Inside the Mind of the Female Pool Customer

At the 2021 PSP/Deck Expo, Anne Obarski delved into understanding the buying potential of women and why it's essential to market to them.

Rachel Williams, Former Chief Editor

November 17, 2021

5 Min Read

Did you know that women make 80% of all buying decisions? Anne Obarski does, which is why she led a session at this year’s PSP/Deck Expo titled “What Women Want From Your Business.”

Pool & Spa Pro sat down with Obarski to get a snapshot of what this session revealed.

POOL SPA PRO: The session you led at this year’s event is titled “What Women Want From Your Business,” and one concept you introduce is WISE marketing. Can you break that down for us?

Anne_Obarski@2x.jpgI felt the need to come up with something that would be a tagline issue that attendees would be able to take home, and this one is called WISE. The “W” stands for wow marketing. More than ever, marketing is so important, and you need to have a certain amount of money dedicated to it.

I’ve heard way too many people go, “I don't spend any money on marketing because I put stuff on Facebook and Instagram, and I don't have to spend any money."

The “I” stands for impactful service. Many companies are skimping on what they can do and what they can offer when it comes to customer service. And we hear people saying that they don't have enough good employees.

I have been in business for 37 years as a customer service expert, and impactful service is looking at everything that you do on almost a dashboard of touchpoints of what you do with your customer all the time. That sets that bar so high that you will never have somebody going, “Oh well, they skimped on my service.”

“S” is selling deliberately. I've seen over the years that many owners/presidents/ managers don't spend much time training people on what some of the better skills are for teaching sales. People make assumptions about what's selling is. There are ways of building relationships so that the selling doesn't sound like selling. Selling should sound like, "I'm building a relationship with you in your wanting to build your backyard lifestyle to something that you're going to enjoy, and I want to be your dream builder."

Lastly, "E" stands for earned referrals. I got information for my presentation from reading Nextdoor over the last year, believe it or not. From threads stating things like “I'd like to put in a pool. Who did you use?” and then reading all of the comments and different posts. Some were good, some not so good, and some interesting. And I said to myself, "huh, if I was going to be putting in a pool at my home, which posts would make me want to talk to the person who wrote it and learn a bit more?" one of these would I want to talk to this person? Which one of them would I want to say? We all live and breathe by having good referrals, and the majority of the referrals that I saw were from women.

POOL SPA PRO: That gets us back to your focus of the session, what women look for when hiring a service. How do men and women differ in this respect?

We also know that 86% of women use social media for purchases and get purchasing advice before buying anything, which brings me back to that critical point of marketing. What are you doing when you are looking at social media and the marketing channels? Because women go there. It's also interesting to know that 80% of influencers are women.

We know that men, on the other hand, are fast decision-makers. They were the hunters and gatherers—“let’s go out, kill the deer and we're going to have deer meat tonight.” Done.  

Men also don’t buy as much emotionally. Women utilize their senses—what do they smell? Taste? Touch?

Women are comparing you to any other business they frequent. Whether that is a big box store or a home store, they will compare the customer service they received.

The interesting thing that we're seeing is that women value novelty in a product, such as wanting a specific color for the bottom of the pool.

POOL SPA PRO: Now that we know that connecting with a female clientele is important, how can outdoor living professionals ensure they do so effectively?

My first slide was about grading your effectiveness in marketing to women. Effectiveness is important, not efficiency.

So, do you know how you are reaching women? How many women? How many women service people? Do you know how many women construction pros you have? How many women are currently working in your store?

These are critical areas to look at because, in 2019, women made one out of five home purchases. Now, if that female is single, that takes it up a notch for what she expects. She doesn't want people to say, “Are you the decision-maker? Do you need to talk to your husband?” You know that would rub any of us women the wrong way. So don't make assumptions and keep it professional.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when we talk about women making decisions and why it’s important to market to them.

POOL SPA PRO: This is your ninth year addressing the PSP audience. What differentiates this group from other trade shows?

This is a conference that I look forward to, and I believe it is one of the most well-run conferences out there. As an educator, the conference impresses me because there are so many great business sessions. It also has to do with the audience—most of the time, when you go to a conference attendees feel an expectation to go to a session. Or maybe they have a friend who is going, and they don't even care about being there. But in this conference, I believe people who come are hungry for business, new ideas and ways to apply what they've learned. I've had people who've come to see me talk about merchandising and have told me how they used what they learned before I even got home.

About the Author(s)

Rachel Williams

Former Chief Editor, Informa Markets

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