Five marketing lessons from women who decide differently



One of the conundrums in marketing is to figure out what are the deciding factors that will get a buyer to actually buy.


A lot of behavioral and psychological research has already gone into understanding on a retail level how men and women shoppers decide differently.


One of the most common tendencies observed in men is their “mission, task-oriented approach” to shopping. They spend less time, shop for specific items and may purchase more than one of the same  item.


By comparison, women tend to be “discovery-oriented” shoppers – they spend more time, consider more options, and easily switch to other purchase areas.


In 2005, these differences were not wasted on Deloitte LLP, a worldwide consulting firm. Their marketing model was failing to secure business with potential clients including women. This was despite the fact they already had an internal program to promote more women into management.


Here’s what Deloitte discovered:


  • An internal corporate survey of senior managers revealed a predominant attitude that selling to women is different.
  • Brain research indicates gender differences are less for cognition and intelligence but greater for decision-making.
  • Labor statistics revealed women already held more than half of all managerial and professional positions and 41% were in decision-making positions.
  • If they were going to succeed, it required a shift away from a male understanding of women in decision-making roles. 
  • Rather than focus on gender differences, Deloitte’s outlook was to understand gender “tendencies.” 

When it comes to deciding factors, the tendency is for women to take a different approach than their male counterparts.


Deciding Factors


– Women may actually increase and explore other options with collaborating experts.

– Women are more inclined to hear the thoughts from everyone involved and expand solution possibilities and evaluation.

– Women want to hear ideas, determine important points and seek more detailed information if needed.

– Women want to meet with team counterparts where social interaction is a key part of their discovery process.

– Women are looking for a more integrative approach with a larger solution that may include social consciousness.

Deloitte readily admits retraining their staff to understand gender and individual tendencies in decision-making have positively impacted business and client relationships.


Five marketing lessons that can change the way you do business


  1. Recognize that marketing is shifting to accommodate more women in decision-making roles.
  2. Be aware that women have a tendency to have a different set of deciding factors when evaluating and making purchases.
  3. There is a greater potential to influence and increase decisions by addressing the deciding factors early on.
  4. Marketers can profit by having the versatility to meet the needs of both “task-oriented” and discovery-oriented” decision makers.
  5. Women decision-makers can feel comfortable and confident knowing they can follow the tendencies that work best for them.


What are your deciding factors when it comes to making decisions?