Brace yourself as I go out on a limb...
Typically, it's the female portion of a household that does most of the legwork and the first round of decision-making when a new home is sought. The woman usually does the initial calling, makes first contact with agents, scours the home magazines, and gathers information about the schools, neighborhoods and the community. Many women "vet" the options and take a pre-qualified list of agents, homes, locations, etc to their masculine counterpart before the "cooperative decision-making" even begins. And, when a relocation is required, usually the woman juggles the lion's share of the domestic details and the "settling in" portion of the move, especially when children are involved.
Forgive the broad, sweeping generalizations... but men tend to be a bit more content with the house they currently inhabit. They tend to be a bit less "uptight" when there are major changes and, lets face it, most men make fewer lists than the women in their lives. I'm not saying that the way women handle these situations is necessarily a good thing (personally, I think it's a curse), and I'm not saying it's true in all couple dynamics.
Now, before you throw things at me and call me sexist... think about the people you know. Think about the clients you have and have had. And let me share a bit of information about working mothers and their media habits.
Yep, as you probably suspected, this is about marketing after all :)
I received a report this morning from The Media Audit that revealed some interesting trends in the media use by working mothers. I believe the findings of this report are of interest to real estate agents because most (but not all) real estate agents are dealing with two-income households (with children) and those households tend to buy larger houses in more expensive neighborhoods than their single or no-children or single-income family counterparts.
According to the report:
- 28% of households in the 87 metro markets surveyed have two incomes, but over 60% of the households with working mothers have two incomes.
- Nearly 20% of families with working mothers have incomes of $100K+, compared to less than 17% among a collection of all households
- Approximately 75% of working women are between the ages of 25 and 49, contrasted with under 50% of the same age bracket in the total adult population in the markets surveyed.
Having children in the home impacts all financial decisions, especially large purchases like homes. And, working women are most attentive to and most often exposed to the following media types (where an index of 100 is the market average):
- Direct Mail (with an index of 122 -- only two points lower than it was five years ago)
- Radio (with an index of 113 -- only one point lower than it was five years ago)
- Internet (with an index of 111 -- 14 points higher than five years ago)
Women have the lowest indexes for television (index of 81) and newspapers (index of 60).
So, if the "working mothers" demographic is one you want to attract, you may want to reconsider your venue rather than just revamping your message. To me, this all makes sense... working mothers don't have time to sit down and read the paper and we seldom have time to watch television. Radio is something we do while accomplishing other tasks (to and from work, while running errands and even while working) and the increase in Internet exposure is easily explained by the increased use for work (which leads to a dependence on this media mode for information gathering in general and may lead to distraction down other paths like shopping, house hunting, even while engaged in work-related activities).
The big surprise for me? The popularity of direct mail. (I sort my mail over the garbage can at the post office.) For me, it has to be pretty impressive to ever make it out of the lobby and into my car.
In this study, heavy exposure for direct mail is defined as anyone who reads 75% or more of the direct mail they receive. So, while you are building your online campaigns, placing newspaper ads, launching radio spots and contemplating TV commercials... don't forget the importance of old-fashioned snail-mail. Internet use is out-pacing the other modes, but it's still lagging behind the steadfast standard -- print and a stamp.
Demographics, statistics and media buys aside, there is another reason to appeal to the working mothers in your market -- a reason that children have understood for years -- "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." If you capture her attention and secure her trust on a major decision like buying a home, the rest of the family will probably follow.