This advertisement, by Neil Kelly Designers/Remodelers, illustrates how some remodelers are targeting female consumers.
Neil Kelly Designers/Remodelers This advertisement, by Neil Kelly Designers/Remodelers, illustrates how some remodelers are targeting female consumers.

Earlier this year, Kleber and Associates Marketing and Communications, in collaboration with StandPoint Marketing Research, conducted research on the economic power women have acquired in recent years. Dubbing women “Chief Purchasing Officers,” or CPOs, the Atlanta firms' research looked at the purchasing habits of educated, financially secure women.

Among the findings: The women in the demographic groups surveyed are savvy and avid Internet users; are brand-conscious but won't sacrifice quality; and generally make major purchasing decisions after consulting with their significant other.

It's no secret that women are a major influence when it comes to green-lighting remodeling projects. In fact, women comprise 51% of the U.S. population according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and spend an estimated $2 trillion each year. It's numbers like these that have many remodelers reevaluating their marketing programs to include more print, TV, and radio spots that focus on women.

For example, a year ago Neil Kelly Designers/Remodelers created a print ad featuring a woman taking center stage with a kitchen in the background. But the marketing strategy is nothing new for the Portland firm, says president Tom Kelly.

The company's business model has long focused on the woman in the house as an influential decision-maker — beginning with its sales-force. Kelly says that although hiring women could be construed as a subtle marketing strategy, his father, the company's founder, began hiring women as kitchen and bath designers in the early 1970s, long before it was fashionable. “Women buy from women more easily,” Kelly says. Today, the remodeling company's salesforce of 20 includes just fimen. “We also have a lot of women who are carpenters and project managers,” Kelly adds. “That makes us more attractive, from a brand perspective, to women.”

The company's sales training focuses not just on the female buyer, but on meeting the customer's needs, regardless of gender. And while the salesforce recognizes that women in the household are key in the decision-making process, “they're not the only one, and that's the caveat,” Kelly says. More often, he adds, it's a mutual decision by the couple. “Our job is to coach them through the process and help them reach a consensus about what they want.”