What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Women- Nikhil Rangnekar and Madhukar Sabnavis

17 Oct,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Nikhil Rangnekar and Madhukar Sabnavis



‘Women are emotional beings who need constant attention’


By Nikhil Rangnekar


A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.

– Rudyard Kipling, author


When you’re talking to a target group with a strong emotional quotient (EQ) and extremely strong purchasing power, you need to be a careful marketer. Here are some things to remember when marketing to this ever-evolving power tribe:


• Stay away from claims that can’t be supported with data, research, consumer experience or any other tangible evidence:

Women are less likely to fall for unsupported claims or marketing gimmicks. I remember a shampoo ad in India that showed research done in Thailand as proof of their claim. Not only do these kind of gimmicks show the marketer in poor light but they also have a negative ruboff on the brand.


• Understand emerging segments within women and cater to them differently:

The emerging class of “single urban working women” is buying products like cars, 2-wheelers, insurance etc. and taking these decisions on their own. It’s time marketers recognized this segment and actively created strategies to target this audience. This could start from conceiving/developing new products/brands designed specifically for these women to advertising and media usage based on insights and media-analytics.




Targetingworking women


By Madhukar Sabnavis


According to the National Sample Survey, 30.7 per cent of the labour force in the age group 15-59 is female; and 19.9 per cent of organized sector employees are women. So, working woman is a significant segment. What does it take to address this segment? Why do Indian women work? In the lower income class, it’s often for sustaining the household- many men in this group are sponges. In middle class households, it’s often to supplement income to help live the lifestyle family members aspire for.


In fact, it is in this segment that many educated women are socially dissuaded to work post marriage- the men folk think it’s an ‘insult’ to have the woman work. This is changing albeit slowly- largely because double income means more comfortable life. In upper income segments, women work as hobbies- to fill the free time from home duty and when other folk in the house are out doing their own things. This could sound an oversimplification; but it is perhaps close to the truth. Many researches among the lower and lower middle income groups have revealed that women who work before marriage do so not to get a better bridegroom or for self fulfillment but to give their family- parents and siblings- a better life!


There are the ‘odd’ middle class women who work before marriage to fulfill their personal dreams before marriage settles their life forever- however, they remain small. It’s instructive to understand two classes of women who don’t work post marriage. If the choice is personal and the relationship with the husband is one of mutual respect, there is little angst. Where the choice is enforced and the relationship is one of duty, there is angst. The angst is often about the lack of respect that she feels she would have got if she had been working.




• Recognise the changing shopping behaviour of women:

Gone are the days when advertising on mass media alone was the mantra for success. Shopping, especially in metros and mini metros, has shifted from the grocer to the local super market. What are the implications of this changing behavior? Firstly, it is likely that the role of the grocer/shop-keeper would have diminished significantly and peer group, friends and relatives are the new source of information about brands. Marketers need to keep existing consumers happy and have a robust WOM strategy in place. Engagement – thy name is woman:


Women are emotional beings who need constant attention… 🙂 Most of the advertising we see still depicts the woman in a stereotypical role e.g. mother, wife, sister-in-law etc. To make matters worse, communication is a one-way street where the brand talks and the woman listens.


It’s time to move away from this monologue and start a dialogue with the consumer. With the proliferation of digital media, successful brands will be the ones that engage with their audience.





What does this all mean? ‘Working’ woman or ‘house wife’ the core driver of the Indian woman remains family and nurturance- the need to be a fantastic homemaker. So, what do brands need to do to target them right? Clearly these women, when part of double income families, can afford better products and services for the family. However to manage their lives, convenience, time management and stress reduction are good product benefits.


Guilt reduction is a good brand statement that helps the working woman feel better. However, deeper what she will cherish most is brands that get family and society realize, understand and appreciate the ‘two’ jobs a working woman is doing, show her respect and provide her help for doing the same. This is a big gap in the working woman’s life. In fact, celebrating a ‘housewife’s full time job is an implicit tribute to the ‘higher’ value a ‘working’ woman is bringing to a family.


More than celebrating her ‘superwoman hood’, the working woman can be more powerfully activated and engaged by driving greater social consciousness about her challenges and her contributions. Something worth thinking about.




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