Strong Market, Strong Results
Demographic and societal trends mean that serving the women’s market is not only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. Leaders within GBA banks shared their institution’s rationale for having a women’s market program including key proof points—metrics and results—and benefits such as brand building.
- The market potential is huge given that women are underserved, are starting businesses at higher rates than men, are increasing their presence in the professions, and currently make 80 per cent of household purchasing decisions.
- The Women’s Market is a profitable business opportunity. It is not about fairness, it is firmly grounded in commercial reality.
- Return on investment is not immediate but it does come quickly otherwise the bank would shut down the program.
- If executed well, a Women’s Market program has significant first mover advantage.
- Some banks chose to focus their Women’s Market program on women with businesses exclusively, others take women as a whole-women business owners, women with jobs and women who do not do paid work. These are further segmented by income, type of business or profession.
- All segments require access to finance, information, education and networking opportunities.
- Building internal alignment requires on-going support.
- Buy-in must occur from the boardroom to the front line staff.
- Ongoing education and reinforcing internal communications for staff with key performance indicators aligned with program objectives.
- A diversity and inclusion program for staff is a prerequisite for implementing a Women’s Market program.
- A program requires a strong manager with excellent communications skills as well as Champions in the C Suite.
- A Women’s Market program is not about proving that women are a better business proposition than men, but rather that women are profitable customers.
- Women have higher net promoter scores than men, and help build the bank’s reputation and brand.
- The CSR route to serving the Women’s Market ends up with little traction; a program must be embedded in the DNA of the bank.