"You Go Girl"

A study by researchers at Iowa State University reveals that women wield a great deal of power in the home. The study's researchers were quick to point out that their findings go beyond the amount of communication initiated by wives, such as the popular notion that wives talk more than their husbands. Rather, it is the significance of the issues being communicated and the finding that husbands are often receptive to going along with the ideas communicated by their wives.

These findings are counter to the traditional view of the "lady of the house" having a lesser role in making household decisions. The marketing mindset has been to focus on reaching the male head of household given that he is often the primary provider for the home. The assumption has been that the leadership role of the male wage earner extends to taking the lead on deciding how money is spent by the family. However, it appears that in today's household consumption decisions are often a joint venture between husband and wife, with many decisions made based on the wife's influence.

So, rather than believing wives are relegated to handling certain household purchases (food, clothing, and home furnishings), marketers must consider every purchase situation and seek to learn more about the dynamics of the buying decision process in the household. Whether it be complex purchases such as health care services and automobiles or more mundane purchases such as casual dining and entertainment, the "traditional" role of wives in making these decisions no longer applies in many households. Marketers that respond to the more proactive role of women in the household could reap benefits from their efforts. Link