The 80% Minority
Reaching the Real World of Women Consumers
By Joanne Thomas Yaccato

Do Companies understand women?

The Thomas Yaccato Group surveyed consumers asking this exact question. This study, the first of its kind, revealed that while women consumers control 80% of every consumer dollar spent, they feel profoundly disconnected from the very companies that are attempting to sell to them. Why? The majority of the women respondents said they weren’t taken nearly as seriously as men.

For more than fifteen years, Joanne Thomas Yaccato has worked extensively with organizations such as RBC Financial Group and Ford Credit of Canada to help them understand and better meet the needs of this country’s most powerful consumers – women. That knowledge, experience and research have gone into a new book: The 80% Minority: Reaching the Real World of Women Consumers. And here’s another first – this is a Canadian business book about Canadian women consumers using Canadian research and profiling Canadian companies.

With Thomas Yaccato’s trademark wry wit and keen observation, The 80% Minority explains the critically important "gender lens" that companies must develop in order to create authentic products, services and business strategies that capture the attention and loyalty of women consumers. The 80% Minority categorically proves the straight-line connection between getting it right with women and getting it right with everyone else.

Toyota’s research told them only 16% of women car buyers wanted to keep the current car-buying process. Toyota also discovered 58% of men claimed to be the primary decision-maker when buying a car yet 62% of women reported making the decision in combination with their spouse. Yoshio Nakatani, chairman of Toyota Canada, recognized that Toyota needed to find a way to connect with women. But when the team charged with coming up with a new way to buy cars put their recommendations on the table, men said, "Huh? But I want that!" And thus Toyota Access was born. This sales process – based on what women consumers wanted – soon proved to be equally as popular with men. Customer satisfaction levels skyrocketed.

The home improvement industry is no different than many others: RONA’s research showed that there, too, women wrestle with being taken as seriously as men. Part of RONA’s strategy to stay ahead is to break down the stereotypes. Since they reinvented the shopping experience in 1999, RONA’s compound annual growth rate has been a staggering 39.3%, from $988 million to $2.3 billion for the last 12-month period ending September 2002. All this because of a new customer service model and new lines of products in decor, seasonal products, paint, and flooring, specifically designed to meet the needs of women.

These companies, and others like them, have one thing in common: they have worked to establish meaningful and long-term relationships with women which in turn have propelled their businesses to new heights.

Coinciding with the publication of The 80% Minority will be the much-anticipated release of The Thomas Yaccato – Maritz Report: Women Consumers Speak – Canada’s Gender Intelligent Companies. The survey is the first ranking of its kind in North America. In this precedent-setting report, 2,000 Canadian women consumers name names and rank companies in terms of how well their marketing, advertising, sales and product development efforts meet their needs.

Written with flair and passion from its very first page, The 80% Minority pulls the reader into a fascinating account of women, marketing, and consumerism. Joanne Thomas Yaccato has a sharp eye for the telling anecdote and the crucial bit of data, and she weaves an engrossing story about the relationship between Canadian corporations and their female customers. But this book is far more than merely entertainment. It packs a deep and powerful message: despite some instructive exceptions, Canadian corporate and marketing culture still suffers from an endemic misunderstanding of — and sometimes outright bias against — women. Yaccato nails the problem, and she gives Canadian companies, marketers, and consumers the advice and tools they need to fix it.
Thomas Homer Dixon
Author of the Governor General Award winning, The Ingenuity Gap

"If you want to effectively do business with women, communicate with women or simply understand women, this is a must-read book for you. Joanne Thomas Yaccato is a great writer and interpreter of today's reality. Full of real world examples and case studies, this book will enlighten, entertain and ring the cash register for all who read it. Any man with a woman in his business or personal life will be amazed at the insights. Any woman will identify all too well with the vignettes. It's about time someone put it all together".
Dr. Sherry Cooper
Author of The Cooper Files and Ride the Wave.

"A survey by Ms. Thomas Yaccato's firm found that women feel discriminated against by companies and believe that their role in making consumer decisions isn't recognized. She has been working to correct that with many Canadian companies, teaching "gender intelligent" marketing. The 80% Minority is Canadian, harder edged, particularly insightful on product
development and filled with many success stories of companies in this country that are displaying gender intelligence."

The Globe and Mail, May 28, 2003

"The 80% Minority is a book filled with the same verve and irreverent wit of her earlier books on finance and business for women. The book draws on Thomas Yaccato's work with The Thomas Yaccato Group, her consulting company that holds up corporate Canada to a "gender lens". The scrutiny makes companies squirm. But there is a payoff to paying attention to the group that controls 80% of consumer dollars."
The Vancouver Sun, April 19th, 2003



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