Hello readers! This week I’m covering Why She Buys by Bridget Brennan!

This book is supposed to give you strategies to reach the most powerful consumers in the world. WOMEN.

Here is my weekly book review!

Let’s start with the three main points that stood out to me.

Women & Management

Although progress has been made when it comes to gender equality, and many glass ceilings have been shattered, it is hard to argue that women should be completely satisfied. Brennan highlights that women are often able to progress and be involved up until middle-management, but are often missing in upper-management positions. This means that women are unable to actively be involved in the decision-making process when targeting, developing and executing a marketing or business plan. Is it any wonder that many companies fail miserably at effectively appealing to women? Whether or not your product or service is specifically targeted at women is irrelevant. It doesn’t make sense to have completely male dominated board rooms when 50.8% of the US population are women. We would hope our management teams reflect the diversity of our consumers.

Brain Differences

Simply acknowledging that there are differences between men and women’s brain structures should be enough for us to reconsider our board room dynamics and marketing strategies. Brennan highlighted multiple differences, but these three stood out to me:

1) The limbic system (responsible for emotions) and hippocampus (responsible for memory) tend to be larger in women.

2) Women tend to have stronger connections between brain hemispheres (left & right), whilst men have stronger connections from front to back. Women’s connection between hemispheres is related to having stronger verbal communication skills.

3) Due to differences in spatial perceptions, women tend to rely on landmarks and visual cues whilst men prefer maps, cardinal direction (north & south) and gauges of distance when finding locations.

The awareness and understanding of these (and many more) differences, is important in many aspects of life, including business. If we know our memory and emotional perceptions, our verbal communication skills, and our visual perceptions differ, shouldn’t that impact the way we market our products? A one size fits all approach to marketing simply doesn’t suffice.

Balancing Differences

One thing Brennan made me realize is that striving for equality in the workplace and accepting differences in how we function, places women in a difficult spot. With this constant need to prove men wrong and break glass ceilings, women risk losing ground on the progress they’ve made by making their male counterparts aware of the differences that exist. This is not a matter of better or worse, it’s simply that we’re different. As business offices tend to be male-dominated, a woman validly pointing out a difference in opinion on the effectiveness of a marketing strategy, may be perceived as a mixed message for men. I don’t have the specific answer to solve this issue, but I thank Brennan for bringing it to my attention as it’s something I was unaware of until now. Constantly having to prove yourself, and prove that you are worthy of equal treatment, makes voicing any gender differences a daunting task that could set a woman two steps back in the business world.

Positives

When dealing with a hot topic like gender, I think it’s important to approach it from a point of facts and science. And Brennan delivers on that front. Throughout the book, the discussion is fact-based and data-driven. Brennan uses data and scientific research to explain how women function during the purchasing process. 

I also like that she goes over specific gender differences and explains why they exist and then shows us what the business implications of these differences are. She takes you through step-by-step and answers three important questions. What differences exist? Why do they exist? How do they impact business?

Negatives

The only negative is that I would have preferred a global perspective on the female consumer market. There are two great sections that focus on India and China and the history and transformation of women and business, however both sections are very brief. I think Brennan could have explained the global impact of women in business instead of solely speaking from an American perspective.

Who should read this?

If you’re developing a brand/product, this book will teach you how to effectively market towards women, even if the product you are offering is gender neutral. I think men working in teams (that hopefully include women) would benefit from this book, as it would shed light on a variety of issues women face in business and give you a new perspective on how to market products. I always find it difficult to identify who a book is intended for, because I think that there are lessons in almost any book that can apply to different people. Although this book focuses on women and business, there are parts of it that apply to a daily life. The ability to empathize and understand other people’s needs and perspectives is a skill that will bode well both at home and in the office.

About Bridget Brennan!


Bridget’s Website

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