The financial power of women globally is rising at a faster rate than at any other time in history.
According to the World Bank the global earning power of women is forecast to reach $18 trillion by 2014.
At the same time they will control $15 trillion – 70 percent – of total global consumer spend the Boston Consulting Group said.
In the Middle East alone, women will control $383 billion of the regions wealth by next year.
These were just some of the insights revealed about this crucial consumer demographic during the fourth annual GMR Marketing to Women Conference held recently at the Grosvenor House, Dubai.
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The sell out event, organized, by Mediaquest Events, was sponsored by Choueri Group, Bashayer Investment Co, Yahoo Maktoob and Damas.
Nearly 200 marketing professionals from across the region gathered to hear a panel of expert speakers address and analyze the key issues and trends that influence womens purchase decisions.
Keynote speaker was US based gender-marketing guru and author of Marketing to Women Marti Barletta who outlined the different, physiological approaches to purchasing between men and women.
Men, she said, are linear thinkers and more likely to prioritize or focus on single purchase.
“They prioritize the important things”, she told the delegates.
Women, through combining the roles of motherhood, wife and often career, continually multitask therefore maximize all shopping opportunities.
“They prioritize the important things and the extras. They will go the extra mile to get it just right, she added.
Turning more specifically to women in Saudi Arabia, TNS consultant, Stuart Campbell Morris chartered the evolution of brands from commodity, through to badge of identity. We are now in the era of brand of as relationship he told delegates.
He also described the profound change in attitudes and aspirations among women in the Kingdom since the accession of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, whose social change initiatives are slowly reshaping their role in society.
Marketers should feature women as the central subject of their advertising as they are achieving more success and are therefore more open to authoritative scenarios and accomplishment.
Kraft MEAs managing director Vishal Tikku reminded delegates of the importance of building trust in brands. Echoing Campbell Morriss earlier advice he said that brand communication needed to strike a balance between entrenched usage habits and the changing mindset of women.
More than 40 percent of private wealth in Saudi Arabia is owned by women which offers a huge opportunity for the financial services industry as long as it communicates with women in meaningful, relevant way said Al Rajhi Bank, general manager Yusuf Jehangir.
“Females that are in the bankable age represents almost 46 percent of the total female populations,” he said adding that 96 percent prefer Islamic products.
Anthony Ponsford, country general manager, LOreal Middle East examined the break neck speed of mall development across the region and its impact on the luxury sector.
“Malls are open access academies of social distinction he said. Brands he added should cultivate a more qualified awareness and make experiential relationship breakthroughs at the point-of-sale.
Monica Shina, group PR manager – Brand PR AP&P, Procter & Gamble Gulf talked the audience through the powerful influence of peer group word-of-mouth advocacy on mothers.
Some 5 million moms around the world blog each week she said.
In the Arabian Peninsula alone there are 900,000 moms online, out of MEA internet usage of 57 million users of which 70 per cent use social networks so the power of social media cannot be ignored.
Unilever Gulfs marketing director, Home and Personal Care, Kenneth Lingan retraced the history of 50 year the Sunsilk brand.
The brand, he said had lost its identity throughout the years due to the volume of range extensions and innovations. Without a clear USP the range no longer connected with the target market.
A new marketing strategy of collaborating with hair experts helped the brand redefine its core message and regain the trust of consumers he said.
CEO of VLCC International Sandeep Ahuja emphasized the growing importance of the burgeoning wellness sector which has seen spas and salons move beyond cosmetic and indulgence into more holistic wellness centers embracing weight management and nutrition as well.
Alexandre Hawari, co-CEO Mediaquest added that that Mediaquest Events had committed significant resources behind the GMR conference program which would see the addition of more specialist seminars and workshops later in the year. – SG