Friday, June 26, 2009

Marketing to Women: A Success Story

As my friends and family will verify: few things make me happier than being right (please, no comments from said friends and family). And, yesterday evening, certainly unwittingly, Ameriprise financial planners in Cranston, RI, proved me right. Specifically, they confirmed all the reports I wrote during many years reporting on the financial and buying power of women.

At the gracious invitation of Lori at Tomgirl Tours, last night I had the pleasure attending Ameriprise's "Girls' Night Out" event, a small gathering of professional women at Ameriprise's office in Cranston's Garden City shopping center. Not sure what to expect, I found myself greeted by three warm, funny and friendly (and, most importantly, no-pressure) financial planners: Christopher Di Fronzo, Christopher Hager and Eric Tunstall. From there, I was able to network with my peers for a while, and met some fabulous women. Then, Ameriprise offered a short (again, I stress: no pressure) introduction to their services, with a slant on how women (or anyone) can navigate these trying economic times. 

From there, the evening evolved into an entertaining wine tasting and education hosted by the fabulous Marc Guillotte, of The People's Liquor Warehouse in Apponaug, RI. I'm sure there are countless others who will agree: there aren't many business networking events you attend where you (genuinely) laugh until you almost cry, and aren't perhaps watching the clock and the door for an escape route. This was one of those rare occasions. Indeed, the event was scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. and when, at 8:30 p.m., guests were asked if they wanted to leave, most stayed in their seats. Yes, in one short evening I experienced exactly the lessons I preached so many times as a business journalist covering the high-end market, and those I continue to preach as a publicist for small, upscale businesses:

  1. Women have the financial power in today's economy
  2. Women need to be marketed to in a completely different (aka: low-pressure) way than men
  3. Build relationships, and business will follow
  4. Make lemonade: look for ways to make the most of a "bad" economy for yourselves and, more importantly, your customers

So, at approximately 9 p.m., after a three-hour event that surely required a lot of pre-planning and coordination (along with an investment by Ameriprise, which offered a lovely spread of food, and the People's Liquor Warehouse, which brought the fabulous wine we all sampled) what did these companies have "to show for it"? Did Ameriprise have any contracts signed on the dotted line? Did the People's Liquor Warehouse have any receipts for sold bottles of wine? Absolutely not. But, did 25 well-connected local businesswomen leave that room feeling so confident in and connected with their hosts that, whenever they (or, perhaps, more importantly: their friends via word of mouth) are looking for financial planners, they know exactly where they will go? Absolutely. And, when they are shopping for wine, they know what store they will patronize? Absolutely.

And that, my friends, is how a business taps into the financial strength of women in their community. Better yet, it is how they turn a "negative" (the economy) into a "positive" (how to survive it and thrive). And, from my view: best yet, it is public relations at its finest. 

1 comment:

  1. Leigh from Phila

    I love your writing voice!