Saturday, September 06, 2008

Grease under HER nails?

It's not just the male gender that' s fixing stuff:

Tools to Tap the Female DIY Market

You would have to be living under a rock not to recognize the DIY acronym: Do It Yourself. It's all over the home improvement sites like Home Depot, Lowes, and whatever local store advertises in your hometown. And the net isn't being shy about it, either. Search Google for information on DIY and you get 194,000,000 hits!

Back in the day, most do-it-yourself people were male. In my day, growing up in the fun Fonzi days of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, we gals wouldn't be caught dead with a hammer in our hand. Most of us opted for aprons and Tupperware. Our dads and brothers and uncles handled the garage, the basement, and anything that required a drill or a mitre saw.

Those days are long gone. The rise of the Internet, and the decision to put off marriage and children, created an environment for women to become homeowners – and, by virtue of that accomplishment, to take up the challenge of DIY home improvements. Today, women of all ages are stepping up, wielding hammers, mitre saws, 2X4s, and more, with the eager expectation they once used for mixing bowls, cake batter, and pot roast. These are not the daughters of the women born in the baby boomer years – these are the baby boomer women, and their daughters, and their best friends. Somewhere in the 90s, women got the bug. We realized that home improvement was a lot like baking a cake. If you had the right ingredients, and you had the know-how, you could create masterpieces.

Understanding why women participate in DIY projects today can be an education in interactive marketing. After all, DIY projects are interactive, on-going, and sometimes a bit addictive. Over at, writer Margareth Montenegro writes, "With the help of home improvement shows featuring women carpenters and designers, women become informed about the type of tools needed for specific home improvement projects and how to use them."

The Tomboy Tools gals have a site designed to cater to the DIY woman, complete with home Tool Parties! I'm not sure they had to go so over the top with the pink tools, but these women are front and center in this space, and they could be your ticket to meeting high-energy women in need of ... whatever it is you sell!

At Today's Modern Woman, the forum thread flows freely, with questions about "washing superglue from your fingers," or "improving the insulation of lath and plaster clad exterior walls"! These are women asking questions of other women, and getting the right answers!

What does it mean for your interactive marketing campaigns aimed at your female customers? It means opportunity. It means tapping into today's woman's need to be independent and self-sufficient. It means being creative – sponsoring an event that invites women to learn how to reface their kitchen cupboards, and oh-by-the-way, maybe you'd like to consider some plants and flowers for your new room (if you're a florist). It means being at the next home-improvement show, even if you sell insurance! Hey, doesn't she need insurance, if she's going to be playing around with saws and hammers and that stuff? (NOTE: I am NOT one of those DIY gals; I still call it "stuff" ... but, I hang around a number of DIY gals, so ... don't dismiss me; I have influence.)

DIY is an activity much like gardening, to some women. There is a high level of accomplishment when you're done. You have a masterpiece to show off and admire; a work of art, perhaps. One that will last for decades. Unlike those cakes and casseroles of yesteryear that were gone in less time than it took to cook them.

Your job is to tap into that excitement – find a way to engage these women and discover what makes them tick. All of the reasons they accept the challenge of a kitchen or bath remodel, or of doing their own landscaping, may be reasons for them to buy your products or services.

As I look around my office, which was recently redesigned, btw, I see my computer monitor and my PC. Do you sell electronic equipment? Think you can sell me an update by approaching my inner electronic whiz? Think you can sell acknowledging that I'm smart enough to understand geek talk? Or, help me understand geek talk by hosting a coffee klatch with my friends, so we can all learn how to take better care of our electronic equipment? With all the home businesses today, any company able to build an interactive relationship with the woman at the top is sure to be a winner.

It doesn't matter what you're marketing. Get interactive with your female customers by acknowledging their inner need to wield their own tools. We're movers and shakers – we ladies of the 21st century. Shake us up. Move us to action. Get in the game. If you're lurking around, wondering how to do this – you're in danger of dropping the hammer on your foot. Understand that in a DIY world, you must look us in the eye, never ask where our husband is, and respect the pink in our world, but don't confuse it with softness. Pink drills make big holes, pink hammers wield power, pink tool belts just might hold the keys to your success.

As Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, "Women are the real architects of society." Join us. We like company.

(, 8/22/08)

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