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Recommended Reading

Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching The World's Most Powerful Consumers

Bridget Brennan, Crown Publishing, 322 pages, 2009, hardcover, $26; also available as e-book.

In her new book Why She Buys, Bridget Brennan gets to the heart of many companies' less-than-stellar performance in today's marketplace: "Men are the sex that manufactures products and women are the sex that buys them" -- and most men do not understand women.

Using humor and scores of real-life examples, the book provides a blueprint for better tailoring products and marketing campaigns to women, the world's most powerful consumers. "Women are females first and consumers second," Brennan writes, adding the ability to understand women's brain structures, priorities, worldviews and demographic patterns can provide companies with one of the most genuine competitive advantages they'll ever know.

As CEO of Female Factor, Brennan has pioneered business strategies that appeal to women consumers and worked with many of the world's largest companies to put those strategies into practice. In Why She Buys, she lays out how few companies consider the psychology of gender when analyzing consumers. Through case studies and interviews, the author spells out successful companies' strategies for cracking the gender code and details horror stories of those who haven't.

Among Brennan's words of advice: "Forget everything you think you know; most of it is wrong," "Having women on your team is not enough" and "Pink is not a strategy."

Philip Kotler, S.C. Johnson & Son Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, calls the book a "highly readable road map to help marketers and sales people understand women's beliefs, values and sensitivities."

Why She Buys offers specific solutions on how to bridge the gender gap, a span that many of today's biggest consumer products makers have yet to cross.

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