There are quite a few business sectors that present opportunities to change the way women are targeted. From fashion and child care to fitness and aging, a lot of these sectors employ “old school” business models that are run mainly by men.
This is where FemTech comes in.
Based in New York City, FemTech Lab is a lab that focuses on the world’s largest emerging market: WOMEN. FemTech Lab will focus on start-up businesses that target women, or start-ups run by female founders.
Women represent 72.8% of US consumption directly or through influence according to the Harvard Business Review. They account for 85% of all consumer purchases and now globally control $20 billion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years.
FemTech will be encouraging their member companies to start by using innovative technology to create data sets that profile behaviors and unmet needs. The priorities of the female consumer are universal and together they represent the largest emerging market in the world.
Companies simply have much to learn about selling to women. Jenny Darroch, a subject matter expert, and the author of a 2014 book Why Marketing to Women Doesn’t Work notes a lot of the nonsensical marketing techniques used by different companies to target women.
Darroch uses the expression “shrink it and pink it,” to talk about marketing strategies geared towards women. This approach was used by some companies like BIC when they made a pink lighter designed to be easier to use for women, or Black & Decker when they created pink power drills designed to be more user-friendly for women. These changes are merely cosmetic. BIC lighters still work like normal lighters and Black & Decker power drills still drill the same holes in the wall…so what’s the benefit?
While such theories may have worked in the past, the tech-enabled generation demands products and services that solve real issues — not just simply changing the color and size to something that fits the female stereotype. Efficiency, convenience, quality, and affordability are very important to all customers.
Darroch observed that when pink is used it falls into the connotations of femininity: Sweet, demure, modest, loving, friendly, kind. “Shrinking and pinking” doesn’t sync with the characteristics of many start-up founders. Entrepreneurs build businesses to solve pain points – the product or service is built from day one with the customer archetype in mind.
Entrepreneurs simply can’t afford to just change the color and hope for the best. They are relentless innovators and their out-of-the-box thinking and fearless attitude empowers them to ask the tough questions and challenge the norms.
Whether they’re male or female, founders are able to quickly build tech enabled businesses, while collecting real time feedback and data from customers; it’s not about their preconceived notions, it’s about real results. While many women are dedicated to building business that are aware of what features would enhance their everyday lives, FemTech also plans on mentoring male-run startups. FemTech aims to provide the tools to create more diverse perspectives that focus on the true needs of the target customer.
Corporate America: Take Note
While big companies spend millions on trying to understand women, they seem painfully slow to really understand what it takes. FemTech Lab hopes to collaborate with interesting start-ups in order to empower the world of the female customer and help big companies create a better working environment for women.
FemTech Lab is about thinking big and on a strategic level. FemTech will push boundaries and break stereotypes to truly understand how to serve women better. FemTech provides a symbiotic environment for the participating companies using highly detailed consumer profiles based on real-time big data, and the best technology to create companies that improve the everyday of women. There is tremendous untapped potential in this under-served $25 trillion market. Together, 20 start-up companies will create businesses based on innovative solutions targeting women.