Not only is more than 50 percent of the population female, but women are the primary shoppers—and they love candy.
Women make 85 percent of purchasing decisions, so the importance of targeting them effectively is obvious.
“There’s plenty of opportunity for brands to be doing a better job of communicating to women in the candy and gum cate-gories,” says Bill Snyder, vice president of marketing and sales for Acupoll Research Inc, a Cincinnati-based firm dedicated to advertising assessment and product concept screening.
Either marketing campaigns tend to be unisex—i.e. not female-focused—or the advertising message isn’t optimal, Snyder claims. He cites the example of a breath mint marketer that opted to focus on the low calorie content of its mints. That’s not especially compelling, says Snyder, because so many other gums and mints can make a similar claim. Neither does it strike the kind of emotional chord likely to resonate with women.
Snyder suggests that marketers would do better to build marketing and advertising messages around themes of community, friendships and relationships. “Those are messages I haven’t seen surface around the category,” he says.
“Candy is your emotional compensation,” says Jen Dreschler of New York City-based Just Ask a Woman, a marketing and brand consulting company. Leveraging happy memories from childhood is an effective tool for developing candy-marketing messages, Dreschler suggests.
Thus marketers might do well to portray a mom having fun with her kids while enjoying candy or—on the other hand—might show a woman taking a little time out of an otherwise hectic day to treat herself to some- thing indulgent. Or a commercial might show a woman sharing candy with a friend.
When portraying relationships, keep it real, counsels Dreschler. “It’s got to be women she’d want to share candy with,” she notes.
Finally, make it easy for her.  For most women, time is a precious commodity. Functional candy can fill the bill here. For example, says Dreschler, Vitamin C-fortified candy delivers a benefit that a woman is likely to appreciate. So too might portion-controlled products, which allow women to add a taste of decadence  to their day—without going overboard. n
Marketing to WOMEN Don’ts
1. Don’t do overkill on the mom message. "She doesn’t need to be reminded that she’s a mom," says Jen Dreschler, of New York City-based Just Ask a Woman. "She knows. So marketers don’t necessarily need to show her in a minivan."
2. Don’t do slapstick. That’s not to say that women don’t have a sense of humor, but a Three Stooges-style routine typically leaves most women cold. If you’re going the humor route in advertising, use it in the context of relationships. And fashion the campaign so that it’s the woman making the joke.
Measuring the Market (all Women)
Population Size: 144 million
Percent of the Population: 51%
Percent Growth Forecast by 2010: 9.3%
Merchandising Mandate
• Women tend to place their own needs last in line, particularly during child-rearing years, says Jen Dreschler of New York City-based Just Ask a Woman.  "So sampling and point-of-purchase materials are really great ways in," says Dreschler.  These merchandising vehicles in particular reach out to women where they are and don’t require that they make a special effort to try a new item.