evangelistic and tend to spend more. 

Specific programs from the Dells and Midases of the world, though, have faltered.  Why?  Because originally these companies talked “female,” prettifying, almost downscaling information.  Others have learned the hard way that a woman scorned will resort to viral networking to broadcast contrarian messages. 

Dealing with internal change is different. 

We’ll argue that, today, genders don’t need to catered to as separate stakeholder groups. After all, the lines between the sexes have been blurred.  Men have nearly equal say on spend.  Roles and traditions have flipped.  Many products are almost agnostic in appealing to different populations.

Opt, instead, for engagement in change.  Before the “it” happens, ask both men and women to weigh in.  Request their opinions.  Show them what happens now and what will occur in the future.  Explain in detail why the change is needed – and solicit their help.  And use that help with all due candor and speed. 

Then:  We bet decisions will be made, along with whole-hearted buy-in.  Sure, segmenting and targeting groups in line with their preferences  and profiles makes sense.  For change to succeed, though, upfront participation counts.  No matter which planet you live on.