If a woman buys, will men also prefer the same product ?

We may say that each household today has a woman CPO (Chief Purchasing Officer) who influences almost all the purchase decisions of the family. Now this decision range is not only confined to the female specific products like beauty creams, kitchen appliances etc. ,but also to other product and services which the family consumes. This makes women the most important consumer group to focus on for the companies which want to be at the top in the market. A traditional myth existed among marketers that if they make their product women centric then they may lose the male segment of the market. The recent researches by companies such as IKEA, Meryll Lynch and others have proved that the effect is just the opposite. The number of male consumers for the company increases. Understanding this fact, most of the companies today are launching products and services which are women centric in approach. In fact the research also shows that the customer satisfaction has gone up after such an approach.
A scientific study has shown that men use left side of their brain for taking decisions which are mostly rational. Women on the other hand are stronger on their right part where emotions and feelings mostly influence her decisions. That is why before making any decision, she considers her previous decision factors and integrates new information to that for seeking a perfect answer to her needs. For example let us consider ‘Maggi’ noodles. The company extensively marketed its 2 minutes preparation time and taste. Now the underlying philosophy was that the women today have a lot of work to do being a mother. She may be working woman or a housewife. In either case the need of the hour was a product which she could prepare quickly, saving her time and energy together with a yummy taste for her child. Nestle leveraged this understanding to become a major player in the fast food market. Now there were brands only for women, but later on watching the male consumer’s demand they brought a similar product for men. The fairness cream, moisturisers and face wash by Garnier for men is such an example. Previously, fairness was attached only to women through products such as Fair & Lovely or Garnier light by L’Oreal, Ponds white beauty and many others. In this case a product which was initially female centric lead to increase in the number of male consumers through an absolutely new product segment which was similar to that of female. The opposite is also quite successful. The energy drinks used to concentrate on males but now there are drinks such as Go Girl which are pink in colour and appeal to the women.
Women, most of them are fond of shopping. When we go to shopping malls, there are nowadays, everyday discounts on products such as branded staple foods, clothes and various FMCG products. The sales manager of a mall clearly understands the fact that when a woman comes in, she expects to get all her needs under one roof blended with reasonable price and good quality. Nowadays, various malls and shops have arranged for special entertainment zones inside so that when mother is busy shopping, her child may play and enjoy for the time being. Once she has a good experience inside the mall, she will definitely come again-says Pradeep Basu, a sales manager at Spencer’s retail. So, it is not only the products alone but malls as a whole are also trying to attract women through their unique offerings.
Cadbury’s Celebration brought out a completely new concept of doing away with the old age tradition of going with packet of sweets on special occasions such as Raksha Bandhan. They knew very well that the end users are mostly the women and they can act as potential influencers. The same happened. When we did an online survey for people regarding their preferences for chocolates, most women said that they clearly specified most of the times to their brothers, husbands or partners, that they wanted the Cadbury’s Celebration as a gift. It is true that women are seen as care takers of the family. They look after children, husband and the older people of the family. Who can forget the Saffola advertisement where a housewife was shown using Saffola which catered to the delicious and health needs of the whole family. The car companies were initially male emphasizers. But today, they know that the colour, design, models and brands are all influenced by the CPO(Chief Purchasing Officer) of the house. So they now promise a romantic journey for the couple and safety and comfort for the whole family.
Online marketing is on hype. There are various DOs for a company which a women may like. A woman always gets connected more when pictures and videos are at place. She likes coupons and discount offers the most together with some story telling. Convincing her with sales numbers is a Don’t for companies. She just wants to know how her needs are going to get fulfilled through a particular offering i.e. how it connects to her as an individual. Her needs are not just for herself but for her child, husband and the whole family. Moreover the emerging roles of women as housewives and working women are also the reasons influencing her buying motives and behaviour. So, it is always fruitful if a company understands this underlying philosophy of needs and offers solutions in the form of its products and offerings which cater to the same.
[The article has been written by Abhishek Kumar Jha. He is presently pursuing his PGDM in marketing from International Management Institute(IMI), Kolkata.] 

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