A partial and highly industry specific listing.
by By Steve Fusco & Lucky Hayes, TOMA Advertising
Editor’s Note: The following 14 things that most “furniture guys” don’t know about women was written by Steve Fusco a veteran furniture ad man. Mr. Fusco realizes that, as a furniture “guy”, his opinions are suspect, so he enlisted his associate Ms. Hayes to explain to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine readers what he really should have written. For those readers who would like to add to his list of industry specific observations, please go to www.furninfo.com and add your comments to the message board posting section on this topic.
Observation #1: 50% of women are not married. The majority of our industry’s advertising is targeted toward married women with 1.5 kids and a nice house with a white picket fence. Our 50%-off-sales are missing half of the target audience! We need to aim for all the subsets of this highly desirable audience.
What he Really Means To Say: Don’t ignore those of us who choose to stand alone. We buy a lot of things and spend a lot of money. And no, thank you, we do not wish to be married. If we wanted to, we would be.
Observation #2: Women like to shop (take their time – explore). I know this might seem obvious but hear me out on this one. Even if they find what they want at the first stop, do not deprive them of the process. They have set aside three hours to go shopping. It’s their time: don’t steal that from them.
What he Really Means To Say: Unlike men who grab the first thing they see, we intend to make our purchase the best possible product at the best possible price. Therefore, we take the time to compare. So quit pushing, already.
Observation #3: Women love to talk. The average woman says 22,000 words a day. Be a good listener. The best salespeople I have ever worked with were great listeners.
What he Really Means To Say: For heaven’s sake, hear what we say. Then you won’t waste your time and ours by shoving something we don’t want at us. Like a late date.
Observation #4: 92% of furniture purchases are made by women. We need to communicate with them and make sure we do so at every touch point.
What he Really Means To Say: We hold the charge cards, so give us the input we need and aim not at “significant others.”
Observation #5: Women speak a different language. Communicate with them in their tongue. Have women write your ads and be a part of your advertising team.
What he Really Means To Say: We have a different viewpoint of the world. We won’t know what you mean if you speak “man.”
Observation #6: Women want a relationship. Take the time to build relationships with them and you will have customers for life. Every point of contact you make with women needs to be geared toward that end, and yours will become the brand of choice.
What he Really Means To Say: Women do not relish being “sold” by weird strangers. We love buying what we know is a well-thought-out product from someone who knows our taste and desires. No, that is not a proposal.
Observation #7: A woman votes with her pocketbook. This should speak volumes about her likes and dislikes. Once again, please listen to what she is saying. Feature your top selling items in your advertising, not the dogs you are about to discontinue. Sometimes non-verbal communication is the most powerful of all. Listen.
What he Really Means To Say: For goodness sake, pay attention! By assessing what we are buying, you’ll know exactly what to advertise to increase your sales. And make new customers and build relationships, and clear out merchandise.
Observation #8: Women are very trusting. Do not break that trust, as you will never regain it. Under-promise and over-deliver has always been a good formula. A lot of our advertising does over-promise and when a consumer comes into the store they are disappointed by the actual experience.
What he Really Means To Say: Women have long memories. Don’t mess with us. If you give us honest deals and added value, we’ll be life-long customers. If not, sayonara.
Observation #9: Women and their friends love to share where they had the best shopping experience and where they found the best things at the best price. This is the preeminent form of advertising: referral from a friend.
What he Really Means To Say: We are a giving segment of humanity and cannot keep a bargain to ourselves. So do-right by us, and we’ll do-right by you, Dudley.
Observation #10: Don’t assume anything. When you assume, you know what happens.
What he Really Means To Say: Yeah: don’t take us for granted, or you are in deep kimshee.
Observation #11: Women are the largest segment moving toward the internet and embracing it as a medium. Newspapers seem to be suffering the most. Make sure your media mix addresses the media usage of today’s on-the-go women, not yesterday’s stay-at-home mom.
What he Really Means To Say: No more sweet little ol’ housewife keeping the hearth warm... we are worldly-wise, and take no guff from anyone. Advertise what we want where we want it, and voila! You’ve hit us in the medium. Watch it.
Observation #12: Women are very loyal. This works on several levels. They are loyal to the programs they watch, magazines they read, websites they visit and most of all, to stores they shop and buy from.
What he Really Means To Say: Once our friend, always our friend. We’ve got you, babe.
Observation #13: Women buy based on emotions. Hit ‘em where they feel and you’ve hit ‘em in the pocketbook.
What he Really Means To Say: Women think with their hearts and emotions as well as with their smarts. If you can hit all three, you’re a better businessman than others, Gunga Din.
Observation #14: Anything else, wise guy – er – wise gal?
What he Really Means To Say: As a matter of fact, yes. If you are really smart, you will train your employees to always acknowledge my presence. No matter how busy, they should give me a high sign that they recognize I am there and will be with me shortly. I’ll be glad to wait as long as they don’t treat me as invisible. And SMILE! Nobody likes a grouch. Unless, of course, your name is Steve.
Steve Fusco is President and founder of Top of Mind Awareness Advertising, a full service Advertising Agency with offices in Scottsdale, AZ. and Milwaukee WI. Steve has been “trying to save the world from bad advertising one client at a time” for over 25 years.
Ms. Lucky Hayes is Creative Department Traffic Coordinator for T.O.M.A.. She is also an actor, the author of “That's No Way To Act” - a handbook for actors and a contributing writer to Stars & Stripes, Japan.
Several of T.O.M.A’s clients consistently rank among the top 100 furniture retailers in the nation. Others are the top performing licensee’s within the Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Drexel Heritage and Thomasville chains. Any thoughts good or bad can be sent to Stevef@furninfo.com