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fleishman-hillard-women-ad-elements.jpgThe top elements of advertising that make women “take notice” are an easily found price (45%) and proof or details of quality (43%), according to [pdf] a white paper released in January 2012 by Fleishman-Hillard in partnership with Hearst Magazine. A relevant message (39%) closely follows, while advertising that is easy to remember (28%), provides comparisons to competition (26%), or offers something free or highly discounted (26%) also earn women’s attention. Testimonials from actual users (21%) and appealing graphics (20%), by contrast, are less significant elements.

Price, Quality Info Helps Purchase Decisions

Price is by far the most popular type of information that companies could provide to help women’s purchase decisions, cited by 74% of respondents. Women also clearly want to know about quality information, including quality of materials (38%), quality of craftsmanship (29%), and quality of service (22%). Meanwhile, ratings or reviews from actual users and owners are more important than from experts in helping women make purchase decisions (33% vs. 19%).

Partners Top Factor, Though

Although expert opinions (39%) and third-party endorsements (30%) are significant factors for women in making purchase decisions, spouses and partners (66%) are easily the leading factor. Of note, though, more respondents reported that information found online (40%) was a highly important decision factor to them than their parents (30%), friends (27%), and children (24%). Additionally, information found online was also more significant than information in magazines (17%), newspapers (17%), or on the TV (16%).

More Men Have the Final Say

Data from “Game Changers: Women Defining the New American Marketplace” indicates that women are twice as likely to say they share decision-making equally with their spouse or partner than to say they have the final or primary say (67% vs. 32%). By contrast, men are as likely to say they have the final say as to say they share their decision making (50% vs. 49%).

For purchases of smaller-ticket items, though, women’s influence is greater: just 31% say they share the decision-making process with their spouse or partner for purchases under $100, compared to 45% of men. For purchases over $100, most women and men agree that the buying decision should be jointly made, although a greater proportion of women view the decision that way.

According to a report released in September 2011 by Nielsen, women see themselves as the primary drivers of a variety purchases in the African-American consumer demographic. The largest gap in whether women see themselves or men as the primary purchase drivers was health/beauty, with 77% of women saying they were the primary drivers and only 1% saying men were the primary drivers. There were few categories where a large percentage said men and women have equal influence on purchase decisions. Those were locations for social activities (women 50% and men/women equally 47%), personal electronics (women 47% and men/women equally 41%) and automobiles/other transportation (women 49% and men/women equally 31%).

Other Findings:

  • According to the Fleishman-Hillard report, women are more likely than men to wish their spouse or partner would help make more of the decisions for the household (56% vs. 52%).
  • Men are less likely than women to say that being the primary decision-maker is stressful (62% vs. 70%) or tiring (55% vs. 66%).

About the Data: The Fleishman-Hillard results are based on a 20-minute online survey conducted from Sept. 8-15, 2011, among 1,270 women in the US aged 25-69 with an annual household income of $25,000 or more. For comparison purposes, 263 men were also surveyed.

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