The Power of the Purse: How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World's Most Important Consumers

Fara Warner, Author . Pearson/Prentice-Hall $25.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-13-185519-9

This engaging marketing primer urges companies to stop taking women customers for granted. Drawing on pop-sociology research into the collapse of rigid sex roles in the dawning "post-gender" age, Fast Company writer Warner notes that, in addition to their traditional penchant for shopping, women now have high-paying jobs and financial independence, and they're invading previously masculine preserves like home repairs and sweaty competitive sports. To reach the new woman, she contends, companies must stop thinking of them only as wives and mothers and do more than add a token female to their ads or offer existing products in pink. She illustrates with a number of case-study anecdotes about corporate marketing innovations, including Home Depot's female-friendly power-tools seminars; Kodak's marketing of easy-to-download digital cameras to technophobic women; clothing realtor Hot Topic's targeting of skimpy fashions to chubby teens; and DeBeers's bittersweet campaign to get women to buy their own diamonds instead of pining for a man to do it. Warner's premise is somewhat overblown, since, in general, business is raptly attentive to female consumers, but she offers a useful exhortation to stay abreast of the onrushing vanguard of girl power. And if most of the initiatives she showcases boil down to a more sophisticated form of pandering, well, that's what good marketing is all about. (Oct. 5)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Open Ebook - 978-0-7686-6813-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 240 pages - 978-0-7686-7252-7
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-13-705369-8
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