Women of Color Are Women of Economic Influence
When the Maria Shriver study entitled “A Women’s Nation” was published during the latter part of 2009, it was big news for much of the nation. Finally, the impact of the women who entered the work force in massive numbers since the 1960’s were being recognized for their impact and the information was being discussed by everyone from the Cable News Shows to the various social media.
For the first time in history, over half of the work force was female and it was reported that women controlled or influenced 85 percent of all consumer purchases and decisions in this country. Women had become more educated, held positions in upper management of Fortune 500 companies, and were also the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. In other words, they influenced or controlled most of the consumer commerce in this country!
The Business Opportunity
Included in the overall statistics about women is a massive economic powerhouse which is “Women of Color”. This group in total represents about 35.2 percent of all women. From 2000 to 2007, over 85 percent of the females coming into this country were Hispanic, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native Alaskan. Currently the Women of Color Group in total is 54 million strong and is projected to grow to 63 million by 2020, 75 million by 2030, and to 100 million by 2050 or sooner according to the US Census Bureau projections. The non-Hispanic White Female Group is projected to begin to decline in population by 2040 and by 2050 half of the females in the United States will be women of Color.
Today, women of color as a group are about a decade younger in average age than non-white Hispanic females, which means as a business owner, you have an opportunity to reach them now and have a greater life time value as you provide them your products and services.
Additionally, today’s women of color, are more educated and attain 57 percent of the under-graduate degrees earned by students of color. More than half of them are single and make the decision on what products and services to purchase. 2.4 million businesses are owned by Women of Color and they employ over 1.6 million workers. Their businesses generate over $230 billion in sales revenue. These women own more and earn more than at any other time in history and the projections are that this will continue to grow.
This group is networked, brand loyal, and like so many women use the social media in which to communicate with each other and with the social network at large. They share information and they do it in beauty shops, grocery stores, at church, and everywhere there is an informal gathering.
Are you ready to increase your roi and row (return on women)?
As a business owner, how are you going to reach this very powerful and influential women of color market that is projected to have spent $1.2 trillion in the year 2010? What are you doing to reach the female market in general which represents 50 percent of the population and controls or influences 85 percent of purchases? How are you prepared to interact with the various ethnic cultures within the female group? Can you afford to have a place of business and the products and services that do not meet their needs? What business strategies do you have in place to earn their business, keep that business, and continue to grow your company?
Do you have a business plan that encompasses gender, diversity, and stages of life? How are you preparing your work force for these changes? Does the work force reflect the marketplace in which you do business? What type of training are you providing them? Do you have an advertising agency that understands cultural and gender relevant messages with an effective media plan that also includes social media? Do you know the language preferences and ethnic characteristics of your market place?
Have you analyzed your strengths and weaknesses? What do you know about your competitors and how do you compare with them? What can you do to make your products and your services relevant to this diverse market or for that matter how are you differentiating yourself from the rest of the competition?
Included in your business plan should be an evaluation of your place of business. Utilizing mystery shoppers to gain a third-party vantage point of your brick and mortar, to understand the employee handling of your customers, and to evaluate your messages in the market place is a very inexpensive and accurate way to get a true appraisal of the face you are presenting to the public.
Most importantly, track and measure your plan. Everyone must support the plan to make it work and if it is not measured and course corrected as required opportunities will be lost to grow your business.
Communicating with Women
Most of us are familiar with the book written by John Gray in 1992 “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, which offered many suggestions for improving relationships between men and women by understanding the communication style and emotional needs of the opposite gender. It was revolutionary for its time and was a well read book, but it still offers great insight and information that we should all utilize.
Training your staff to communicate more effectively with women and understand how men and women make purchases is the first step in increasing your ROI and your ROW (Return on Women). If you are going to grow your business today and in these next decades, then you will need to have a business plan that encompasses gender and diversity. Additionally, ensure that everyone is trained, trained, trained…and also held accountable.
We have the clear signs that this country is rapidly changing. Is your business ready for this new America in which we live?
Patricia J. Roberts is the director-business development for AskPatty.Com. She has 39 plus years of experience in the Automotive Industry which includes increasing the number of women who own and who work in dealerships.