Women and Tech

With the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week, it’s timely to take a closer look at who is responsible for buying household technology. While our Are Dads the New Black? research in the fall showed that among couples with children, dads still dominated technology purchases,  in recent years women have been exerting increasing control, even leading certain product categories. The difference is that women often use technology in a different way.

Marilyn Nagel, the CEO of Watermark, a non-profit organization of executive women that advocate for women in the workplace, recently wrote a story for the Huffington Post* on this topic, addressing the need for technology marketers to wake up and speak to women.  She was inspired by a story in The Atlantic: “Sorry, Young Man, You’re not the Most Important Demographic in Tech,” that articulated that women are not only big technology spenders ($20 trillion worldwide), they are “fast followers and early adopters of technology.”

Nagel went on to interview several female marketers in her organization on why technology brands must adjust their strategies to achieve success.  Founder and CEO of PixInk, Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa, explained the “three screen women” phenomenon, i.e. a woman who “spends time shopping on her iPad and texting her friends as she watches streaming video on her TV or laptop.” She adds that this target uses technology not as a toy but rather as “a tool to make her life easier.”

If it’s clear that women are so active in the market, why are advertisers still largely targeting young men? Another Nagel source, Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Conference, noted that “only 3% of advertising creative directors are women.  That means almost all messaging women see in the marketplace springs from a male sensibility.”

So what’s the next logical step for technology companies that may have hit a sales plateau or are struggling to reach their consumer emotionally? They must assess who is purchasing their goods before investing in a marketing strategy and stop ignoring this new consumer – she is capable, shrewd and she’d like to be better understood.