The Importance of the Female Football Fan

August 16, 2014 § 1 Comment

imageFootball season is upon us and women are gearing up for the season. Yes, women are a real target and marketing to women has never been more important.   Advertisers know who is buying all those wings and chips for the game.  But the female factor goes beyond just supplying the game day food.

“Women are the custodians of most decisions made in the households,” said Mark Waller, the chief marketing officer of the N.F.L. Describing football as “the last great campfire,” which brings families together on Sundays as reliably as church, Waller said women were at the heart of the sport’s most sacred rituals.

The Facts – NFL

More women are regular season viewers of NFL football than NBA and Major League Baseball.  Some 23-28% of women watch between 6 and 10 hours of football per week.

45% of NFL fans are women.  And 55% of women watch football on television. Over the past decade, average viewership of prime-time NFL games has increased by 31 percent to 20.3 million, according to Nielsen.  In 2013, every network that had broadcast games reported increased viewership. Most weeks, in fact, NFL games aren’t just the most-watched sporting events on television — they’re the most-watched thing on TV.

Nine out of 10 top viewed single programs in 2013 were live football events. The only one that wasn’t football was the Oscars. Football has become the only real time event that gathers the whole family in front of the television.

More women watch the Super Bowl than the Grammys or Oscars combined.

The NFL has focused on giving women more than men’s jerseys for the past few years and sales of women’s apparel have tripled over the past four years.

The Facts – The Advertising

Just like we have seen the influence of marketing to women in the Olympics and World Cup Soccer, the top rated commercials during the Super Bowl 2014 definitely appealed to women, Budweiser’s Puppy Love, Dorito’s Cowboy Kid, and Budweiser’s Hero’s Welcome.

The Facts – College Football

39% of college football fans are women. In college, more than 49 million fans turned out to watch a college game in the stands but more than 216 million tuned in to watch a game.

The Facts – At Home

Homegating is a real thing.   Football is as much a tradition for Sundays than going to church?  It is the one place where family and friends can group around a single event.  And eat.  Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year, behind only Thanksgiving, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to Bud Light, female fans (45-percent) are 10-percent more likely than male fans to socialize during a game.

20% of Fantasy Football Fans are women.

The Facts – Influence

Last year, Barna found that Americans believe athletes have a greater influence than any faith leaders. And in a new 2014 study, more than four in 10 women (41%) strongly agree that sports are an important part of American culture.

More than Just Fans

Women are more likely to be fans for life. Women are more brand loyalists and it seems that football teams are really brands.  But increasingly, women are becoming more than just fans or  grown-up cheerleaders for football. They are playing in football leagues, coaching, sportscasting and taking on referee roles.   Sarah Thomas is a name you will likely here this year as the first female referee in the NFL. She shattered the male dominated profession seven years ago at the collegiate level, officiating games for Conference USA. She was the first female official at the NCAA’s Division I level, and the first to work a college bowl game.

Marketing to Women

Marketing to women is often a delicate science of respecting their gender and not falling into some pink state of condescension. It’s not a world of “pink it and shrink it” anymore.

But the stakes are high for females. The male market is tapped out. Women represent the growing side of the football market. But female football fans are dealing with lots of contradictory issues. Health issues are huge for those moms of budding and current NFL players. Violence often makes headlines with players in the headlines for everything from domestic assault to murder. Women were particularly upset with the slap-on-the-wrist two-game suspension for Ravens Ray Rice who knocked his fiancé unconscious in a casino earlier this year.

And at the same time, we see the tremendous good that comes from the sports community service. Individual players have foundations that work with kids, support charities and volunteer in the community.

But all that pink?   Once a year, the NFL sponsors a breast cancer awareness game where players wear pink shoes and gloves and a portion of the pink NFL merchandise sales goes to the American Cancer Society.

Can football continue to grow?  It seems it will take a deep understanding of women and their role in the game – as mothers, as sports professionals, and as fans.

 

Five Things to Know About 2014 Back-to-School Marketing

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

UnknownBack-to-school is in full swing now.  The traditional back-to-school season has changed and marketers need to make note.  The reason for many of these changes are year-round school schedules, just-in-time shopping, online shopping habits and budgets.  The back-to-school season has become more of a pinnacle of an ongoing activity than a confined season.

How big is back-to-school?  The average family will spend $670 on shopping this year, up 5% from 2013 according to the National Retail Federation.   However, 21% of families with children in elementary, middle school or high school reported in a NRF survey they will spend less this year.

Did you know?  Combined school and college spending was estimated at $72.5 billion, making it the second-biggest season for retailers. Winter holiday ranks first at $84 billion and Mother’s Day comes in at third at $21 billion.

Here are five things to know about this year.

1.  Back-to-school shopping starts in July.  Americans began their search as early as June last year.  Google conducted a study during the 2013 season and found that 23% of respondents began back-to-school research before July 4, with nearly two-thirds (65%) starting by the end of July. In contrast, only 35% said they made a purchase by the end of July.  174621

BTS-Content-ConsumptionThe spending is spread out over several months, with traditional spending in August and September.  The early shoppers take advantage fresh merchandise, early bird sales and comparison shopping, while the later shoppers are necessity shopping and maybe taking advantage of end-of-season sales.

One difference in the early and traditional shopper may be their form of shopping.  The early shoppers are using their desktop and tablets to shop, while the more traditional are using mobile devices and shopping in-store.

During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012.  There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

2.  Just in time shopping.   The mall has been replaced by online and teens are constantly shopping for new ideas.  The world of disposable fashion has lead teens to take advantage of affordable retailers and wait to see what their friends are wearing.  Digital-native students are shopping constantly throughout the year, even if they’re not buying.

Just-in-time shopping also shows that as many as 50% parents only buy what is essential for back to school and then buy additional needs during the holiday season, when they expect the best deals.  It is a way of spreading out the shopping expense to make it more manageable for their budget.  And parents are saving money by buying store-brand items, shopping sales and using coupons.

3. Online is #3 destination.   eMarketer forecasts that digital sales for the back-to-school season will increase 16.0% in 2014.  One-third of all back-to-school shoppers will make an online purchase, and 45% of back-to-college shoppers will head online.  According to Deloitte, among top back-to-school shopping destinations in 2013, 36 percent of consumers shopped online, moving online shopping to the third destination behind discount and office supply/technology stores, a significant jump from the No. 8 position in 2012.

9754-1652-140701-Back_to_School-l4.  College Online Spending Big.  More than $3 of every $5 aimed at back-to-school clothes and supplies is spent on college-bound students.   A PM Digital report shows online shoppers stealing 37% of this market as the online college segment spends over $1,100 per family.  In fact, shopping expenditures are higher online – with 37.3% K-12 and 37.1% college students buying through e-commerce.

5.  Smartphone Tool for Shopping.  During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012. There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

What should marketers do this season?

1.  Make sure your campaigns are live now and active through September.  To stand out, thing about using video and consumer stories to help tell the story.  Search should be already in place.

2.  Make sure content is available on tablet and mobile.  Don’t forget social. Hashtags like #stapleshasit and L.L.Bean’s #packmentality, which leapt from social media into display, email and print last season, will proliferate in 2014.

3.  Solicit stories from your customers to drive positive reviews.

4.  Time your sales (early-bird and end of season) to match buying periods.

5.  Differentiate between back-to-school and back-to-college.

 

 

The Blurred Lines of Gender Blenders

July 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

ndT8d9KieGender is less of a definer for identity today than it was for previous generations. With Millennials representing 23.5% of the U.S. population, these 18-34 year-olds are changing society in profound ways.

According to the recent Intelligence Group Cassandra Gender survey, more than two-thirds of participants agree that gender does not define a person the way it once did. This survey included 900 people ages 14-34, two-thirds of which are 18-24.  Another 60% think that gender lines are blurred. The younger generations are avoiding conformity, and gender stereotypes are just that. Now there is greater fluidity to transition between genders and find the personal interpretation.

 According to Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies in the Family Research Council, stereotypes have faded: “For example, no one today disputes that women can be successful doctors, lawyers, business leaders, or public officials. Such a trend is far different from asserting that differences between the sexes do not exist, or that such differences are entirely a social construct rather than the result of innate biological factors.” 

Here are some additional results from the Cassandra Gender Report:

68% of women and 71% of men felt that it was okay for women to propose to men

95% of women are good with girls playing traditionally male sports

85% of men are okay with stay-at-home dads

94% of women agree with women in the military

81% of men are fine with female breadwinners

From college housing, clothing, language, and parenting we are seeing more gender-neutral trends from the Millennials. Two thirds of the population says that their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like, and the majority is excited about it. The year 2013 included some of the most unisex names to date such as Riley, Peyton, Rowan, and Addison.

But the younger generations are not the only ones noting this gender-free transition. College campuses have been in the lead by creating gender-neutral bathrooms and housing, allowing students to share roommates with any sex. Similarly, state governments have begun changing statutes to include gender-neutral pronouns. Looks like the Millennials are making headway in changing the perception of gender roles.

Post by Claire Whorton, advertising senior at the University of Alabama.

The Lipstick Economy in Iran. Really?

June 23, 2014 § 1 Comment

An Iranian woman checks make up at a cosmetics shop in northern Tehran on May 6, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Atta Kenare)

An Iranian woman checks make up at a cosmetics shop in northern Tehran on May 6, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Atta Kenare)

It seems like a contradiction that Iranian women in compulsory veils are avid buyers of make-up, seek out cosmetic surgery and go to house parties to buy fashion.  Thousands of Iranian women are even taking off their veils and publishing pictures of themselves on a Facebook page set up by a London-based Iranian journalist, triggering a debate about the freedom to wear or not wear the hijab.  Only posted in May of this year, the site has attracted thousands of likes.

Iranian women are pushing boundaries, with long held memories of freedoms past. They are entering universities and professions in record numbers.  Maybe lipstick is just the first bright spot in the fundamentalist culture.

Make-up and Mohammed

Believe it or not, Iran is the second-largest cosmetics market in the Middle East in terms of revenue, behind Saudi Arabia, and the world’s seventh biggest.  Women in Iran may wear more make-up than in some western countries.

The Islamic tradition in Iran does not prohibit perfumes or cosmetics.  It is said that even Mohammed wore perfume.  So, one’s face and make-up are their own form of personal expression in a world of covered heads and loose clothing.

tumblr_masshdQBVk1rxdo98o1_1280Now, with a female population of more than 38 million women, the cosmetics industry, despite the economy, is booming.  Some estimate the market at several hundred million dollars, much of it in the grey market.

Recently the French luxury brand Lancome recently announced a return to Iran after decades away.  It is the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution that a major Western brand has had such a heralded comeback.  No American brands have been sold in Iran since the US embargo of the 1980s.

Cosmetic professionals estimate that Iranian women buy approximately one tube of mascara per month, compared to only one every four months bought by the French.  Iran has a large youth population, most of whom still live with their parents, allowing them money to spend on discretionary small luxuries like make-up.

Cosmetic Surgery in Iran

The desire for facial beauty does not stop there. Iran has the highest rate of nose surgery in the world.  Young people are having cosmetic surgery in the hope of attaining facial features like the actors they see in Hollywood films and  Western satellite television programming.

Maison Shopping and Socializing

This focus on beauty seems to be more than a reaction to the restrictive society in which women in Iran live.  House parties at maisons with boutique clothing have cropped up all over Iran.  Located in homes of the underground merchants, they allow Iranian women to shop and socialize outside of the oppressive societal rules.  They can take off headscarves, shop for clothes and visit with friends.   And bring a type of societal freedom to their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Salute to Fathers Who Raise Female Leaders

June 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Fathers DayFathers have a big impact on what their little girls do later in life. I remember my husband taking that first look at our little red-head when she was born and saying, “No one is going to stand in the way of anything she wants to do.”

It seems there is actual research to back up the father’s role in gender equality in the workplace, but the research is a little different than you might imagine; it’s not just about attitudes but more about actions. The study, from the University of British Columbia, shows that households with more gender-egalitarian roles actually inspire girls to wide-reaching career roles. Another case of “it’s not what you say, but what you do.”

What does this mean? In households where parents share household duties, girls were more likely to see their future roles with less gender bias.

“Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian, or stay-at-home-mom,” reports the Association for Physiological Science.

As the mother, my gender and work equality beliefs are key in predicting my children’s attitudes toward gender, but, according to the study, the strongest predictor of daughters’ own professional ambitions was their fathers’ approach to household chores.

Why is this important to know?

“This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded,” says Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Dept. of Psychology.

IMG_2016Girls are very sensitive to societal expectations, and are aware of the roles they’d be expected to take as wife, mother and housekeeper.

Back to the Dunham household, I have to thank my husband on this Father’s Day for being an inspiration for our daughter. He has been there to share in everything as we brought up a strong daughter and strong son. He has cooked, folded clothes, fixed cars and even shopped with our children. Today, our daughter is a rising public relations professional.

Marketing to Non-Moms: The Nuclear Family Blown Up!

June 7, 2014 § 2 Comments

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47% of women of childbearing age in the US do not have kids.

Having the perfect marriage and the nuclear family of two parents, 2.5 kids, and a house in the suburbs is no longer the ideal of many women.   There is now a significant portion of women who are not marrying, marrying later, living single, living with a same-sex partner, divorced, or widowed.  One-third of all women, or 19 million women, do not have children.

DeVries Global has done research on women in 2014 with a specific focus on “The Otherhood” – women who do not have children by choice or chance.  Research shows this is a large group; some 47% of women of the childbearing age in the US do not have kids.  

Here are some of the insights about these independent women who are not parents.

1.  Well educated and Smart.  The research found that 75 percent of women without children had some college or above, compared to 67 percent of women with kids. Additionally, 37 percent have a Bachelor Degree or higher while almost 10 percent have an advanced or professional degree.

2.  Social Clout.  These women have an extremely large social network consisting of more than 1500 friends and followers across several social media platforms.  She spends approximately the same amount of time on social networks as moms (28 hours per week!) but her choices might be less Facebook and more Pinterest.

3.  Spending More Per Person.  She is spending outspending mom on a per person basis.  She is spending double on beauty and personal care and 35% more per person on groceries.  She is more likely to shop in a drugstore than a Wal-Mart or Target.  She has a monthly budget and she uses coupons.  She is slightly more likely to compare prices online.

4.  Finding Success, Then Love.  The top priorities in her life are career success and love.  Oh, and love does not necessarily mean marriage.  They rank marriage and having kids well behind finding love.  Many want to establish their careers before they consider marriage.  It’s more about self-reliance.

Dr. Janet Taylor observes, “Having it all doesn’t just mean you are a working woman who is a mom, having it all means having a life that has meaning and purpose. If you are single and childless, you can still have that.

5.  Loving Children.   The study found that children play an active role in the lives of 80 percent of non-moms.  And 36% of non-moms are voluntarily without children.    When asked if they wanted children of their own, the group had diverse answers. While being an aunt is enough for some, nearly half (46%) of non-moms want to be mothers. Some 18 percent are on undecided.  For those undecided or do not want children, giving up their freedom was the number one reason non-moms were hesitant about having children.

6.  Free to Travel.  Women are living an independent lifestyle, traveling more often and many times alone.  Fifty-nine percent say travel is a passion.  Non-moms spend 60% more days abroad per year than moms, and those that are in a relationship spend more than twice as much time away with their partner than mom.

7.  Happy and Fulfilled.  Non-moms can find happiness in rich and intimate friendships, meaningful careers, lives of adventure, and love in different forms.  There is no longer a stereotype that having children is the only path – 80 percent of non-moms felt they could lead a happy life without children, whether or not they want children of their own.

How to Reach these Independent Women

•  Show her life with authenticity.  Don’t focus just on the work component.

•  Celebrate her independence, resilience and autonomy.

•  Recognize her influence online and her taste.

•  Look for opportunities to market to her like solo travel experiences.

•  Segment her psychographic group as a target audience, looking at her buying habits and needs.

 

 

 

What We Can Learn from The New York Times Being Behind the Times

May 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

320-Innovation_fullThe Gray Lady has problems – more than just the firing of Jill Abramson or lack of reporting on Jill Abramson’s demise. It seems the Times is behind the times in all things digital.  On May 15, Buzz Feed leaked the 96-page New York Times Innovation Report that candidly describes the digital struggles and weaknesses of the legendary print icon.    The report focuses on digital providers like Vox, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and BuzzFeed.  The report describes the institutional inertia that is keeping many businesses from embracing the new face of marketing.  And in some terrible irony of ironies, it was that upstart BuzzFeed that leaked the story.

Key learnings for all marketers today.

1.  Beware of Disrupters.  The news biz is changing like all business today.  Once small outsiders like BuzzFeed and  Huffington Post are now garnering more traffic than the Times.  Sound familiar?  Like Amazon, AirBnB, Uber and other disrupters?  The report gives some of the hallmarks of disruptive innovators – introduced by an outsider, less expensive than existing products, targeting new or underserved markets, initially inferior to existing products and advanced by an enabling technology.  Sound familiar in your business category?  Your competition may not be who it was yesterday. Today the New York Times is facing disparate competition such as LinkedIn’s Pulse Publishing platform,  Flipboard’s visual presentation of news, Vox as a collector of live blogging in passionate verticals, or Yahoo News that has hired Katie Couric and repurposes the best of news.

nytimescompetitors

2.  Stories Find Readers Today.  The Times identified a trend showing that users are moving away from browsing and actually expect the news to come to them through social media, mobile notifications, aggregators and more.

Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of The Guardian’s website says, “The realization that you have to go find your audience — they’re not going to just come and read it — has been transformative.”

 

Death of the Home Page.   Only a third of readers visit the home page of The New York Times. And those who do visit are spending less time on it. Page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages in the year 2013.  Where do people see your content?  We cannot expect our website to be the first view of information.

home-page-v-socialNews from Social Media.  Less than 10% of the New York Times traffic comes from social media compared to Buzzfeed who gets 60% of their traffic from social media.  In fact, I read the story about the New York Times report on LinkedIn and Mashable first.

Marketers cannot expect just one media to work for them.  It takes  multiple ways to get your important news out.  Social media, email marketing, guest posts, podcasts, interviews, speaking engagements, search marketing and even advertising, if well timed and placed.

3.  Content Packaging is as Important as the Story.  Journalists have thought that the story is the thing.  Build it and they will come.  But today, a journalist must craft the right story for the audience, understanding the reader relevance.  I was stunned by a story from Forbes writer Kashmir Hill who took an anecdote buried in a 5,000 word article in the times and repackaged it as “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.”  Her Forbes article has been viewed 2,455,821 times, and was the chief traffic driver for the Times story.  Crafting the right point of view takes a real understanding of your target audience.  And then, you have to position your story appropriately, with engaging content.

4.  Timing is Everything.  The Times is publishing their best content on a schedule meant for print.  They publish the majority of their content in the late evening, in order for it to make the morning paper, while  the majority of their traffic is in the morning hours. The biggest stories are published on Sundays for the venerable Sunday Paper, even though Sunday is the slowest day for traffic online.  A lesson to marketers here is are you publishing at times when you audience will see them?  In today’s world, the news is a 24-hour operation and news consumers expect to have it on a 24-hour schedule.

5.  Every Story Needs A Promotional Strategy.  All content needs a promotion strategy.  The publishing of the story is just the beginning.  What is the social strategy?  Is there a checklist for publishing that includes search headline, tags, images, pre-written Facebook and Twitter posts?

“Even ProPublica, that bastion of old-school journalism values, goes to extraordinary lengths to give stories a boost. An editor meets with search, social and public relations specialists to develop a promotion strategy for every story. And reporters must submit five tweets along with each story they file.”

How can you repurpose the content?  The Times report tells, “On a whim, Andrew Phelps created a Flipboard magazine of our most important obits of the year and it became the best-read collection in the history of the platform.”  The Gawker took a 161 year old story from The Times to help introduce “12 Years as a Slave”.

Consumers Expect Personalization.   The Times is looking at new engines to foster personalization online.  Increasingly, consumers are expecting to have options served up to them based on preferences.  Can readers follow their favorite columnists?

Engagement is everyone’s job.  A key learning is that you need to engage with your audience – respond to comments, answer emails and converse on social media.  Equally important is looking at the list of influencers that can help spread your message and interact with them.  Or events that help create community.

6.  Silos are out, teams are in.  Here is the telling statement:  “Our Twitter account is run by the newsroom. Our Facebook account is run by the business side.”  Departments need to break down walls and work together.  The refiguring of team is important to create more harmonious efforts.  The Times has recognized the power of collaboration focused on reader experience.  What a wonderful concept!

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.  So, as The Times goes, it seems they are embarking upon an important journey.

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