“Hey,” she said, “don’t touch my Harley.”

Imagine having customers so loyal that they tattoo your logo on their arms. That’s the kind of brand awareness—and loyalty—Harley-Davidson enjoys.

So, imagine the eye-popping that went on when H-D discovered that its fastest-growing market was. . . women! The marketing department immediately started making plans to invest heavily to secure that market.

Why would H-D commit so much to a niche or specialty market? Because it’s not just a niche or specialty market! In fact, given both their purchasing behaviour and their influence over purchasing, women comprise the world’s largest—and most lucrative—market segment.

According to Nielsen Consumer, the purchasing power of women in the U.S. ranges from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually. And here’s the good news: studies by Yankelovich Monitor and Greenfield Online reveal that 9 out of 10 women believe advertisers don’t understand them. What an opportunity!

Further research by YM & GO shows the incredible purchasing power that women hold.

  • New Homes (91%)
  • PCs (66%)
  • Vacations (92%)
  • New Cars (65%)
  • Bank Accounts (89%)
  • Food (93%)
  • OTC Pharmaceuticals (93%)

In the automobile sector, while women buy 6.5 cars for every 3.5 cars purchased by men, women also heavily influence up to 90 percent of all new-car purchases.

Similar numbers can be found in the services industry. When it comes to health care, women make the decision 80 percent of the time.

And yes, you can help women buy without “going pink” (which is a ridiculous notion) or alienating men. You can have it both ways!

Men want a report: What’s the horsepower? How many cubic inches is that engine? How fast can it go?

Women, on the other hand, want rapport. They want to build a relationship and really understand how the purchase will fit into their busy lives. Show them!

Businesses are just starting to understand the significance of this market. Those who get on board now will almost inevitably enjoy first-to-market advantage.

But not for long…