Who Makes Buying Decisions? Women!

Originally published
Originally published: 4/1/2007

I bought my first brand new car in 1989. It was a Honda Civic, and my husband-to-be was with me. I had a lot of questions about the car, which I asked directly to the salesman. He answered them. But he didn’t look at me when he did. He looked at my mate.

Hello! I have the money here! I’m making the decision!

Granted, that was almost 20 years ago, but I can attest that women still feel ignored at times by salesmen and technicians when it comes to some major purchases and repairs that somehow have become to be known as “masculine.” Boilers, AC units, and other hvac equipment unfortunately falls into this category at times.

Don’t make that mistake! Women are a lucrative market, especially when it comes to providing a comfortable, cost-efficient home for families. They want quality, performance, and ease of maintenance. This is something Weil-McLain, Michigan City, Ind., has decided to capitalize on with a marketing campaign geared toward women. The manufacturer of oil- and gas-fired boilers recently earned the Good Housekeeping Seal, and it plans to tell as many women as possible about it with print ads, store promotions, product packaging, and online information. The online information is geared to women and encourages them to search for a Weil-McLain contractor in their area.

“The Seal is dedicated to helping consumers find products and companies they can trust,” said Weil-McLain’s Dave Dolan, vice president of marketing. “Our marketing efforts reflect this mission.”

The Good Housekeeping Seal has been around since 1909 and in branding circles is a legend. Technically, the Seal is a guarantee of Good Housekeeping magazine’s consumer policy, which sates: “… if a product bearing the Seal proves to be defective within two years of purchase, Good Housekeeping will replace the product or refund the purchase price.”

Women have trusted the Seal for almost 100 years as an endorsement of quality and value. According to Weil-McLain, it enjoys a 94% recognition rate among consumers and will influence a consumer to buy a Seal-endorsed product 81% of the time when prices and features are similar to other brands on the market.

The Good Housekeeping audience certainly sounds like a good group to be marketing to. According to publisher Hearst Corp., 22 million of the 25 million readers are women. The median annual household income of readers is $48,347. Her family and her home are her top priorities, and she considers herself to be technically savvy. She is extremely loyal to brands and seeks out the best products she can afford.

If you need more convincing, consider this: According to Fara Warner, a business journalist and author of the book “The Power of the Purse,” women make 80% of all buying decisions and control $7 trillion in purchasing power.

I know that many contractors out there recognize the purchasing power of women and have marketing campaigns, training, and other efforts to reach them. Good going. But if you aren’t one of them, why not? Particularly, IAQ marketing efforts should target women. No wife or mother wants her family members to breathe air that could make them sick. Also, women are becoming more concerned about environmental degradation, research shows, and are interested in energy-saving, environmentally safe products.

Take a cue from Weil-McLain. Position your products and services so that they respond to the concerns of women, and stress quality and ease of maintenance. If you have a product that will solve a problem and/or make their homes more comfortable and healthy, they want to know about it!

Tonya Vinas is a former editor of HVACR Business.

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