STUDY: Advertisers Don’t Understand Women

By Patrick Coffee 


Earlier this week, New York shop The Terri & Sandi Solution got our attention with its self-effacing campaign congratulating fellow Effie Awards winners with outdoor placements and customized Google ads.

Today we noticed that they’ve compiled research from various parties to draw a conclusion that should come as a shock to none of our readers: women feel misunderstood by advertisers and, by extension, the agencies creating work for them. In short, women wield more financial power and have far greater influence over general spending patterns than their male counterparts, but they don’t feel like brands create ads with them in mind.


Some key statistics after the jump.

  • We can attribute more than 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions to women
  • “91% of women in one survey said that advertisers don’t understand them”
  • The number of women unsatisfied by ads is lowest in the food sector (59%), where they have the greatest influence
  • A near-majority of products typically marketed to men are actually purchased by women. Prime example: cars (65% bought by women)

These numbers won’t come as a surprise to anyone with marketing experience–and we know our readers have some thoughts to share on what they mean and how important they really are to the success of a given campaign. Still, the ultimate goal of advertising is to move product, so one expects agencies to do everything in their power to better target those most responsible for determining where money gets spent.

Of course, the findings collected by T&SS play into an issue even more specifically relevant to the ad industry.

At Cannes, Sheryl Sandberg reminded us that women hold only 3% of creative director roles around the world. That number hasn’t changed for some time, and the ADC recently sponsored a “50/50 initiative” in an effort to bring more women into the business. Here’s a video:

The questions at hand: how can clients speak more directly to the most important demographic? And how much does their perceived failure to do so relate to a shortage of female creatives/strategists at agencies?