Talking What Women Want With the High Priestess of Marketing to Women

I am at a conference right now called RethinkHer in Barcelona and just had a long chat with Marti Barletta arguably the queen of marketing to women. I tweeted about her on Friday after finding her Twitter feed. In my tweet, I thanked her for her first book, aptly named, Marketing to Women, for getting me through some tough opposition when I was arguing at agencies to take women just a bit more seriously as a market force and as an arbiter of consumer decision making. It made me feel less alone in the all male creative wilderness to have her powerful proof at my fingertips.

But today, in light of my mission with WWM, I asked her, blue sky, to come up with some market opportunities out there that are being neglected. After all that exposure to the behemoth corporations and the female consumer challenge, I knew some creative ideas of her own must be percolating under the surface. After a conversation about everything from the follies of the European car companies (she feels the Asian car makers do the best job of understanding female values) to her advice to companies to make fewer jokey ads that don't relate to women -- we got to her wonderful off the cuff insights.

Her latest book,
focuses on the 50+ woman and she had this in mind when she answered.
  • Adult camps - 'I would love to go back to college. Study art history, geology...but I can´t go back during the day because I have a business - so a two week adult camp to do the things I want to do but can´t all the time would be great. I'm interested in people so Id like it to be a social thing that includes fitness and learning.
  • A fashionable fashion brand for size 14+ women - 'I know it exists but nothing is flattering. Most of these brands, take Eileen Fisher, you end up looking like a rumpled mess with the fabrics they use and the cuts of the jackets. I'm convinced that the fashion industry doesn't care about their customers. Fashion brands only care what the other fashion houses think of them and what Vogue thinks of them. If they want to be the artistes of the world, great, but I thought they wanted to sell to customers. Isn't fashion a business after all?'
  • Home Design that considers reality - 'It's still too much about form and not enough about function. The command center of the house is the kitchen. Why isn't there a nice big wide desk and lots of places to put things. The woman has to watch the stove, the kids, do her work, have a computer and her files nearby. Why is there only this tiny little desk and chair. Also there are never nearly enough plugs in a house.'

I thought these insights were just fantastic. There's a woman named Mary Lou Quinlan that has a company with the greatest name. It's called Just Ask a Woman. How true!? When Marti Barletta did her presentation later in the day, she was thoroughly engaging and right on the money. In fact, during the day, I was surprised by all the fresh information. I was scribbling like mad. Stay tuned for another post with all the tidbits and insights from the whole days event including Marti's.

Marti Barletta's Chicago-based company is called TrendSight.

-Chauncey Zalkin