The She Spot: Why Women Are the Market for Changing the World-And How to Reach Them

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Offers concrete, field-tested advice for helping nonprofits, social advocacy organizations, and political campaigns connect more effectively with women Includes examples from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors Written by top executives from the largest public interest communication firm in the country The secret to changing the world is hidden in plain sight-in fact, it's half the population. Women vote more, volunteer more, and give to more charities than men do. They control over half of the total wealth in America. Corporations have long recognized the growing power of woman and have been targeting them for years. The She Spot is a practical and provocative primer showing how nonprofits and social change organizations can do it too. Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen reveal surprising insights into women's real social priorities (for example, in one poll only 7% of women identified "protecting reproductive choice," supposedly the women's issue, as a top priority for Congress). They describe four core principles-care, control, connect, and cultivate-for designing messages that will resonate with women of all ages and backgrounds. And using case histories from companies like Home Depot, T-Mobile and Kellogg's as well as nonprofits like MoveOn.org, The American Lung Association and The Environmental Defense Fund, they explain precisely how to put these four principles into practice. This book makes the case that simply painting your marketing campaign "pink" and calling it a day will miss the mark with most women. Witter and Chen show that you can expand your outreach to connect with women in addition to men-think both/and, not either/or. You'll raise more money and recruit more supporters for your cause. In the end, those who hit the "She Spot" claim the power to create a better, brighter world for all of us.

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1 Why Women Matter

ePub

A few years ago our colleagues at Fenton were working to rebrand Infact, a venerable nonprofit organization that burst on the scene more than three decades ago with a successful worldwide boycott of Nestlé. The food giant was aggressively marketing its brand of baby formula to mothers in developing countries. The only problem was, the formula for making the formula—add water and stir—was hurting and, in some cases, killing infants because some local water supplies were too polluted for their young stomachs.

The organization had since developed a formidable track record of forcing major corporations, including Big Tobacco, to the table to reform their abusive business practices. As part of the rebranding process, we asked them who their target audience was. They replied, “women.” Specifically women in their 40s to 60s, because they made up the group’s core funding base and were also their most loyal and active members.

This isn’t true for all nonprofits, of course, but it is for a surprising number of them, including ones that work on issues that are not considered traditional “women’s issues.” The progressive online group, MoveOn.org, for example, has more than three million members; the average donor profile is a woman in her mid-40s. Women give, and what they give can help make the backbone of an organization.

 

2 How Women Think

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This book is premised on the fact that men and women are fundamentally different, which means they view things and respond to them differently, approach problems differently, and make decisions differently. If there were no gender differences, there would be no need to write this book.

By acknowledging these differences, our intent is not to prove that women are better than men, or vice versa, but to point out that often what passes for “gender neutral” marketing is, however unintentional, code for marketing with a male audience in mind. And when men’s historically privileged perspectives and experiences come to stand in for all of human experience, it’s women whose voices and experiences are sidelined. This is how women came to be perceived as a niche market in the first place, and why we’ve been subjected to countless consumer products wrapped in pink. Instead, by articulating gender differences, we hope to put women in their true place—away from the sidelines and fully into the mainstream where they belong.

 

3 What Women Want

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Not long ago, Lisa W. attended a fundraiser in New York City’s Upper East Side for an aspiring candidate for president of the United States. At one point in the evening, she seized the opportunity to ask the candidate what issues he thought were important to her. He smiled and spent the next 15 minutes outlining his position on abortion.

The candidate gave the rap he thought he was supposed to give. He laid it on pink. Unfortunately, his answer was out of step with the time—but it wasn’t entirely his fault. For years, choice has been front and center on the women’s movement’s agenda and its most politically influential organizations. This has been mutually reinforced by conservative groups and the religious right that have given abortion top billing in their “values”-driven debate. There’s no denying that choice is a lightning rod issue, and that, for a notable number of Americans, it remains the single issue that determines their vote in electoral races.

But when it comes to defining so-called “women’s issues,” times have changed, and women with them. We live in a post-9/11 world, where the threat of terrorism on our own soil in addition to the wars we fight abroad have placed an enormous premium on national and international security and diplomacy. We live in a highly competitive global economy where manufacturing jobs—the type middle-class Americans once counted on to employ generations of their families—are 30 becoming extinct, lured away by cheaper labor costs abroad. We live in an age where scientists tell us that we have, at most, eight to ten years to take decisive action on global warming, or face certain environmental catastrophe.

 

Beyond Choice: Redefining “Women’s Issues”

ePub

Not long ago, Lisa W. attended a fundraiser in New York City’s Upper East Side for an aspiring candidate for president of the United States. At one point in the evening, she seized the opportunity to ask the candidate what issues he thought were important to her. He smiled and spent the next 15 minutes outlining his position on abortion.

The candidate gave the rap he thought he was supposed to give. He laid it on pink. Unfortunately, his answer was out of step with the time—but it wasn’t entirely his fault. For years, choice has been front and center on the women’s movement’s agenda and its most politically influential organizations. This has been mutually reinforced by conservative groups and the religious right that have given abortion top billing in their “values”-driven debate. There’s no denying that choice is a lightning rod issue, and that, for a notable number of Americans, it remains the single issue that determines their vote in electoral races.

But when it comes to defining so-called “women’s issues,” times have changed, and women with them. We live in a post-9/11 world, where the threat of terrorism on our own soil in addition to the wars we fight abroad have placed an enormous premium on national and international security and diplomacy. We live in a highly competitive global economy where manufacturing jobs—the type middle-class Americans once counted on to employ generations of their families—are 30 becoming extinct, lured away by cheaper labor costs abroad. We live in an age where scientists tell us that we have, at most, eight to ten years to take decisive action on global warming, or face certain environmental catastrophe.

 

The Rule of the Four Cs

ePub

Not long ago, Lisa W. attended a fundraiser in New York City’s Upper East Side for an aspiring candidate for president of the United States. At one point in the evening, she seized the opportunity to ask the candidate what issues he thought were important to her. He smiled and spent the next 15 minutes outlining his position on abortion.

The candidate gave the rap he thought he was supposed to give. He laid it on pink. Unfortunately, his answer was out of step with the time—but it wasn’t entirely his fault. For years, choice has been front and center on the women’s movement’s agenda and its most politically influential organizations. This has been mutually reinforced by conservative groups and the religious right that have given abortion top billing in their “values”-driven debate. There’s no denying that choice is a lightning rod issue, and that, for a notable number of Americans, it remains the single issue that determines their vote in electoral races.

But when it comes to defining so-called “women’s issues,” times have changed, and women with them. We live in a post-9/11 world, where the threat of terrorism on our own soil in addition to the wars we fight abroad have placed an enormous premium on national and international security and diplomacy. We live in a highly competitive global economy where manufacturing jobs—the type middle-class Americans once counted on to employ generations of their families—are 30 becoming extinct, lured away by cheaper labor costs abroad. We live in an age where scientists tell us that we have, at most, eight to ten years to take decisive action on global warming, or face certain environmental catastrophe.

 

Conclusion

ePub

Not long ago, Lisa W. attended a fundraiser in New York City’s Upper East Side for an aspiring candidate for president of the United States. At one point in the evening, she seized the opportunity to ask the candidate what issues he thought were important to her. He smiled and spent the next 15 minutes outlining his position on abortion.

The candidate gave the rap he thought he was supposed to give. He laid it on pink. Unfortunately, his answer was out of step with the time—but it wasn’t entirely his fault. For years, choice has been front and center on the women’s movement’s agenda and its most politically influential organizations. This has been mutually reinforced by conservative groups and the religious right that have given abortion top billing in their “values”-driven debate. There’s no denying that choice is a lightning rod issue, and that, for a notable number of Americans, it remains the single issue that determines their vote in electoral races.

But when it comes to defining so-called “women’s issues,” times have changed, and women with them. We live in a post-9/11 world, where the threat of terrorism on our own soil in addition to the wars we fight abroad have placed an enormous premium on national and international security and diplomacy. We live in a highly competitive global economy where manufacturing jobs—the type middle-class Americans once counted on to employ generations of their families—are 30 becoming extinct, lured away by cheaper labor costs abroad. We live in an age where scientists tell us that we have, at most, eight to ten years to take decisive action on global warming, or face certain environmental catastrophe.

 

Chapter Take-Aways

ePub

Not long ago, Lisa W. attended a fundraiser in New York City’s Upper East Side for an aspiring candidate for president of the United States. At one point in the evening, she seized the opportunity to ask the candidate what issues he thought were important to her. He smiled and spent the next 15 minutes outlining his position on abortion.

The candidate gave the rap he thought he was supposed to give. He laid it on pink. Unfortunately, his answer was out of step with the time—but it wasn’t entirely his fault. For years, choice has been front and center on the women’s movement’s agenda and its most politically influential organizations. This has been mutually reinforced by conservative groups and the religious right that have given abortion top billing in their “values”-driven debate. There’s no denying that choice is a lightning rod issue, and that, for a notable number of Americans, it remains the single issue that determines their vote in electoral races.

But when it comes to defining so-called “women’s issues,” times have changed, and women with them. We live in a post-9/11 world, where the threat of terrorism on our own soil in addition to the wars we fight abroad have placed an enormous premium on national and international security and diplomacy. We live in a highly competitive global economy where manufacturing jobs—the type middle-class Americans once counted on to employ generations of their families—are 30 becoming extinct, lured away by cheaper labor costs abroad. We live in an age where scientists tell us that we have, at most, eight to ten years to take decisive action on global warming, or face certain environmental catastrophe.

 

4 Care

ePub

The very first step to getting people to support your cause is getting them to care. Most of us in the nonprofit world got into this line of work because we care. We care about keeping our air and oceans free of pollution. We care about improving education and leveling the playing field for low-income kids. We care about protecting our right to free speech.

But sometimes a funny thing happens on our way to making the world a better place. The deeper we get into our issues and the better experts we become, the worse we get at communicating with our audiences. We start dropping cryptic acronyms and technical terms. Giant pandas and blue whales become “charismatic mega-fauna.” Statistics replace human beings. We get so caught up explaining the complexities of our issues that we neglect to convey the passion that drove us to do this work in the first place, which is our best bet for convincing others to join us. We worry about “dumbing down” our message for the masses, when, in fact, what they want from us is plainer speak. In short, we become the Nonprofit that Knew Too Much.

 

5 Connect

ePub

In previous chapters we’ve described how women value community and connecting with others, as a survival mechanism, and as a way of life. In place of competition and one-upmanship, they see cooperation and strong social relationships as the solution to many of life’s—and the world’s—problems. And, as we’ll show, women aren’t the only ones who crave community.

In this chapter, we apply these principles to the realm of communications and marketing by showing how the power of connecting can contribute to your ability to attract and retain loyal supporters to your cause, campaign, and organization. When you look for, and act on, opportunities that help women connect, you are creating opportunities to trigger fundraising and activism. When we talk about connecting, there are three areas where the principle applies:

In his influential book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert D. Putnam describes the decline of social capital and civic engagement as more and more Americans find themselves disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and a broader sense of community. We are increasingly watching Netflix movies at home alone instead of going to the movie theater. We listen to our iPods on the subway and as we walk down the street. We buy books and CDs online instead of browsing in stores. Families seldom eat dinner together anymore. Our technology has made personal choice and our lives more efficient, but it has also set a pace and created a way of life that increasingly makes social bonds and human connection more tenuous.

 

6 Cultivate

ePub

When marketing consultant Wendy Dembo was stopped in front of her local Whole Food supermarket by a volunteer seeking donations for Save the Children, she took the opportunity to ask the volunteer a series of questions about what the organization did, where her money would go, and specifically how much of it would go directly to children in need.

Wendy wasn’t purposefully trying to give the solicitor a hard time. She was just doing what came naturally to her—and to many women—when confronted with the opportunity to either purchase something or donate to a good cause.

“I am not a compulsive shopper, so I think twice about making purchases. And that goes for donating to charities as well. I want to know the facts, how much money goes to administration and how much goes towards helping people, animals, or the environment. And I am sure that there are other women who want to make sure that their money is really going to a good cause and not to fancy lunches.” Wendy said.

Remember our frustrated political fundraising friend who had thrown up her hands at trying to solicit donations from women? The same challenge applies: women take longer to cultivate than men because they’re more likely to demand more information before they’re willing to say “yes.”

 

7 Control

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In the mid-1980s, Janet Jackson came out from under her brother’s shadow and shed the doe-eyed waif she played on Good Times with her breakthrough anthem Control. In her take-no-prisoners shoulder pads, Jackson sang about taking ownership of her life, on her own terms.

Women in America today are in a similar place. As we’ve described in previous chapters, thanks to major political and economic milestones over the past four decades, more women today are going head-to-head with men on the job. And they’re demanding more parity in the home (albeit with mixed results).

While the news media buzz about women struggling to “have it all” by balancing work and family, most women are simply too busy living the reality to have time to spare worrying about how to make it happen. It’s a daily feat that women pull off largely by maintaining a strong sense of control. This doesn’t mean all women’s struggles are equal—the day-to-day concerns of a poor single mom working two jobs can’t compare to a stay-at-home mom living in a wealthy gated community. And it doesn’t mean women are perfect—the laundry piles up and dinner may be pizza on some nights. But on the whole, when you talk to women, they’ll tell you they’re holding things down and proud of it.

 

Women As Air Traffic Controllers

ePub

In the mid-1980s, Janet Jackson came out from under her brother’s shadow and shed the doe-eyed waif she played on Good Times with her breakthrough anthem Control. In her take-no-prisoners shoulder pads, Jackson sang about taking ownership of her life, on her own terms.

Women in America today are in a similar place. As we’ve described in previous chapters, thanks to major political and economic milestones over the past four decades, more women today are going head-to-head with men on the job. And they’re demanding more parity in the home (albeit with mixed results).

While the news media buzz about women struggling to “have it all” by balancing work and family, most women are simply too busy living the reality to have time to spare worrying about how to make it happen. It’s a daily feat that women pull off largely by maintaining a strong sense of control. This doesn’t mean all women’s struggles are equal—the day-to-day concerns of a poor single mom working two jobs can’t compare to a stay-at-home mom living in a wealthy gated community. And it doesn’t mean women are perfect—the laundry piles up and dinner may be pizza on some nights. But on the whole, when you talk to women, they’ll tell you they’re holding things down and proud of it.

 

Debbie Downer Vs. Erin Brokovich

ePub

In the mid-1980s, Janet Jackson came out from under her brother’s shadow and shed the doe-eyed waif she played on Good Times with her breakthrough anthem Control. In her take-no-prisoners shoulder pads, Jackson sang about taking ownership of her life, on her own terms.

Women in America today are in a similar place. As we’ve described in previous chapters, thanks to major political and economic milestones over the past four decades, more women today are going head-to-head with men on the job. And they’re demanding more parity in the home (albeit with mixed results).

While the news media buzz about women struggling to “have it all” by balancing work and family, most women are simply too busy living the reality to have time to spare worrying about how to make it happen. It’s a daily feat that women pull off largely by maintaining a strong sense of control. This doesn’t mean all women’s struggles are equal—the day-to-day concerns of a poor single mom working two jobs can’t compare to a stay-at-home mom living in a wealthy gated community. And it doesn’t mean women are perfect—the laundry piles up and dinner may be pizza on some nights. But on the whole, when you talk to women, they’ll tell you they’re holding things down and proud of it.

 

Conclusion

ePub

In the mid-1980s, Janet Jackson came out from under her brother’s shadow and shed the doe-eyed waif she played on Good Times with her breakthrough anthem Control. In her take-no-prisoners shoulder pads, Jackson sang about taking ownership of her life, on her own terms.

Women in America today are in a similar place. As we’ve described in previous chapters, thanks to major political and economic milestones over the past four decades, more women today are going head-to-head with men on the job. And they’re demanding more parity in the home (albeit with mixed results).

While the news media buzz about women struggling to “have it all” by balancing work and family, most women are simply too busy living the reality to have time to spare worrying about how to make it happen. It’s a daily feat that women pull off largely by maintaining a strong sense of control. This doesn’t mean all women’s struggles are equal—the day-to-day concerns of a poor single mom working two jobs can’t compare to a stay-at-home mom living in a wealthy gated community. And it doesn’t mean women are perfect—the laundry piles up and dinner may be pizza on some nights. But on the whole, when you talk to women, they’ll tell you they’re holding things down and proud of it.

 

Chapter Take-Aways

ePub

In the mid-1980s, Janet Jackson came out from under her brother’s shadow and shed the doe-eyed waif she played on Good Times with her breakthrough anthem Control. In her take-no-prisoners shoulder pads, Jackson sang about taking ownership of her life, on her own terms.

Women in America today are in a similar place. As we’ve described in previous chapters, thanks to major political and economic milestones over the past four decades, more women today are going head-to-head with men on the job. And they’re demanding more parity in the home (albeit with mixed results).

While the news media buzz about women struggling to “have it all” by balancing work and family, most women are simply too busy living the reality to have time to spare worrying about how to make it happen. It’s a daily feat that women pull off largely by maintaining a strong sense of control. This doesn’t mean all women’s struggles are equal—the day-to-day concerns of a poor single mom working two jobs can’t compare to a stay-at-home mom living in a wealthy gated community. And it doesn’t mean women are perfect—the laundry piles up and dinner may be pizza on some nights. But on the whole, when you talk to women, they’ll tell you they’re holding things down and proud of it.

 

8 Where to Reach Women

ePub

In June 2007 Time Out New York, the weekly magazine guide to New York City events, devoted a cover story to single women in Manhattan. One subject of the piece, a 44-year-old attorney named Alice, was asked where she went to meet men.

She responded, “That’s part of the problem. I like to do a lot of girl things, and girly events are probably the worst place to meet guys. Right now I’m obsessed with Argentine tango. Last Monday I was at Dance Manhattan—all women.”

No doubt, there are plenty of places where you’ll find both men and women, but as Alice the attorney can attest, there are also certain spots and activities that tend to attract more women than men. The same goes for media destinations, including which online sources women target for information. If you want to meet women where they are, you need to first find out where they go.

As we write this, the news media landscape is undergoing massive transformation. Most media sectors are losing popularity, nowhere more so than the newspaper industry, where declining circulation and advertising sales are resulting in mass lay-offs at dailies across the country Mean- 110while, audiences for evening network news continue to drop about 1 million a year, as it has for the past 25 years.

 

9 Segmenting the Women’s Market

ePub

Throughout this book, we’ve generalized about how and why “women believe this” or “women do that.” We’ve used these broad brushstrokes simply to highlight gender differences—differences between men and women’s thinking and doing. In this chapter, however, we put away generalizations to bring forward some of the finer details and differences among women themselves.

Women self-identify along many lines, not just their gender. Racial and ethnic differences, age differences, level of education, children or no children, religious affiliation, marital status, and differences in sexual orientation all contribute to creating sub-groups under the broader category of “women.” For the purposes of this chapter, we’ve chosen to focus on the groups that are most likely to be important “gets” for the majority of nonprofit organizations and political campaigns. Specifically, we look at married and single women, mothers, boomer generation women, and women of color. We recognize that this excludes certain segments, including women of other generations and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Each of these groups is deserving of its own market research and we encourage our readers to explore the studies and books that have been written for and about these other segments, just as we plan to continue our own education.

 

Women, One Segment At a Time

ePub

Throughout this book, we’ve generalized about how and why “women believe this” or “women do that.” We’ve used these broad brushstrokes simply to highlight gender differences—differences between men and women’s thinking and doing. In this chapter, however, we put away generalizations to bring forward some of the finer details and differences among women themselves.

Women self-identify along many lines, not just their gender. Racial and ethnic differences, age differences, level of education, children or no children, religious affiliation, marital status, and differences in sexual orientation all contribute to creating sub-groups under the broader category of “women.” For the purposes of this chapter, we’ve chosen to focus on the groups that are most likely to be important “gets” for the majority of nonprofit organizations and political campaigns. Specifically, we look at married and single women, mothers, boomer generation women, and women of color. We recognize that this excludes certain segments, including women of other generations and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Each of these groups is deserving of its own market research and we encourage our readers to explore the studies and books that have been written for and about these other segments, just as we plan to continue our own education.

 

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