When Marketing to Women, Financial Brands Fall Way Short

Nine out of ten women believe that advertisers don't understand them. Marketing from financial institutions in particular fails to connect with women on a personal level.

93% of women say they have significant influence on what financial services their family purchases. With so much influence, one would assume that financial services companies would market effectively to women but research by Insights in Marketing says differently.

87% of women would like to work with a financial adviser, but only 17% do.

  • Banking – 14% of women say Chase markets their products/services effectively to them, while only 12% of women believe BofA is on target.
  • Credit Cards – 15% of women say American Express markets their products/services effectively to them, but Visa ranks the highest out of the brands reviewed and comes in at 28%.
  • Investment Services – Only 4% of women say Charles Schwab markets their products/services effectively to them — the top investment firm in the study. 3% said TD Ameritrade did a good job.
  • Insurance Companies – 15% of women say GEICO markets their products/services effectively to them. 14% feel the same way about Allstate, while only 12% say the same thing about State Farm.

Of the 58 specific brands included in the study, no company scored higher than 49% among respondents agreeing that the brand effectively markets to “her.” Consumer products brands topped the list of brands viewed as more effectively marketing to women. But even these brands failed to appeal to more than 50% of women.

Only 3% of creative directors in the advertising industry are women.

Women say that companies market more effectively to men than to women. Hardly surprising when you realize that only 3% of the creative directors working in the advertising business are women.

Besides the financial and insurance sectors, both the automobile and alcoholic beverage industries struggle in their efforts to connect with women.

Boomer women in particular feel disconnected from marketing messages. Many financial brands are missing opportunities to connect with Boomer women at a time in their lives when they not only have interest but also the resources to engage in these categories.

Conversely, Millenials were most likely to connect with today’s marketing messages, but the spending power of this group is decidedly lower than Boomers.

Women say that financial institutions that do manage to market their products and services effectively to the female demographic still have a lot of room for improvement. They see the relevancy to women, just not to themselves. Women are essentially telling marketers, “Hey this is great for my friends, my sister, my mother but not for me.”

A 2009 study by Financial Finesse back shows stark differences in the ways men and women feel about money. The firm analyzed more than 3,000 responses to an online financial planning questionnaire, revealing trends regarding spending, saving and investing.


Another study from Boston Consulting Group back in 2010 found that women globally identified financial services as the industry they are most dissatisfied with on a service and product level. Those surveyed said the industry doesn’t understand that women view money and wealth differently from men. For example, women don’t seek to accumulate money, the study reported, but see it as a way to care for their families, improve their lives and find security.

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