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Female entrepreneurs struggle most with marketing: Survey

Thursday, 4 October 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Female entrepreneurs are being urged not to skimp on their marketing strategies after research revealed almost half of female business owners need help with their marketing and advertising.


The research, conducted by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, is based on a survey of 2,952 women who own and operate their own business in Australia.


According to the survey, 44% of female business owners need assistance with marketing and advertising, while 47% rely on other women as potential clients.


Meanwhile, only 20% of respondents have an online purchase facility.


According to AWCCI chief executive Yolanda Vega, there are around one million women currently trading in Australia, so these shortcomings could spell “a national economic disaster”.


Vega believes the reason why so many businesses don’t have a marketing plan is because of the cost.


“A marketing plan would normally cost thousands of dollars, which is why so many businesses don’t have one and fail,” she says.


“[However,] a strategic marketing plan will assist many businesses keep their doors open, their business running, and prevent our economy from following in the footsteps of so many in the USA and Europe.”


According to StartupSmart mentor Gillian Franklin, founder and managing director of The Heat Group, sales and marketing are the most important part of any business, regardless of its size.


“To assist women business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, we must work toward ensuring their financial independence,” Franklin says.


“A marketing strategy is not a set-and-forget plan. It’s a living plan – one that constantly evolves and should be across the entire business.”


“Understanding your consumer and your stakeholders, how to get your product or service to the market and attracting your clients is the best way to ensure you make the sales.”


Fellow StartupSmart mentor Adam Ferrier, a consumer psychologist and founding partner of Naked Communications Australia, says marketing is – at its core – about behavioural change.


“As a psychologist now in marketing, I see the value in understanding consumer behaviour and the marketing triggers needed to change it… All business needs a marketing plan,” Ferrier says.


“Businesses are always asking, ‘How can I get my consumer to buy my product, like me on Facebook, recommend us to a friend’ and so on.”


“Considering the majority of women business owners are in service industries, it is important for them to understand their potential consumers as well as how to change their own behaviour when running a business.”


In response to the research, AWCCI is hosting several workshops later this month, offering attendees the opportunity to refresh their knowledge about advertising, PR, branding and sales.


Both Franklin and Ferrier will speak at these events.