Skift Take

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I blame Destiny’s Child.

The 2000 hit “Independent Women Part I” made a big impression on me as a youngster.

Question: How’d you like this knowledge that I brought
Braggin’ on that cash that he gave you is to front
If you’re gonna brag make sure it’s your money you flaunt
Depend on no one else to give you what you want

Being directly responsible for all that you have and relying on zero people is indeed a huge source of power and pleasure for today’s biggest and least-explored market: “Indies,” the 31 million independent Gen X and Gen Y women living without kids or partners.

Comprising a third of all women, Indies have more disposable income than any other segment of women, spend more than $1 trillion a year, and own a fifth of all houses.

Indies spend $22 billion on cars (five times more than independent men), $20 billion on entertainment, and $50 billion on food.

According to The Curve Report, a consumer trends study from NBCUniversal, Indies are more likely to set trends, connect people, like brands online, try new fashion, and post ratings and reviews. They are the heaviest users of social media, FaceTime, and smartphones.

Women’s earning power is now growing at a faster rate than men’s because women now earn more higher-education degrees than men, open businesses at a faster rate, and are getting closer to wage parity for equal work.

But despite their dollar billz and status as top influencers, many marketers aren’t doing a great job at reaching Indies. Too often, all women get lumped together into one generic, pink-colored pile.

Here are 7 ways to get into the right mindset for reaching Indie women travelers:

1. Assume nothing. Plenty of women don’t want to be moms or wives. Even though Indies now outnumber married moms, it seems like brands don’t know what to do with this group. Here’s what to do: Think of us like the average Joe. Treat us the same way you’d treat a single guy named Joe with a career and cufflinks, and a jaunty hat. Then, add higher expectations.

2. Don’t see women as one homogenous group. Yes, there’s the Carrie Bradshaw, the stay-at-home mom, and the empty-nester, but there’s also about a million other women who have nothing in common with those archetypes. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, one leading appliance company showcased “The MommyTech Summit,” a collection of Internet-connected kitchen, dining room, and laundry room products. Not much better than these ads of yesteryear.

3. Don’t condescend. Don’t talk down to women, just like you wouldn’t talk down to anyone you want to buy stuff from you. Don’t assume ladies are less tech savvy than men, because we’re actually the fastest adopters and biggest consumers of technology. Remember the ill-advised Della?

4. Offer loyalty programs. Women show loyalty to brands they like. They also share information more freely with their personal and private social networks.

5. Capture the spirit of independence. About 96 percent of Millennials list “being independent as their single most important life goal” and only 50 percent said that getting married was a priority. Some 87 percent define success as being able to shape their own future. If brands can capture the emotion of Indies’ independent spirits, you’re most of the way there. Think De Beers right hand ring campaign. (Caveat: Blood diamonds are terrible, but they were on the right track otherwise.)

6. Reach out to solo and group Indie travelers. Indies are driving solo travel and group travel, but in shopping most travel websites, you’d think there are only three types of travelers: families, couples, and business. Innovating for group travel and accommodating the Indie solo traveler with secure facilities teeming with free WiFi will win you some coveted Indie likes and shares.

7. Cater to women business travelers. Half of all business travelers are women, and according to Skift, women business travelers control 60 percent of the wealth in the U.S. and influence 85 percent of all purchasing decisions. They are tech savvy and always connected. They make 58 percent of online sales. It’s important to make mobile bookings easy and keep them connected during their stay.

If you can master marketing to Indies, you’ll be well stocked with powerful brand evangelists for years to come and also make Beyoncé proud. Who doesn’t want that?

This content is created in partnership with our sponsor, buuteeq.


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