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Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World's Most Powerful Consumers Hardcover – Jul 7 2009


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“Bridget Brennan’s book provides a highly readable road map to help marketers and salespeople understand women’s beliefs, values, and sensitivities. Given that women account for a high percentage of purchases, while many products are developed and sold by men, a reading of Bridget’s book will go a long way to closing this gap and improving the satisfaction of both genders.” —Philip Kotler, S. C. Johnson & Son Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“Bridget Brennan’s highly informative and entertaining book provides keen–and unusual–insights into both the psychological makeup of women consumers and the demographic facts that everyone in business needs to know in order to execute marketing strategies in this challenging economic environment. Long live the Female Economy!” —Joseph V. Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer, The Coca-Cola Company

"Ms. Brennan is all about the commerce she observes.  'If the consumer economy had a sex, it would be female.  If the business world had a sex, it would be male.  And therein lies the pickle.' [She] explores the marketing opportunities offered by trends…all of which leave women making even more buying decisions." –Wall Street Journal

"Is the customer always right?  Yes, She is: An entertaining and …rich account of…untapped opportunities.  Fun and anecdotal." --Financial Times 

"Lively, insightful and relentlessly engaging…should be required reading for anyone burdened with a Y chromosome." –Fortune Small Business

"Brennan details the major trends behind female spending and provides strategies for companies to crack the code." –Forbes Woman

“[Brennan] explains why the existing misunderstanding of gender cultures isn't just a gender gap but a gender "canyon," and provides case studies of female-focused initiatives from marketers such as Callaway, Ryland Homes, Lululemon, Lexus and MasterCard" – Advertising Age

“Word of mouth can make or break a brand, and this book confirms the fact that women talk to other women more about products than men do” --Journal of Consumer Marketing

"Why She Buys [guides] retailers and consumer goods manufacturers on how [women] are increasingly powerful consumers and how they think and shop."–LA Times

“Nab the Women’s Market” – Investors Business Daily

“Since we (women) are driving the economy and the economy could use a boost, it’s all good news” – ABC NEWS NOW

“[Women] are the most important constituency because they make all the decisions….a much needed perspective” – Fox Business Morning

“Witty and insightful” – Marie Claire India

About the Author

BRIDGET BRENNAN is the CEO of Female Factor. She has pioneered marketing and sales strategies that appeal to women and has worked with major companies to put them into practice. Throughout her award-winning career, Brennan has worked for clients such as Whirlpool, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Pizza Hut, and United Airlines. She is a popular speaker who has lectured at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Chicago.

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Amazon.com: 54 reviews
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
If this book had been written by a man, it would have been denounced as sexist and condescending to women. May 12 2013
By Beth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a woman who takes issue with Ms. Brennan's stated assumptions about gender as well as her argument that gender is THE single most important facet of marketing strategy. Ms. Brennan finds women to be generally obsessed with their appearance as well as that of their surroundings, overwhelmingly nurturing, endlessly talking about their emotions, and unimpressed by quantitative information; while men are (according to her) oblivious to their physical surroundings, uncommunicative, and obsessed with objective measurements (at least in the context of consumer goods!). Having said that, I found this book to contain lots of useful and important tips, but it is both misleading and unnecessary to place these suggestions in a sex-based straitjacket. Her numerous bullet points do offer some generally good advice and are helpful in thinking creatively about marketing strategy, but are not and should not be hung on a gender or labeled as (somehow) female-centric insights. Among the useful points she makes are the importance of humor in marketing and advertising, that plenty of people over 65 have lots of disposable income, that what people do is more important than what they say (although she fails to heed her own advice when she trots out survey after survey - more on that below), and that marketing and customer service need to be much more integrated than they generally are. What I think Brennan is really getting at if you strip away all her pedantic ravings about clueless out of touch men and overwrought, overworked, women, is that there needs to be more creativity in marketing. I don't agree with her that women or people who think like women necessarily have an edge when it comes to thinking outside the box, but I see creativity as being at the heart of her suggestions and insights even though she doesn't write in those terms.
A discussion of automated phone tree systems that make it difficult to talk to a person (pp.220-224) was a real low point in this book, not because the automated systems are good, but because I fail to see why they are any less infuriating to men than they are to women. Ms. Brennan's quoted statistic (on page 220) that in 2007 44% of women said customer service had gotten worse over the past 5 years while 33% of men said it had gotten worse is both incomplete and misleading. I would want to know how many people were surveyed, what were their ages, and what were the other options in the survey (better, the same, other?) and how many of the people surveyed picked those. Also, such a survey is likely to reflect the fact that slightly more women have probably had personal experience with customer service in as much as they still tend to work less at paying jobs over the course of their lives than men (overall - just because of maternity leaves if nothing else) and therefore are more likely to be home to make calls, return unwanted items, and be on the receiving end of the efforts of telemarketers. The 11% difference Ms. Brennan makes much of could be explained away on many other grounds. Ms. Brennan might benefit from some detailed study of statistics and of scientific methodology. The latter, in particular was utterly lacking throughout this book. To me, it is much more annoying when an author misuses "science" to back up his or her claims than when she or he simply makes well-reasoned arguments without presenting any half-baked or misleading "statistical evidence". Throwing around statistics as in that 11% example is pretty typical of how Brennan handled such matters throughout this book. Furthermore, even if one uncritically accepts all of her statistics and survey results, Brennan's reliance on surveys flies in the face of her own argument that people's behavior should be the gold standard, not their opinions of themselves or others.
But fundamentally, the biggest problem with this book is its gender-based stereotyping. Gender is only one a number of factors, not the be all and end all of consumer psychology. There are non-verbal and verbal people of both genders, slobs and clean-freaks of both genders, competitive people of both genders, appearance obsessed people of both genders, and fact-oriented people of both genders. As a glaring example of the kinds of assumptions Brennan makes, she argues (on pages 97 and 98) that it is primarily women who are willing to pay more for things that make life easier. She seems to completely ignore the reality that people who live from paycheck to paycheck (much less those who have no paycheck at all) can't afford things that would make their lives easier, no matter what their gender. I would suggest that willingness to pay a premium for time-saving or labor-saving goods and services is probably a function of socio-economics, not gender. The "typical" woman in Ms. Brennan's world who (on page 99) spends hours a day in her car is vastly different from the inner-city working mom who relies on public transportation and cannot afford a car, even though they may both be single mothers, and the marketing that targets one may completely miss the mark with the other. Ms. Brennan, however, seems to ignore these kinds of distinctions in her quest to lump all women (worldwide!) together and to label and characterize them by her lights.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read! Oct. 15 2009
By G. Brisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. It is loaded with practical examples about the differences between men and women and ideas to leverage those differences to target female consumers. Brennan is at once a seasoned business pro and a master storyteller so her writing is not only fresh, relevant, and insightful, but also totally engaging and memorable. I retained so many helpful tips because she supports her well-researched assertions with vivid examples from the everyday life. Why She Buys is a serious and scholarly business book that is as entertaining as summer beach reading. If your business depends on female consumers this book is a must read for your entire staff. I plan to give copies of this book away at the office holiday party this year- it may be one of the few gift books that people actually read!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Phenomenal Book! Oct. 5 2009
By Lori L. Radun - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You might think if you are a woman and you're marketing to a women audience that you don't need this book. Nothing could be further than the truth! I've struggled for five years trying to figure out how to sell and market to the mom market. I tried reading Trillion Dollar Moms, but Why She Buys hit the nail on the head. Wow! There are so many wonderful insights and practical strategies you can use in this book. Bridget Brennan is real, unafraid to tell it like it is. She gives great examples of companies that are missing the mark, and wonderful case studies on companies that are doing a phenomenal job marketing and selling to women. You may think you should just make a pink version of your product, but it is so much deeper than that. Women are complex; believe me, I am one of them. But one thing is for sure. Once you figure out how to appeal to the female market, you will have them on fire for your product or service. If your product targets a women audience, or you want it to, you have to read this book first. Before you try and develop a marketing strategy on your own, let Bridget Brennan help. I thought I knew women before I read this book, but now I totally understand women as consumers.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Very Informative and Engaging Aug. 6 2009
By Tom Bartley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read text. I had the privilege of attending one of Bridget's speaking engagements at my company and Bridget just blew the audience away. Funny but also very informative and in a way that everyone could relate to the "truths" about gender differences. So I just had to read the book when I saw it featured on ABC television. I picked it up 2 days ago and I just couldn't put it down. Fast read, very accessibly written. Bridget puts the science and art behind effectively understanding and marketing to the real economic force in the USA - the female consumer.

I have to admit that even as a Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 50 company, there is a lot that as a marketer I just had never fully understood about the physical, mental and emotional differences in gender that lead to very real, as revealed by Bridget, behaviorial realities. So much that can be immediately implemented to up the game of the marketer, as illustrated by examples that will make you laugh, but also really hit home important lessons.

I highly recommend the book. And if you ever have the opportunity to secure BRidget as a guest speaker, or get to one of her speaking engagements, you won't regret it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Find out why your marketing to women is or is not working Aug. 20 2009
By H. Buchanan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was struck by this quote from Bridget in Why She Buys - "Gender is the most powerful determinant of how a person views the world and everything in it. It's more powerful than age, income, race, or geography."

Why She Buys deconstructs actual advertising campaigns so you can see them through the eyes of a woman. You'll find out specifically what persuaades women and what turns them off. The Lexus and Swiffer case studies are worth the price of the whole book.

Bridget does a great job of combining research, case-studies and tapping into global trends to give you a road map for creating advertising to women that works. You'll never look at your own marketing efforts the same way again.


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