When it comes to DIY, women are a hugely untapped market. They constitute 50% of the adult population and often make the vast majority of household buying decisions. But a stroll through the aisles of any home improvement chain store shows that they’re not the ones being marketed to—or at least not being marketed to correctly.
Times are changing though, and manufacturers and distributors who make the effort to target female DIYers in a strategic and thoughtful manner will quickly see returns.
Women Are A Gender, Not a Color
There are some recent and somewhat notorious examples of nationally- and internationally-recognized brand names who attempted to build market share among women by releasing female-targeted products. But “shrink it and pink it” isn’t an effective product development strategy, and women are increasingly impatient with brands who think that way.
While some women may enjoy a bit of fun with pink novelty products, when it comes to DIY, they realize pretty quickly that novelty doesn’t cut it, and they won’t be shy about asking for functional products and support or walking away from the brand entirely.
Brands who are really interested in reaching more female DIYers need to be prepared to do their research when building female buyer personas and customer journeys and then developing effective customer segmentation. They should consider all the same factors they do when building general personas, including:
- Geographic location
- Type of home
- Preferred buying channels
- Culturegraphics (passions, phase of life, etc.)
Go Where the Women Are
Marketing 101 says there are 4 Ps to marketing:
Since the vast majority of manufacturers and dealers aren’t going to offer female-centric DIY products or adjust their pricing, the best area to start on is “place.” Understanding consumer behavior, including where to find them, will help build an effective marketing strategy. And if women aren’t walking the aisles of the hardware store, then dealers will have to go to them.
The good news is, since they don’t always feel comfortable in brick and mortar stores, many women get their DIY advice online. DIY blogs targeted to women have thousands and sometimes millions of followers, and run the whole spectrum from providing home decor advice to how to completely remodel a house from the studs up.
One way to gain visibility is to partner with female DIY bloggers. Many may already be using your products and would be happy to chat or provide an endorsement about why they like it, and share projects they’ve successfully completed with those products or services in the past.
But while online marketing placement is a great way to reach new audiences, face-to-face interaction is still a key component of building lasting relationships. Dealers looking to grow a presence among local female markets can consider offering female-specific, hands-on workshops and tutorials, or look to partner with local organizations who already do.
Know Your Demographics
Much of your market research and product development strategies will apply across all genders. So while there may not be a ton of information available about female DIYers specifically, make sure you know their demographics in general and how they prioritize and plan for their DIY projects. Or partner with an industry-focused research firm to have research done on your female customer base.
For example, recent research comparing the three different adult generations (millennials, generation X and baby boomers) found the following terms best described each group of customers:
- Millennials: Price-conscious, value seekers, hardware store shoppers, most frequent online shoppers and purchasers, most active with social media, need ‘how to’s’.
- Gen-X: Price-driven (competitive prices), value convenience, need product information, strong online shoppers and purchasers, looking for “sale” prices, active with social media.
- Boomers: Least price-driven, big box shoppers, seek out available and knowledgeable employees, want a wide selection of products, heavy ad users.
When building a female-focused marketing strategy, these characteristics will apply across age groups. So if your goal is to target female millennials, build a strategy that includes online education and possibly even e-commerce, competitive pricing and helpful support in brick and mortar stores.
Know Their Priorities
Along with understanding a customer’s preferred sales channels, know what types of projects your target customers are undertaking and why. For example, our market research shows that younger home remodelers are more concerned about home health risks than older ones.
They’re more conscious of issues like:
- Moisture intrusion
- Mold growth
- Indoor air quality
- Poor ventilation
If your company’s goal is to target female DIYers under 40, then offering practical solutions to addressing these concerns may be more effective than offering it to potential female customers over 40, who seem to prioritize home health less.
Other trends in home improvement include:
- Home automation
- Energy efficiency
- Renewable energy
- Water efficiency and conservation
Do The Work
By building high-quality, well-researched customer segments, suppliers can be confident they’ve built a message that will resonate with their target market. Women DIYers aren’t that different from their male counterparts; they just haven’t been sold to in a way that speaks to them or had a user experience that resonates with them.
For more information on market research that will help you better understand this untapped target market, visit The Farnsworth Group.