Competition Management market research Marketing Marketing to women Retail Sales Small Business Strategy Word of mouth marketing

Camouflage lipstick? Not even.

Almost every business is looking for new customers these days. It’s particularly the case in markets that serve people’s hobby, pastime or even luxury items.

Hunting and camping gear is one that comes to mind, but there are plenty of others. If you sell the various types of gear used when hunting and camping, your business probably targets men.

Every year, new hunters and campers are “created” when kids reach the age where they can hunt (usually 11-12 after taking a hunter safety course), or where their parents feel comfortable taking them camping – or allowing them to go with someone else.

That might add a fair number of new clients to your pool of prospective customers, but it doesnt add a group who are ready to spend a pile of money at your place of business. Sure, their parents might buy them some items or might “hand me down” a few items, but the serious financial impact from these new hunters and campers won’t be felt until they are employed and have some fun money.

Maybe when they reach high school age, maybe 10-15 years later, depending on the person.

There is a place where a male-oriented business can easily find a group of prospective customers who can have an immediate financial impact. The problem is that your man-oriented business may not be doing enough to attract them or may be using the wrong lingo to attract them.

It’s not really a place. They’re all around you.

With all the election season commentary about VP candidate Sarah Palin fishing, hunting, “field dressing a moose” and such, it should have become obvious in recent months.

I’m talking about adult women.

Bottom line: There are plenty of ladies out there who like to fish, hunt and camp – and that’s just a start. Don’t forget archery, target shooting and fly fishing (and there are more). Even so, that doesn’t mean that they wear camo jeans to the office, when going out with friends or when working in the yard.

Here’s one example of a business that figured out that women want gear just for them.

They’ve found or created outdoor and hunting clothing tailored for the shape of a woman. Pay careful attention to the models, the words used and the way that the site is designed. It clearly isn’t aimed at attracting male buyers. The fit is clearly for a women, not a man.

If you’re a guy, ask any woman about the differences between their clothes and yours – besides the obvious torso shape differences – and they’ll be able to reel off a list of differences that are major to them. They’ll also likely tell you that the lack of choice in some types of clothing annoys them, and that your outdoor clothes are uncomfortable, unflattering and possibly a little bit painful in some cases.

Likewise, if you look closely at the gear available for motorcyclists – particularly Harley-Davidson branded gear – you’ll find that they too have figured out that gear for women must be designed, tailored and described in ways that are going to attract a woman’s attention – and her money.

If your business is largely oriented toward men, you probably already do some business with women, but it might be simply because there isn’t a place in your market that is targeting them.

If your business – or a part of it – is carefully designed, with products, marketing, merchandising and staffing focused solely on attracting female customers, you might just be able to open up a whole new market within your existing business.