Targeting Specific Demographics: What Do Women Respond To in the Marketplace?

Is your credit union is consistently trying to come up with new ways to deepen existing member relationships and appeal to new members? Targeting specific member segments might be an effective tactic. Do you know how to successfully reach out to female members?


If your credit union has struggled to come up with new ways to deepen existing member relationships or appeal to new potential members, I would like explore a possible strategy for you to consider. It is difficult to effectively engage your entire membership using a single blanket message designed to appeal to everyone. In fact, a general marketing message often fails to resonate strongly with any particular group because it doesn't focus on specific member needs. Marketing efforts can be much more effective when you narrow your focus to specific member segments.

Let's focus on how to target a member segment that currently comprises 52% of credit union member ship, controls 75% of household finances, and 80% of purchasing decisions: women.

For further explanation about what financial needs women specifically face, please refer to the following article: A Growing Economic Force with Unique Needs .

According to Marketing Research, Women Respond To:
Time seems to be everyone's most precious commodity, and it only seems to be getting scarcer. Today's woman has more on her plate than ever, and is attracted to products and services that can help her spend time efficiently or make her life easier.

 A Relationship-Based Approach
Women spend a significant amount of time thinking about and caring for others. You can reach women by showing them how your products and services can help them enrich their lives and the lives of those they care about (life insurance, college savings, retirement and financial planning). As institutions that strive to provide excellent customer service, this should be an area where credit unions already have a natural advantage!

 Positive Corporate Philosophy
Women are heavily influenced by environmental and social responsibility and are more likely than men to make decisions based not only on products & services, but on what an organization stands for. Do not simply display your philosophy as a short sentence on your home page, but clearly publicize your entire message and actually spell out what makes you unique from other financial institutions.

Be specific when you explain how you benefit your community. Don't just mention that you sponsor a local event for the United Way , but clarify what exactly that sponsorship entails. Why does your credit union care about this cause? Do your employees volunteer? Do you give money or help organize the event? If it's appropriate, include a specific story or quote describing how the cause positively affected someone. Play to your natural strength as a credit union; your basic philosophy and community involvement should resonate strongly with women!

Online Presence
Women are now the dominant demographic using the internet and a recent study found that most women go online to save time, simplify their lives, and to help them make smart decisions. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate, focus on important information, and decrease clutter. Your website is one of your most important access points for your members, and one that you cannot afford to ignore!

General Marketing Tips:

  • Women respond well to print media & direct marketing, and least to radio and billboards advertisements. (Consumer Focus)
  • Women are more likely than men to pay attention to email marketing, but are also more likely to ignore similar messages in the future if they don't view the marketing as relevant. (Marketing to Women Online, Buchanan)
  • In your marketing materials, focus on building a connection between the particular product or service you are promoting and how it affects people (Marketing to Women, Barletta)

While women are more demanding then men when they initially chose a product or service, they are also more likely to remain loyal to the brand that they have chosen. Women themselves can actually act as your best marketing tool, they are much more likely than their male counterparts to spread word-of-mouth endorsements for an organization that they have been pleased with. In the financial world, a recommendation from friends or family can often be your single most powerful marketing resource!

If you would like to learn more about targeting specific demographics , join other credit unions and a panel of female credit union members on February 14 th for a live discussion about the most effective strategies for serving female members!




Feb. 4, 2008


  • Excellent article. I made sure to use the email option and sent it along to our Marketing VP and our 12 branch sales managers.
    Jerry McIlrath