What Women (Really) Want

I hate the color pink.

Aside from a few exceptions—Kimberley, the Pink Power Ranger, a pair of hot pink L.A. Gear high-top shoes I owned as a child and pink Starbursts—I’m just not a fan.

I’ve even gone so far as to tell my mother that when the time comes for her to throw me a baby shower—that time being very, very far away—I would rather not receive a sea of pink dresses, hats and blankets. I’d much prefer sage green, and if she could tactfully say so in the invitations, that would be great.

If this were the 1950s, that answer would be unacceptable. But it’s not, and women are no longer bound by some of the old stereotypes. If I want to forgo the pink tradition and dress my hypothetical baby girl (named Riley Harper) in green and blue, then I’m going to.

So take note, marketers. Just because you slap a layer of pink paint on something doesn’t mean women are going to love it.

According to Multifamily Housing Consultant Lisa Trosien of the Apartment All Stars, who presented the session “The Sheconomy” during June’s NAA Education Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, this “Rose Rage” is a situation to avoid when marketing to prospective female residents.

As the terrifying phrase—the perfect title for an Indie horror film—suggests, it’s good practice to avoid such stereotypes, especially when they aren’t even reality. In fact, according to consumer trends, women like blue, purple, green and red, in that order. No mention of pink.

Colors are obviously just one example of the importance of making a connection with the average female consumer to find out what they really like, instead of assuming we are all alike and straight out of Cosmo. “Women like to visualize how the product will look or work for them in real-life, everyday conditions such as at home, or even better, in a family setting,” she said.

This means decorating models with real items and décor—not flashy leopard print rugs and hot pink knobs on appliances. “If a prospect is shown an apartment home and comments, ‘This one looks like someone’s apartment,’ then the leasing agent will make the sale,” Trosien added.

Also of note for apartment professionals, Trosien said consumer trends indicate that most women have a wider range in vision than men. They’ll notice things like cracks in sidewalks, dusty furnishings, poor lighting and untidy landscaping—and, if you’re a super creepy leasing agent, when you’re checking us out. You know who you are.

In terms of visual design, Trosien said women like clean, open design, less boxes and lines and fun fonts—techniques to consider applying to websites and marketing materials targeting this population.

And perhaps most interesting, she offered that women hold 80 percent of the buying power decisions in the home, bringing new credibility to the old adage, “When mama ain’t happen, ain’t nobody happy.”

Pink may be out, but that’s still the truth.

For more on marketing to women, check out Marketing Insider in the August issue of units, which mails Aug. 8,

Have you noticed any other female consumer trends, or misconceptions? E-mail lauren@naahq.org.