Do Women Really Belong in Consumer Electronics?

While it would seem a just another target-rich environment for feminism-bashing jokes and inappropriate sexual innuendoes in the sausagefest that is the annual CEDIA conference, the annual Women in CE breakfast held Saturday morning was actually one of the serious high points of this year’s CEDIA for me (and not simply because of the free prizes that were given out). In addition to a very interesting keynote address by Debra Boelkes, CEO of Business World Rising (a leadership development services firm dedicated to the advancement of high potential business leaders and stronger, more inclusive enterprises) that covered some of the societal and personal reasons why women succeed or fail in the current corporate business world, I was able to catch up with an old friend, Molly Gibson, who recently founded Sixty3percent, a retail sales training concept solely dedicated to marketing to women.

According to Molly (a woman with over 20 years of experience in marketing and sales in the CE industry), women make 63% of consumer electronics buying decisions, but despite the overwhelming numbers, they’re not engaged in the process at all. After interviewing hundreds of women in all economic ranges, Molly’s come up with a sales training program aimed at helping retailers and manufacturers to stop ignoring (at best) or alienating (at worst) the half of the population that makes the larger percentage of buying decisions when it comes to consumer electronics. While the ulterior motive for manufacturers and retailers is to sell more stuff to women, if they can figure out ways to do that while also improving the experiences that many women have when they walk into most consumer electronics stores, everyone will win in the end.

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