The momentum is now with women
I swear this will be my last post about “Desperate Housewives.” Pardon the bad pun, but it’s very fertile ground when it comes to marketing to women.
Sorry about that. Couldn’t resist.
Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, the fact that 30- and 40-something women are now considered sex symbols is remarkable. And TV isn’t the only thing that’s suddenly noticing the appeal of this demographic. After years of believing that the most coveted audience is the young, hip crowd in their late teens and twenties, savvy marketers are (gasp!) realizing that women don’t stop buying things once they pass age 35.
Late Gen X and Baby Boomer women are in their peak earning years and enjoy HUGE spending power, yet it’s a demographic that isn’t catered to with the same attention as others. But things are changing in the clothing category. According to NPD Group, women ages 35 to 54 spent $30.7 billion in the 12 months ending last July, up 1.7 percent over the previous 12 months.
You’ve probably shopped or at least heard of Talbot’s, (www.talbots.com) but maybe not about Chico’s. Chico’s (www.chicos.com) is a successful clothing chain that targets these women in their 400+ stores across the country. With a simple sizing system, comfortable styles and an emphasis on helping customers build wardrobes, Chico’s is growing quickly and already enjoys 9 percent market share with Boomers. The company is also testing a lingerie concept called Soma that could become the Victoria’s Secret alternative for women that don’t want super-sexy, vampy styles but also don’t want to look like they’re wearing Granny panties, either.
But they’ll soon have competition from new concept stores from Gap and Gymboree. Gap’s unnamed effort will be distinct from its sister brands, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, officials say, and they plan to open 10 stores this year. Gymboree, better known for its children’s clothing, is dipping its toes into the water with a concept called Janeville. Gymboree CEO Lisa Harper says the ultimate Janeville target is a 38-year-old woman who’s moved beyond the college and career years into home and family. Oh, and she has a household income of at least $85,000 a year. The company already has stores open on the West Coast and hopes to open as many as 400 stores in the next seven to eight years.
Janeville is being marketed through direct mail sent to women in communities where stores are opening. Names are from Gymboree’s own database, more than 1 million names strong. This year, the company expects to launch a web presence for Janeville as well as expanded marketing.
So, here’s the question to you: Are there whole groups (of women) that you’re overlooking? Are there opportunities to expand your brand beyond your current target? Are there other age groups that are being underserved? Maybe it’s time to take a look at the old assumptions and take a fresh look.