Ever heard of femvertising? Yes, that’s a real thing, and while you might not be familiar with the term, I bet you’re familiar with the concept. Under Armor’s “I Will What I Want” ad featuring ballerina Misty Copeland with its 10 million YouTube views and Always’ #Likeagirl viral video with its more than 61 million views are perfect examples of tremendously successful femvertising campaigns.

So what exactly is femvertising, and why should those of us in the mortgage industry pay attention to this trend?

With this trend, it’s the message that takes center stage while the company name appears as an afterthought and specific products or services go unmentioned. The key to making it work is to have content that is both authentic and backed up with action. That means a brand can’t simply offer a pink version of its product and declare girls rock. It’s important to be thoughtful about how your products or services actually empower women. Then tell a story around that feature. It’s also important to tie the campaign back to a charitable organization that aligns with your goals. Supporting causes that focus on women and girls is a big part of walking the talk.

While there’s no single recipe to success, companies have quickly discovered that it’s well worth the effort to figure out what works for them. That’s because women are an economic force that can’t be ignored. Catalyst, the leading nonprofit organization with a mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion, points out in this infographic that women in the U.S. control or influence 73% of all household spending. That translated to $11.2 trillion dollars in 2013.

Women’s purchasing power is poised to keep growing. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennial women outnumber their male counterparts both in college enrollment and in those holding a Bachelor’s degree. Since college degrees go hand-in-hand with future earnings potential, it’s easy to see why companies need a strategy for effectively reaching this target audience.

Think this doesn’t apply to home buying? Want to guess how many housing choices are made by women? The second-largest group of homebuyers after married couples is single women. The National Association for Realtors (NAR) 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed that 18% of first-time homebuyers were single women.

To me, femvertising is a perfect fit for our industry. Remember: To be successful, a campaign must be both authentic in its message of empowerment and backed by real action.

Being authentic is the easy part. The benefits of homeownership are well-documented and include everything from building equity and receiving tax breaks to the social benefits of having a vested interest in your community. We have a great story to tell! Of course, all of this holds true regardless of the buyer’s gender, but packaging that message in a way that resonates with women could be what gets them to choose you over a competitor.

For example, imagine running a documentary-style ad that follows a young woman as she hits major life milestones (like starting college, getting her first job and receiving a well-earned promotion) that culminates in purchasing her own home. The message could focus on the benefits of achieving and maintaining financial independence. While the ad might not directly call out your company as the mortgage provider, the implication is that you support women in their life journey.

As far as backing up what you say with action: Look for organizations in your community that provide women with services like financial education, scholarships, job training, housing counseling, etc. Truly, the list of possibilities is endless. What you are striving for is to demonstrate you mean what you say in your ads.

This is all well and good in theory, but does this strategy work? In a word, absolutely!  A 2014 poll by SheKnows showed that 71% of respondents feel companies should be responsible for using advertising to promote positive messages to women and girls. More importantly, that belief drives their behavior. The same survey showed that 52% of respondents had purchased a product because they liked the way the ads portrayed women. That’s measurable success that can do more than just improve your brand’s reputation — it can directly impact your bottom line.

Check out our mortgage infographic about women homebuying facts!

Look Who’s Buying Her First Home!

We want to hear from you. How can you see this strategy applying to your brand? Can you think of ways that this kind of advertising could resonate with men as well as women? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Margaret Crowley

Margaret Crowley - MGIC VP Marketing and Customer Experience

Margaret Crowley is Vice President of Marketing & Customer Experience at MGIC. She and her team are responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies to support the field sales team and business partners nationwide. In addition, Margaret leads MGIC’s Customer Experience efforts. Margaret has been with MGIC for over 30 years and held a variety of technology and marketing positions.

Margaret holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Alverno College.

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