What Makes Women Buy (1958)
Title: “What Makes Women Buy”
Author: Janet Wolff
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc.NEW YORK
Year of Publication: 1958
LOC Catalog Entry: http://lccn.loc.gov/57012596
Copyright Status: Public Domain in the United States and countries following the rule of the shorter term
“How has the “American dream of success” affected women’s attitudes toward different products?
How has the increasing over-lap of the male-female role in modern society changed women’s attitudes?
How has women’s interest in their personal appearance radically changed?
What unique feminine attitudes and emotions result from a woman’s physiological make-up, size, strength and bone structure?
Do women really crave more enjoyment and convenience? What puts women in the buying frame of mind?
What do today’s women desire from marriage and how does this affect their reactions to different advertisements?
How much direct influence do children have on what today’s mother buys?
What makes women buy has been Janet Wolff’s chief preoccupation for the past sixteen years. As a copywriter for Compton Advertising, a Vice President and copy group head of J. Walter Thompson Co. and now as a Vice President and Associate Creative Director at William Esty, Inc., she has written and directed all forms of advertising geared to the feminine mind. Her roster of accounts has carried such names as Ivory Soap, Lux Flakes, Richard Hudnut, Ford Motor Cars, Kodak, Kraft Cheese, Scot Paper, Salem Cigarettes, Pertussin Cough Syrup, Paquins, Ever-ready Batteries, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.”
“Whatever you are selling, from a bar of soap to a limousine, chances are today’s new woman is in the picture. Either she buys the product herself or she influences the person who does. When it comes to men’s clothing, for instance, a Roper survey showed that women influence 70 per cent of men’s clothing purchases. In the office-equipment field it is often necessary for a salesman to spend as much time selling the secretary as the boss. Independent surveys and auto manufacturers both have reported that women influence, at least partially, 75 to 80 per cent of car purchases. And, of course, in their own domain as family purchasing agent for food, beauty aids, drugs, fashions, and the home itself as likely as not, women reign as queens of the family exchequer. Looking ahead to more and more women working at jobs outside the home, and realizing that they are rapidly invading traditional male areas, it is not unrealistic to assume that their influence soon will be felt on an even wider variety of products, even in industrial purchasing.
Today’s women drive a hard bargain. And with the wealth and opportunity to buy, their ideas, whims, habits, fancies, eccentricities, and intuitions take on new importance to anyone selling to them.
When manufacturing a product for today’s women, when selling to them person to person, when buying goods for women, and when writing or evaluating advertising for magazines, newspapers, radio, or television that is directed at women, the job can be done more precisely, more effectively, if the appeal is right. The person who really understands what makes the new women of today tick—and buy —can give a product a competitive edge with them by knowing how to design and sell products, guide a sales organization, and write advertising copy directly to the point, with less guessing . . . less hunching . . . less spending.
What Makes Women Buy charts this selling course in detail. It discusses the influences, the problems, the desires of today’s women. It shows how they think, how their attitudes are changing—what they want from your product, what will interest and appeal to them and why. It collects between covers much of the authoritative material on American women today, from a variety of sources—magazine and newspaper surveys, readership reports, current magazine articles, market and business reports, motivation surveys and reports. It covers up-to-date points of view in psychology, anthropology, so¬ciology, American history, marketing, and advertising—as they per¬tain to today’s new women.
But most important What Makes Women Buy is designed to be a practical handbook for all men and women who have women cus¬tomers—advertisers, manufacturers, copywriters, salesmen, buyers, designers, editors, retailers. At the end of each chapter, specific Feminine Guideposts put the information into easy-to-use form. All the material has been translated into practical selling tools—tools that will work for you, and help you to promote more successful sales to today’s women. And although American women today are infinitely more complex than their forebears ever were, these guide-posts point out the way to tap this enormous, lucrative feminine market without so much of the guesswork used in the past—by show¬ing what it actually takes to put women in the buying frame of mind.
The following chapters analyze and describe women today— their emotions, their needs, their desires—and their buying habits. This book does not deal with minor individual differences, nor does it attempt to discover an average woman. Rather, the method em¬ployed is based on a fundamental principle in modern psychology and sociology: while there is no average woman or man, some groups are more similar than they are dissimilar. The search has been for those similarities in the attitudes and interests of American women that must be understood and evaluated by anyone selling to them today. This characterization of the American women of today does not add up to a nice neat picture. It sometimes seems inconsistent and even contradictory.
For just as in each individual some parts of the personality are not in harmony with others, so in the composite American woman there are forces that work at cross purposes.
This look at women is primarily for its value in selling. It is not meant to be a study in contrast between male and female. When differences have been pointed out, it is for the purpose of understanding feminine traits—and feminine traits only. So in many cases, things said about women and the factors influencing them might just as well be said of men. But these things are brought out strongly, for they are important factors in why women buy.
In considering the economic and social status of women, the em¬phasis has been on the broad, new middle class. While almost all women can be included in a great many of the conclusions, the special problems of the very low and very high income groups have not been explored deeply. The middle group makes up by far the greatest percentage of the population. For class status is determined by values and attitudes, as well as income. What money is spent for is as important as how much is earned. This broad, new group has also been emphasized because of its great discretionary buying power. It buys the overwhelming percentage of major household appliances, furni¬ture, housewares, automobiles, clothes, food, and drugs produced each year.
In order to make this a practical, usable handbook, it has been necessary to generalize and editorialize from facts and observations from many sources. To students and teachers of psychology, sociology, and other related subjects, who are interested in details and minor deviations, it may seem that some points are greatly oversimplified. But to business and sales people, the information here may serve as a guide to deeper understanding of today’s new women and their reactions.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Section 1 INFLUENCES ON TODAY’S WOMEN
Chapter 1 SIX MAJOR CHANGES OF PRESENT-DAY LIVING 3
Roles of men and women no longer so different. Greater economic and personal freedom for women. The term “housewife” no longer carries prestige. Individual households are self-contained. Women’s expectations are unrealistic. Urban-rural ideas penetrating every area of living.
Chapter 2 FOUR NEW THINKING PATTERNS OF TODAY 31
Broader outlook due to travel and communication. Psychology influencing ideas and actions. Family and children—the prime considerations. Religious awareness growing.
Chapter 3 FOUR IMPORTANT RESULTS OF THE AMERICAN HERITAGE 45
American women have high status. Women share the “great American dream of success.” Today’s women are moving away from excessive Puritan austerity. Today’s women want newness within the bounds of conformity.
Section 2 WHY WOMEN THINK THE WAY THEY DO
Chapter 4 SEVEN IMPORTANT PHYSICAL FACTORS 61
Women’s reproductive system and sexual characteristics lead to unique feminine emotions. Size and muscular power affect attitudes and thought patterns. Bone and body proportions help determine extent of activities. Five senses extremely acute—create special sensitivities. Brain power equal to men’s although each sex shows special aptitudes. Bodily mechanisms and nervous systems are respon-sible in part for high-key emotions. Longer life expectancy and greater resistance to disease are lessening idea of women as “weaker sex.”
Chapter 5 FIVE BASIC MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS 81
Today’s women have an inward turn of mind. Identify themselves with the world around them. Create imaginative worlds. Look at the world personally. Are highly intuitive.
Chapter 6 TWELVE FUNDAMENTAL ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS 98
Women have great compassion and loyalty. Dislike being misled or fooled. Don’t like being pushed into things or shown in an unflattering light. Are more in-terested in people than in things. Want to participate in an idea or situation. Are greatly concerned with what others think of them. Have tangible, not abstract, wants. Women are natural rivals—want individuality. Observe the small details. Do not change their minds often. Have a different sense of humor than men. Have a strong tendency toward irrational beliefs.
Section 3 WHAT DO WOMEN REALLY WANT?
Chapter 7 TODAY’S WOMEN’S NEEDS AND DESIRES 123
Women feel an increasing desire for security—especially in the social sense. They feel a strong need for social contact and esteem from others. The need for self-esteem is a powerful force in every aspect of their lives. Women feel a great desire for romantic love. Maternal love is strong and intense, but enlightened. Enjoyment and convenience are forceful desires today. Women feel a strong desire for newness and variety in their daily lives. Ambitions for achievement and accomplishment have certain limits. Women have little need for dominance and shy away from direct competition.
Chapter 8 TODAY’S WOMEN’S NATURAL INTERESTS AND ENTHUSIASMS 152
Today’s women have an absorbing fnterest in home and family relationships and activities. Top interest in food is related to practical problems and special emo¬tional considerations. Home decorating is a high natural interest with creative satisfaction and social value. Interest in personal appearance is characterized by a desire for realness and immediate results. Interest in clothes is highly emo¬tional and personal. To the natural interest in good physical health is added a concern with mental well-being. Individual spare-time interests reflect concern with own personalities and the romantic. Women show a growing enthusiasm for color in every aspect of their lives.
Chapter 9 TODAY’S WOMEN’S CULTIVATED INTERESTS 188
Cleanliness and order have received great emphasis, but are connected with many negative feelings. Community life, society, and political activities score moderately with women. Interest in the “cultural” side of life is growing. Though not naturally inclined toward travel, women’s interest is greatly increas¬ing. Women’s interest in two new areas of their lives—business and automobiles —stems from necessity. Interest in sports and mechanical objects is low but can be cultivated.
Section 4 WHAT PUTS WOMEN IN THE BUYING FRAME OF MIND?
Chapter 10 TODAY’S WOMEN’S PATTERNS OF LIVING AND SHOPPING 209
Women’s daily routine has many new variations. Their shopping customs have changed radically in the past decade. Buying patterns show how women plan their purchases. Spending and saving habits of today’s women are unique to these times.
Chapter 11 HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH TODAY’S WOMEN IN WORDS AND PICTURES 245
English language in general has no sex differences, yet women speak a special vocabulary. New meanings and usages are constantly entering language. Words have positive and negative personalities to women. Visual techniques can increase the power of words to women. Superabundance of words and pictures makes fresh, nonstereotyped ideas imperative. Sensitivity and tone of approach vital in communicating with women.
Chapter 12 HOW TO TALK TO FIVE IMPORTANT GROUPS OF WOMEN 263
Adolescent problems and needs make girls thirteen to twenty a unique buying group. Housewives form a tremendous buying group whose problems center on and evolve from home and family. Working wives and mothers face problems of a double job. Women without men face problems of living alone and support¬ing themselves. Mature women find time on their hands and the problems of growing old.
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