Market Focus?Women Investors (842 words)
Professional women with Web savvy and an interest in personal investment. Should be a rich marketing source, right?
Well, yes. But you'll have to find them first. One look at general investment lists suggests why women investors are so elusive. The Accredited Investors list is 90-percent male; one of the selects of the Active Investors Masterfile is "wives of executives."
Clearly this is considered a man's domain. Lee Kroll, president, Kroll Direct Marketing, says: "On [investment-related] subscriber files women generally account for approximately 10 percent of names."
An Untapped Resource
Buffalo, NY-based Junction List Services rents one of the few terrestrial mail lists to target the group, "Women, Money, Stocks & Bonds." According to Concetta Malasek, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Junction List Services, the average woman in this file is 42 years old and makes $45,000 a year. Since 60 percent of them are married, Malasek guesses that the average woman on the list "is the female in the house handling the finances, which is probably more common these days."
Malasek acknowledges that the list has not traditionally been "especially popular."
Jackie Renwick, account executive at Walter Karl List Co., handles the Institute for Econometric Research Masterfile and concurs that this rich resource has been largely untapped.
"No mailers have selected the female segment in quite a few years," she admits.
But the times, they are a-changin'. Twenty five percent of all American women earned college degrees in 1998. And with 51 percent of marriages ending in divorce, women who have never had formal financial training are finding themselves at the head of a household and planning for the future.
So Where Are They?
Lists of people interested in investing come from three primary sources, says Kroll: subscription-based newsletters geared toward those interested in buying stocks and bonds; magazines and other publications with the same audience; and compiled investor lists, which are usually drawn from the lifestyle select of surveys.
Keep in mind that financial information is sensitive; no list of specific stock buyers from a particular brokerage is available to the public, says Kroll.
Short of having such a made-to-order list, says Kroll, you have to be intuitive. Think of who would be most likely to invest—women with young children, for instance, or their grandparents, who want to save for their education.
You Say You Want a Revolution
Perhaps the most exciting phenomenon is the draw of the Internet for women investors today. Just as the Web has influenced other aspects of business for direct marketers, the dawn of online investing has opened up greater opportunities for reaching this particular market.
Interestingly, the digital revolution seems to be spearheading a gender revolution of sorts by helping women break into a traditionally male-dominated arena. The list of Compuserve members who have joined one or more online content areas related to personal finance, stock research and stock trading shows a higher percentage of women than exists in the general marketplace.
The Internet is a safe place for women with no financial background to learn about investing in a way that makes sense for them. On ivillage's money-centric site (www.ivillagemoneylife. com/money) you'll find features called Suddenly Single for widows and divorcees, and Starting Out for young women who want to invest in their futures. Members must register to keep their individual portfolios on the site.
A word of warning: E-mail lists in any segment are not generally gender-selectable. Stick with registrants to female-centric sites for better accuracy.
Try The Smart Sell
Since this group shares demographic traits with the more generic "wealthy homeowners" and related groups, it would most likely be responsive to a variety of luxury-item offers.
Interestingly, Malasek says that "feminine" offers test poorly. But don't rule them out entirely; a well-educated, professional group, these women are interested in investment offers that highlight the benefits of saving for their children's futures, particularly college education.
Investment offers, especially those for stock and bond investing, work best, says Malasek. She notes that The Wall Street Journal did roll out on its test.
"Most tests have been pretty small, so they may not have gotten enough of a chance to do well," Malasek adds.
What's the take-home lesson? Women investors could be a lucrative target group. Just use your imagination—and don't forget to grill your list broker—to dig deep enough to find these prospects.
Lists and Media
National Association of Investors Corporation: 231,643 active female members. NAIC members invest monthly; 95 percent have personal security accounts. Price: $115/M. Contact: Client Logic, (201) 865-5809.
Compuserve Investing: 140,930 Compuserve members who joined specialized online content areas related to personal finance, stock research and stock trading. 25 percent female; gender-selectable. Price: $150/M. Contact: Kroll Direct Media, (609) 275-2900.
Princeton Executive Women Investors: 159,785 high income women who responded to a direct mail survey. Price: $75/M. Contact: George Mann Association, (609) 443-1330.
Women, Money, Stocks & Bonds: 1,992,627 female subscribers to magazines and/or newsletters on personal investing, retirement and money management. Price: $65/M. Contact: Concetta Malasek at Junction List Services, (630) 495-5478.