How To Talk To Women In Your Medical Marketing (And Why You Have To)

Last year, I spoke at a private medical marketing summit about how men and women make buying decisions very differently and how that significantly impacts the way you market to them. I told this kind-of-funny story about the couple shopping for a BMW 540i:

After months of research, this particular couple finally found their dream car. Striding into the dealership, they knew that within a few short hours they’d be leaving with 3,000 pounds of fine German steel.

The husband jumped behind the wheel, the salesman rode shotgun. They talked torque and performance engineering. So far, so good. The test drive was going fantastically. But then the wife, sitting in the back, noticed something that really bothered her. It seemed so trivial, but the more she thought about it the more it bugged her. So, wincing inwardly at the scorning that was likely going to come from the front seat, she asked the salesperson,

“So, what’s up with the cup holders?”

The salesperson shot her a pitiful stare. “They’re right there.”

“Yes,” she replied, “but they’re so tiny. And those claws look flimsy. There’s no way they’d actually hold a coffee mug.”

Deathly silence from the front seat. Her husband did his best to keep a straight face.

“Well, that’s because Europeans don’t eat or drink in their cars,” the salesman retorted curtly.

“Yes, but I do,” the wife insisted, “and so do my kids.”

Another irritated look from the salesman, “Well, you could just hold your drinks between your legs.”

Game over.

The salesman went home that day with only moths in his wallet. And the husband and wife team went home without their new car, although theirs was only a temporary setback.

After doing some research online, they found that the pathetic cup holders were a common complaint of many BMW owners. The answer was to buy an attachment to fix the problem. Happy to have a solution to their problem, the husband and wife team went back to a different dealership and this time, came home with their new Beamer.

You’re not alone if you’re reading this thinking that it sounds pretty silly that a $50,000 deal could be blown because of some flimsy cup holders. But the car salesperson made the very common (and very costly) mistake of assuming that the woman didn’t have any say in the buying decision. According to the most recent statistics, not only do most women influence 80% of all car purchases, they also buy the majority of cars (including trucks).

There are two sexes in the human race and only one of them does the shopping (and most of the decision making).

According to Forbes Life Magazine, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases

91% new homes 66% computers 92% vacations 80% healthcare decisions 89% bank accounts 93% food 90% insurance, investments and retirement accounts

What does this mean for you as a physician? It means that all your practice marketing had better resonate with women on the deepest possible level (and using photos of women in your marketing doesn’t count!) – otherwise you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.