By Kaylee Hultgren

Visa kicked off a year-long, global experiential program in January that supports female entrepreneurs as they build and advance their own businesses. The campaign, She’s Next, Empowered by Visa, features a series of activations at tentpole events—the Super Bowl, New York Fashion Week and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this summer—anchored around workshops that tackle challenges faced by women-owned businesses. The brand also just launched phase two of its Money is Changing marketing campaign, which continues to focus on millennial women, their finances and the personal stories of building a business. Here EM chats with Mary Ann Reilly, svp-North America marketing at Visa, about the components of She’s Next, marketing to women entrepreneurs and the role experiential marketing plays in the campaign.

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Event Marketer: What’s the inspiration behind Visa’s She’s Next program?

Mary Ann Reilly: In many ways, 2018 was the year of the woman. There was a lot of focus on women and the women’s movement, but there wasn’t a lot of focus on women and money—attitudes towards money, their sense of empowerment and confidence. Overall, women control 80 percent of the household purchases and 40 percent of women are now primary breadwinners. Yet there tends to be a lack of confidence both from women in general and women entrepreneurs when it comes to finances, money and thinking about investing.

The She’s Next campaign was based on the fact that over the past four years women are opening small businesses globally at a much higher rate versus men—163 million women started their own business since 2014. Yet, when we speak to a lot of these women, they tend to have less confidence and get less access to funding. Unfortunately, only two percent of all VC funding out there is going to women-owned businesses. We wanted to shine a spotlight on that and also give women the tools and confidence to figure out how to grow their businesses.

She’s Next, Empowered by Visa, provides this platform and workshops to help women get the tools that they need, such as help with social media, which was one of their top needs. We brought in partners like Facebook and Instagram, specifically, to help them to build Instagram Stories around their businesses. We helped them figure out how to increase where they fall in Yelp and get better reviews. We partnered with Intuit. We also partnered with Rebecca Minkoff and the Female Founder Collective, led by women to support women, to draw attention to women-owned small businesses.

EM: What are the strategic marketing goals of the campaign?

MAR: We know that women are more skeptical of advertisers. They don’t think they’re speaking to them in a way that resonates with them. Women are not looking to be spoken to in a way that [implies] they are frivolous when it comes to money—particularly millennial women, …read more

Via:: Event Marketer b-to-b Events