Female consumers are an increasingly crucial economic driver. For example, women make 80% of the healthcare decisions in their household. 75% are the primary shoppers for their families and 44% are the primary breadwinners. And when it comes to pulling the trigger on a purchase, 82% of women are the primary or shared decision makers. Naturally, this has led to an increased interest in marketing to women. But to find success, it's imperative to understand how to market to women. Fast Company recommends a set of unique rules for marketing to women, because while it’s important to speak to them as a distinct audience, it’s even more important to do it in a respectful and authentic way. The fact is, marketing stumbles won’t simply cause you to miss out on a sale… they can “turn women off from your brand entirely.” The foremost marketing mistake identified by Fast Company is sometimes described in the business world as “pink it and shrink it.” As the name suggests, it refers to the practice of taking a great product and then changing the color scheme to pink and making it smaller for “tiny female hands.” The Washington Post agrees that the sin of “pink it and shrink it” should be avoided at all costs. Classic examples of this clueless strategy are seen in Dell’s ultra-cute “Della” laptop and Bic’s ridiculous pens “for her.” These clumsy attempts at female-focused marketing raise the inevitable question: “Then how the heck do you do it?” Fast Company points out that you should strive to understand women as you would any other demographic. And rather than overtly targeting them with products that obnoxiously proclaim a female focus, try for a nuanced approach. It’s more effective and much less patronizing. One crucial element of marketing to women is to create an emotional connection. Research indicates that women form more lasting emotional attachments to products. So if you can engage with customers on a substantial level, the results can pay dividends for years to come. To this end, remember the age-old adage of “show, don’t tell.” Eschew the statistics and give the lecturing a rest. Focus on showing your female audience why your business is relevant and meaningful to them. While these marketing objectives are far from simple, they’ll serve as guiding lights as you tailor your efforts toward women. Strive for meaning rather than data. Whether you entertain them, impress them, or tug at their heartstrings, an emotional connection is essential for success.