Attention Male Marketers: Women Can Be Bought

Recently, I’ve received a rash of coupons in the mail. I’m not talking about the Val-Pak kind (although I do like those). I’m talking about serious discounts from specific retailers. The rundown:

Victoria’s Secret. Happy birthday to me! $10 off my in-store purchase.
$20 off my purchase. $30 if I spend $75.
Saks Fifth Avenue.
$25 dollars off my $100 purchase.

As a “recession-ista,” I’m not about to turn these discounts down. They mean I get stuff I may not have purchased otherwise. Here’s what I mean:

  • Underwear was not on my mind, but now that I can get the 5 for $25 deal for a mere $15, I decided to go ahead and make the purchase.
  • I haven’t shopped at Express in ages, but I need a new dress for the aforementioned birthday. Because of the discount, they will be my first stop. I may not buy from them, but I sure will try. I want to pay $45 for $75 worth of dress.
  • I need some MAC makeup. I had planned to go to the MAC store sometime this week, but now I’ll use the Saks coupon. I’ll probably buy more than I had intended because…well, it’s free-ish.

For the most part, I’m not altering my purchases, only WHERE and WHEN I make them. Some recent research supports my personal behavior:

Online. 68% of survey respondents said online coupons are a major factor in influencing purchases.

Mobile. 67% of heavy smart phone using women are interested in receiving mobile coupons or vouchers.

In-store. 81% percent of consumers say it’s fun to see how much they can save using a loyalty card or coupon.

Fun? That’s right, retailers. Saving has become a leisure sport.

This is a win-win situation. By offering women a coupon or discount, you are giving them a reason to visit your store. At the same time, you haven’t actually marked your merchandise down. The product retains its intrinsic value. You get more traffic and in turn build loyalty. Sunshine! Warm fuzzies all around! You get the idea.

So here’s the moral of the story: even after the Recession ends, women are going to be more cautious with their funds. As a retailer, you’d be wise to “buy” their loyalty.



Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

5 Responses to “Attention Male Marketers: Women Can Be Bought”

  1. Hi Stephanie,

    The same goes for men too. Whenever I’m about to purchase something online, I’ll always do a search for a discount code or coupon first. So many times, I have saved 25-30% off the price or received free shipping.

    Who doesn’t like to save some money?

  2. Ooh, I would have to disagree with this! For marketers “coupon culture” is great, but is it really advantageous to “buy” the loyalty of your customers for the long-term by devaluing your product? By only encouraging people to think of it when they have a coupon?

    I’ve worn Express jeans for years because they fit me better than any other brand. I would have bought them anyway, but now that I know I can get them with a coupon at pretty regular intervals I make due when I need a new pair until I receive one!

    Here in the outlying county sprawl of St. Louis, MO “coupon culture” is an independent retail/restaurant killer as well. I believe in using it as a push but NOT as an intrinsic part of a business model!

  3. Great point Jenn and I actually warn against that in another post. I had considered linking to it here and your comment has confirmed that I should. :)

  4. Oh, this one is great! It’s almost two perspectives: you the consumer and then your advice for a business in the linked article! Do you believe the coupon-oriented companies you cited in this present entry will be fighting just that battle to come back if they are not already, or that they have found a productive balance for themselves? As larger companies their range of experimentation and adaptation can be much broader than smaller, local businesses.


  5. Great insights into how moms buy today! BSM Media recently did a survey that revealed 60% of survey participants used coupons for the 1st time last year. Check out this article at

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