For tips on appealing to women, new marketing book is perfect for nonprofits


October 03, 1994|By LESTER A. PICKER

For years now, I've depended on the work of a women-owned company called About Women Inc. for insights into women's product preferences and their attitudes toward products and services. President E. Janice Leeming and Vice President Cynthia F. Tripp have established themselves as experts in this burgeoning field. I've reviewed their excellent monthly publication, Marketing to Women, in this column before.

A few weeks ago, Leeming and Tripp's new book, "Segmenting the Women's Market," appeared on my desk. Within days, our staff had read it, passed it along to our direct-mail vendor and shared sections with a client. That has become the pattern with every publication this company puts out.

"Segmenting the Women's Market" is a must read for every nonprofit, or commercial business, dealing with women. Its 13 chapters conveniently segment women into every conceivable niche, including teens, twenty- and thirtysomethings, late boomers, mature women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, the affluent, working women, homemakers, mothers and singles.

The variety and depth of information presented by the authors are exceptional. Each chapter begins with an overview of the market segment. The reader is then led through increasing detail. For example, the chapter on late boomers begins by telling us this market, women ages 45 to 54, will experience the greatest growth in the 1990s, and will reach the peak of their earning power.

After summarizing the economic characteristics of women in this group, Leeming and Tripp give us detail on their marital relationships, parenting, education, work habits, affluence, willingness to spend money, preparation for menopause and a host of other details that are invaluable in preparing programs that are geared to reaching this segment.

As in all their publications, the authors make their points based on solid research and marketing studies. They report on work done by various private and public research groups, always citing the sources so readers can obtain the originals for more in-depth analysis, which I always recommend, especially if critical decisions are based on these studies.

Interspersed throughout the book are clear and concise graphs, tables and charts, all designed to provide the reader with a snapshot of the major points.

The strength of "Segmenting the Women's Market" is also its greatest weakness. While the overall effect of the book is to highlight this important market, I was left at many points wishing that the authors had elaborated more on specific topics.

In fact, as a male I found myself wanting lots more information on specific market segments. The late boomers chapter alone warrants an entire book.

As with their immensely helpful newsletter, the authors take time to explain to the reader how the marketing studies they summarize apply to marketing decisions.

As an example, Leeming and Tripp end their thirtysomethings chapter with a point-by-point section titled "How to Reach Thirtysomethings." The 14 bulleted items alone are worth the price of the book to those responsible for marketing to that age group.

I found nearly every one of the how-tos applicable to nonprofits designing client programs or volunteer experiences, which might more effectively draw thirtysomethings into volunteer work.

Beyond the immediately applicable, the book should be useful to nonprofit marketers who see the benefits of keeping on the forward wave of trends.

"Segmenting the Women's Market" ($32.50) is available from About Women Inc. Orders can be placed at (617) 723-4337.

Les Picker is a philanthropy consultant. Write to him at The Brokerage, 34 Market Place, Suite 331, Baltimore, Md. 21202; (410) 783-5100

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