March 20, 2013 § 1 Comment
The idea of “lean in” is not a new one. Lean in means to press forward like leaning in to the wind so you won’t be blown over – or leaning in because you are more than interested, involved – all in. In the past few weeks, you need to have been in a cloistered retreat to miss all the hoopla over Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” Sheryl Sandberg is an amazing woman who tells an engaging story about the workplace today and women’s own responsibility in moving up in business.
But marketers need to “lean in” as well. Marketers need to recognize the power and influence of the women in the consumer arena and to greet that knowledge with more intuitive marketing that allows today’s women to see themselves in marketing. Marketers need to be “all in” on the importance of women as consumers.
Here are just a few facts that support marketers “leaning in” on the subject of women and their purchasing behavior.
1. One-third of Women are Single and Independent. This is a growing group of women who think being independent is their most important life goal. They have more disposable income than other women. They are well educated, growing in management and happy to be single.
2. Breadwinner wives are the highest wage earners in 40% of marriages. From 2007 to 2011, women’s contribution to household income grew from 44% to 47%. Male dominated jobs suffered the most in the past recession and women were more stable in their jobs. Women now compose half of the workforce and are moving up the ladder.
3. Women don’t think marketers understand them. Women make 85% of all consumer purchases and yet, 91% of women don’t think marketeres understand them. Women want authenticity, transparency, honesty and accurate portrayal. Families are not longer nuclear, and women don’t measure success by how clean their laundry is. It’s no surprise that only 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women.
4. Marketers need to embrace women’s tools – social media and smartphones. The newest figures out on social media usage from Pew show that the percentage of female internet users exceeds that of men (75% vs. 63%, respectively). A new study by Weber Shanadwick provides richer insight on this social usage. Here are some facts you can’t ignore -
- 86% have a social media account/profile with 2.2 accounts on average
- 81% Facebook is by far the most prevalent social media account
- Women spend an average of 12 hours per week using social media (nearly 2 hours/day)
- 19% say some of their best friends they know only through Facebook or Twitter
And why is this important? Well, social women are social and have influence with friends. They tell friends about products and services at a higher rate, they like or recommend services online, and they post comments and write reviews about products and services online. And they post pictures or images online.
Oh, and smartphones are the most important tools in women’s handbags. 50.9% of smartphone users are women and we are using smartphones to stay in touch with our families and friends, interact on social media, and shop, shop, SHOP!! If women can’t easily find you on their mobile phone or if you are not competitive, she will move on to another source. Moms are on their phones six hours daily and readily admit that their smartphones are more important than sex!
5. Women buy based on emotion and facts. Okay, everyone does. But marketers don’t seem to understand that in many arenas. In purchasing decisions, 83 percent are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company. One fifth of respondents said they would pay 50 percent or more if they felt the company put the customer first. And yes, we have crushes on companies. Who are those companies? Think about your own list. Mine includes Apple (oh, yes even if Samsung is making competitive products), Amazon (I smile when I see a box), Nordstrom’s (even my husband knows this is my brand), and Costco (a Saturday shopping pleasure).
So what’s a marketer to do? Portray women accurately, don’t talk down to us, appeal to our emotional side, allow us to discover things about your brand, surprise us once in awhile, lavish us with great information and advice and like any good marriage – communicate, communicate, communicate.
March 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Before I had children, my mom used to talk about her grand-dog. Now that my children are grown, I talk about my dogs and my grand-dog. Are we really pet parents? Apparently most of us are. Many of my Christmas cards this year had pictures of the dog, dressed in holiday gear.
Pet ownership is at an all-time high. Boomers — typically defined as the generation born from 1946 through 1964 — are a major reason why Americans’ spending on the likes of food, kennels, surgery, even Christmas gifts, is expected to top $55 billion this year. Half of all Boomers have a pet, and 40% of those have a dog.
According to Marketing News, pets have become replacements for the big non-furry types. Societal shifts have seen more single men and women and childless couples making pets part of the family. Now, 81% of us think of our pets as family members. Baby boomers have replaced their grown children with pets who are now the recipients of all that attention.
The Denver Post reports, “Boomers are different, for the most part,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association.“What did they call us? Helicopter parents, because we were constantly hovering over the kids. The kids left home and now we’re looking to hover over something else. And so we wind up doing it over pets.”
Petsmart’s CEO Robert Moran knows a pet parent when he sees one. Petsmart was a big winner during the holidays as pet parents rushed to buy products for the furry babies. Some 76% of pet parents bought their pets a holiday gift. That’s enough pet treats and goodies to boost Petsmart shares 50% in 2012.
The numbers are nothing to bark at; US pet parents spend an average of $5 billion on their pets during the holidays and more than $55 billion annually, according to the American Pet Owner’s Association. Sixty-two percent (62%) of US households own a pet and 46% of them have dogs. On average, dog owners spent $248 on veterinary visits (vaccine, well visits) annually and $43 on treats.
February 24, 2013 § Leave a Comment
One of the lingering effects of the “new normal” is the growth in breadwinner wives. From 2007 to 2011, women’s contribution to household income grew from 44% to 47%. And in some 40% of marriages, the women are the highest wage earners.
“This past recession caused women’s share of earnings to rise even more significantly, with the largest single year increase,” said Kristin Smith, a family demographer at the Carsey Institute and a research assistant professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
The trend is strongest among couples where the husband has a lower level of education. Women married to men with a high school degree or less contributed 51% of total family earnings in 2011; those married to men with a college degree contributed 42%.
Men dominated jobs suffered the most in the past recession. From December 2007 to January 2010, America lost 8.7 million jobs, with male-dominated industries, such as construction and manufacturing, suffering the most. Unemployment peaked in October 2009, at 10%, with men’s unemployment at 11.2% and women’s at 8.7%.
As the economy improves, women will tend to stay in their job roles. Many households lost ground in savings, housing values and retirement accounts.
Other gender-related shifts that have taken place in recent years: Colleges are graduating more women than men; women under 30 earn more than their male counterparts in most of America’s largest cities; and women now comprise about half of the workforce.
An unintended cultural effect was found in a 2010 study by Western Washington University where researchers found that when a woman’s contribution to household income tops 60 percent, the couple is more likely to divorce. However, this cultural shift may balance out as the new generation starts their households. The vast majority of young people – about 80% of women and 70% of men across all races, classes, and family backgrounds — desire an egalitarian marriage in which both partners share breadwinning, housekeeping, and child rearing. The data come from Kathleen Gerson‘s fabulous 2010 book, The Unfinished Revolution.
Marketers should be alert to how women are portrayed in advertising because of this new normal. Old stereotypes will not serve a brand well, particularly if women are the primary target.
February 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Let the statistics speak for themselves: Women make 80% of the healthcare decisions. Seventy-three (73%) of medical and health service managers are female. Women compose 47% of medical school graduates. Some 32% of all physicians are women. And yet only 18 percent of hospital CEOs are female. And even worse, only 4% of healthcare company CEOs are women.
The following presentation from Rock Health gives some of the perceived barriers to advancement in healthcare – self confidence, time constraints, ability to connect with senior leadership, family and education/skills.
While women are beginning to make upward progress, it is amazing that these types of gender differences still exist. What do you think?
January 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Okay, we are the Lipstick Economy, but a little girly news about nail polish won’t hurt anyone. While expanding lipstick sales have been traditionally linked with recessionary periods, nail polish is the new indicator for the 21st Century. According to WWD, polish sales reached $768 million in 2012 in the U.S., which is a gain of 32% over 2011. WWD reports on a survey that claims that 33% of women in the States have at least 25 bottles of polish in their homes.
Why the booming sales? I think we all know why. There are all the colors of the rainbow now available in polish. Gel nails are all the rage and have recently been introduced as home kits. Nail art and decals are part of the personal nail expression. And polishes come in all types of finishes – cracked, sand, matte, high gloss and more.
Nail polish is all about personal expression. And it fits all sizes and ages. It’s also an inexpensive way to follow trends without too much risk. I often see grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters all in a nail salon together discussing the merits of Cajun Shrimp or My Chihuahua Bites. Oh, and the names are part of the experience. It’s cheap fun that lifts your spirits.
OPI always has wacky names and seasonal destination collections that give you and your toes a quick vacation just by polishing. Now that’s a group that understands its brand and its personality. The names are so fun that I hear women talking about them all the time and talking about their favorites. Names like Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie and Lincoln Park After Dark.
Evidently nail art has been big in hipster places like Japan for quite a while. Here in the United States, it’s a small luxury with a big return. After all, we can only see our lipstick when we look in a mirror or see the smudge on our coffee mug, but we see our hands all the time.
Fast Company reports that women are not the only ones that want a little fun. Seems men are getting into the nail obsession. Josh Espley is CEO of Blakk Cosmetics, whose first product,Alphanail, is being billed as “war paint for your fingernails.” (It’s nail polish, but for dudes.)
December 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Women on average make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. If the gender wage gap were closed and women were paid equitably, it could have unbelievable impact to our economy. This fact should not be too surprising to marketers. The robust economy that we enjoyed from the 1970s through 2000s was fueled by the two-income household which allowed for time-saving appliances, two cars, vacations, larger homes and higher education.
Today, we need a different boost because of the large number of working women. Women are now half of all workers on U.S payrolls, two-thirds of mothers are bringing home at least a quarter of the family’s earnings, and 4 in 10 mothers are either the sole breadwinner (a single, working mother) or are bringing home as much or more than their spouse.
Economist Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, estimates that the stimulus effect of wage equality would grow the U.S. economy by at least three to four percentage points. By comparison, the $800 billion economic stimulus package that Congress passed in 2009 to bail banks out of the recession is estimated to have grown the GDP by less than 1.5 percent overall. The growth estimate gets larger if you consider how many women would be drawn into the workforce is wages were increased.
Oh, and don’t forget. Women are more likely to stimulate the economy by spending the additional money we receive. Because women are the chief purchasing officer for their families.
For more information on the gender wage gap, here’s a great infographic created by LearnStuff.com:
October 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
“I call it Occupying Halloween,” consumer anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff tells Horovitz in a recent USA Today article. “My gut tells me that it’s bigger than Halloween, and is actually part of our culture. We need to creatively express ourselves to find pure joy.”
That’s what one expert thinks is behind the huge popularity of Halloween among adults. It’s “taking place in virtually every city in America,” Horovitz writes. “At bars. At restaurants. At movie theaters. Even at high-end gift shops. Like treats snatched from a trick-or-treat bag, adults have slowly been stealing Halloween from kids for years. Now it appears, grown-ups own the holiday.”
Halloween is the strangest of holidays. It is neither patriotic, religious or historical. Yet, it is celebrated nationally. I think this is part of a trend that shows our need to celebrate and express creativity. It has invaded all of our popular culture – movies, books, television, food and costumes. In today’s society many people feel a sense of isolation and disconnection from their family, their community and their environment. A playful holiday gives reason to have a little fun and connect with people in an acceptable way. Maybe the recession is ending and we are trying to bring back the fun in our lives.
The average person will spend $79.82 on Halloween candy, costumes and décor, according to a National Retail Federation survey That will bring total spending to $8 billion — the most in the survey’s 10-year history.
If you are still debating on your costume, here’s the scoop on what’s popular this year from NRF, in a handy infographic. Please note that costumes this year are for adults, children and pets. Pets seem to be the big new category as well. Guess that’s all those baby boomers and young millennials who now consider themselves pet parents. Americans will spend $370 million on dressing up their pets this year.