What would make women consumers walk with their wallets?

What would make you walk with your wallet?

The power of the purse

I was recently asked to sign a petition against an ad issued by Ryanair telling the world that not only did they have had “red hot fares” they also had ” red hot crew” with an image of a woman ( presumably aforementioned red hot cabin crew member) posing seductively in her underwear. Ryanair is no stranger to being rapped on the knuckles for inappropriate or misleading content, but this particular one at the time of writing seems to have escaped under the net. It truthfully is like turning the clock back 50 years. Mr Michael O’Leary the airline’s CEO, is also thinking of introducing in-flight pornography as a service. Oh no, don’t worry, not on screens, only via hand held devices. Well that’s OK then!

This follows Dr.Peppers “not for women” advertisement which also produced a furore and happily damaged its consumer approval ratings.

Now I’m not fan of Ryanair or Dr. Pepper and would avoid both like the plague, unless absolutely desperate. I can however appreciate that for many the airline has offered fabulous opportunities for travel,  they might not otherwise have had, because of those affordable fares. Dr. Pepper has no redeeming features as far as I can see.

Women are biggest consumer influencers

However, that is not the point. Women today are the world’s biggest consumer market. We make, or influence 80% of major household purchasing decisions “Today’s woman is the chief purchasing agent of the family and marketers have to recognize that,” says Michael Silverstein, principal at Boston Consulting Group and author of Trading Up: The New American Luxury. According to Tesco Travel UK women are the major decision  influencers of travel decisions, while men are the big spenders once at the destination. So hopefully these women consumers will switch to another airline and take their men’s euros/dollars/pounds etc. with them.

So isn’t it about time we started walking with our wallets? This isn’t even about the companies which don’t cater for our needs! Shouldn’t we be refusing to buy the products and services of blatantly exploitative and abusive companies with dubious ethics, whether via advertising (e.g. Ryanair, Dr. Pepper) employment practises  (e.g. Wal-Mart and many others) or supplier contracts (e.g. Primark)? A very successful campaign was launched against retailers selling sexualised underwear for under 12 year olds. It shows that it can be done if women care enough.

But what do we care about? What would make you change suppliers or service providers? How bad does  it have to get before we are willing to walk, taking our cash with us?

Please take time to sign the petition and circulate it  as widely as you can in your networks! Click here!

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Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she joins the dots between organisations, individuals, opportunity and success.

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