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Why It’s Time Financial Services Brands Start Marketing to Women

Women currently control $14 trillion in personal wealth, a figure that’s only projected to grow (to $22 trillion in the next three years, to be exact).1 Yet financial brands are shying away from marketing to these influential women — and, simply put, they’re missing the mark by doing so.

If you were to look at the marketing efforts of top banking and investment firms, you’d find a general lack of effort put toward targeting and marketing to women. Some brands, like Citigroup’s Women & Co., have even discontinued practices tailored to a woman’s financial point of view. Today, all that remains of Women & Co. are a few article remnants and a 404 error page.

These initiatives are being discontinued (or not even beginning in the first place), while women’s personal wealth is taking off. It’s time that financial brands refocus their efforts, and the tools they’re developing, toward women.

And we’ve got three reasons why.

Women invest differently than men

Men and women are managing their wealth differently from one another — which means the information they’re seeking out from financial services brands needs to be different as well.

In his book, Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl: And Why You Should, Too, Buffet outlines the differences in how women invest versus men — and they’re vast.

 He says women…

  • Trade less than men do
  • Are more likely to admit what they don’t know
  • Are less optimistic/more realistic than their male counterparts 

  • Put in more time and effort researching possible investments, considering details and alternate points of view
  • Are more immune to peer pressure
  • Learn from their mistakes
  • Are less willing to take risks, which could lead to less extreme market cycles

These trends clearly lead to a different outlook that should be embedded in investment tools and resources for women.

Women have specific investment requirements  

Consider these stats: Women are living 20 years beyond the typical retirement age, compared to men who are living 17 years beyond the typical retirement age.2 And, in a recent article for The New York Times, Kerry Hannon quoted a report stating that “across all age groups, women have considerably less income in retirement than men.”

So not only are women’s needs different, but they have far greater investment needs in retirement.

“For women age 65 and older, their income is typically 25 percent lower than that of men,” Hannon continues. “As men and women age, the gap widens to 44 percent by age 80.”  The fact is, women are living longer, which means they need more in retirement —particularly with the rising cost of healthcare.

As companies begin creating platforms to help female investors plan for the future, these types of needs should be taken into account.

Women interact with content in a unique way  

Financial institutions speak to individuals through everything from digital portals, direct mail, and financial tools (such as this one). But it’s all based on a male model that’s wrong for women. Much of the logic behind this content is based on assumptions made around men, not taking into account the innate tendencies and behaviors of women. 

Sallie Krawcheck, former CFO of Citigroup and former CEO of Smith Barney, gets this — and decided to make a change.

Krawcheck recently launched both a book and corporation in the space, named Ellevest. Ellevest is an online investment platform tailored to women, directly addressing women’s investing habits. Everything from the terminology, content, and user interaction within Ellevest is built to remove the blind spot for women throughout the financial space.

And the company is only growing, with heavyweight investors including Morningstar and tennis great, Venus Williams (a high net worth woman who has recognized this gap in financial focus toward females).


A shift in economic power is occurring. When it comes to this growing market and emerging pool of capital, the brand that reins in this buying power with genuine tools, resources, and algorithms tailored to women’s needs and financial realities, will win. 

Who will it be? If you think it could be you, then the time to start catching up to this growing need is now.

1Fara Warner, Power of the Purse: How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World’s Most Important Consumers—Women (FT Press 2005).

2Growing Older in America: The Health and Retirement Study—National Institute on Aging (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). 

Julie Herbster

Vice President of Strategy

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