BankAmerica Corp. executive vice president Kathleen Brown recently urged banking and other corporate executives to market more aggressively to women.
"We've gone from marketing to men to marketing to individuals. There's some reluctance to say you're marketing to women," Ms. Brown told those at the Marketing to Women Congress in New York.
"It's almost like A.A.-you have to say you're marketing to women," she said.
Sponsored by MacDonald Communications Corp., the publisher of Ms., Working Woman, and Working Mother magazines, the conference featured executives from Cadillac, Levi Strauss, Eli Lilly, BMW of North America, MetLife, Grey Advertising, IBM, Merrill Lynch, and Putnam Investments.
Ms. Brown, managing director of sales and business development for Bank of America's wealth management group, pointed out that 90% of American women will have sole control of their finances at some point and that the average age at which a woman becomes a widow is 56.
She said women own nearly eight million businesses, with aggregate sales of more than $2.3 trillion.
A former California state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate, Ms. Brown in April launched a program at San Francisco-based Bank of America to market financial services and offer educational programs to women and girls.
Although the program in-cludes a toll-free number for female customers, Ms. Brown emphasized: "It's not intended to be a separate bank. Our focus is the economic literacy of girls and women."