Published: August 30, 2022 | Updated: August 30, 2022

NIA — Women of Impact in their words: How to market to women who shop

Marilee Wallace

Marilee Wallace

The North Idaho Alliance, AKA NIA, wants you to know it’s OK to admit you like to shop. In fact we suggest that you get a glass of wine while reading this (unless you grabbed the morning addition!) and curl up in that chair of yours, open your marketplace browser, and go for it!

You won’t be shopping alone. Us ladies make up 75-80 percent of buying decisions either by influence or actually pushing the “buy it” button. The “Female economy” was estimated by Forbes in 2021 to be worth $21 trillion and continues to grow. These numbers show the crucial role women play in keeping the economy afloat — in good times and bad, which cycle we are now in is a bit of a mystery to most (a crystal ball would be nice eh?)

Over the past decade, businesses have fine-tuned their marketing by understanding women have become savvier, better educated and better paid (financially independent) than they ever have been in history making them a very powerful force to the world economy. Women demand more attention to quality products, superior customer service, respectful negotiations and competitive pricing or we are willing to walk — preferably in amazing shoes we found on sale.

Women are responsible for well over half of household decisions, especially in non-essentials, which might include items like décor and linens but also bigger ticket items as in lighting, furniture, cabinets and appliances. We also play a very significant role in real estate transactions. A 2022 profile of homebuyers and sellers reported, “19% of first-time home buyers and 17% of repeat home buyers were single women” making up 36% of the buying power whereas men in these categories make up only 20%.

Women impact health care, financial investments, travel and entertainment decisions. Our buying power has literally updated the ad-old age phrase “money talks” to “Honey, money rocks” and where women are spending it, business and marketing trends are sprinting to stay one-step ahead (again, we hope with amazing shoes on!)

A 2021 Forbes article stated there are a few key points to capture women’s attention in marketing. Let’s see if we agree:

Use marketing content to foster community building trust

Women thrive in a community and fostering one from a marketing perspective builds trust, so audience’s loyalty will grow. Think about a product you love and why you love it. You are willing to share this with other women and they are thrilled you did because they wondered about it too. It’s marketing success 101 — referrals from a trusted source. It’s why you like and share on social media. It’s why you booked that vacation location that a friend just got back from. It’s the reason you choose your pediatrician — from trusted source that is part of your network, your culture. When companies can get you to include them in your community conversations, your loyalty is uncompromised.

Expand inclusively and collaborate with women

Inclusivity doesn’t mean just marketing to women, and marketing to women doesn’t just mean marketing to one type of woman. Effective marketing is about embracing all people who identify as women and we women come from all sizes, ages and backgrounds. Thinking outside the one-dimensional marketing box is a must for companies to reach more women. It may sound like a no-brainer, but to do this, companies need to collaborate with…women! Marketing research should be with a broad (no pun intended) diversity of women invited into your brainstorming conversations. Think, “Brand inclusively,” yes. Consumer inclusively, no.

Challenge female taboos

Menopause. Sex. Periods. Breastfeeding. Depression. PMS. Bitch. Know it all. Broke. Breakdown. We just “don’t go there.” Sound familiar? Embarrassing topics, all. Sensitive topics, all. Awkward and often taboo topics are passed over by marketing experts and this non-approach needs to change. Not that we need to air all our daily laundry that’s OK and healthy to talk about these topics and by recognizing that they exist for nearly every woman on the planet can help introduce positivity and normalization into a company’s marketing message. Simply having a discussion on these topics when branding a marketing message at a meeting can add texture and depth to a companies overall approach to reaching women.

Finally, reach women with respect

Aretha said it best. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. We all deserve it. We often don’t get it. Women-owned businesses generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenue every year. As we have discovered, 75-80% of spending decisions are influenced directly by women and today’s female consumers have more power than ever. But to continue helping women move forward, marketers must work together to accurately and fairly represent female customers in advertising by using language and actions that market to us an authentic product message which is crafted and delivered with genuine respect.

With these few marketing strategies as we have discovered, today’s female consumers have more power than ever. But to continue helping women move forward, marketers must work together to accurately and fairly represent female customers with advertising in mind, I think we can agree businesses can successfully build a solid foundation that will navigate marketing to women today, and tomorrow — wherever that may take us.

I know where I’m going today. I’m going shopping!

The Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable meets once a month for a nine-month series, and we base our monthly agenda on the word IMPACTED. We will begin our next series Sept. 28 and meet monthly though May. To see the lineup of our monthly topics and to get details or view additional programs NIA is offering to Impact women in our region, please visit our registration page at or join

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Marilee Wallace, IOM, president/CEO of the North Idaho Alliance Women of Impact.


Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable event information.