Marketing to Women: The Future of Reading

April 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Katie Dunham and the LA Library Bookmobile

Katie Dunham and the LA Library Bookmobile

I just returned from the LA Festival of Books and on my plane trip home, as I juggled between my iPad and a paperback, I wondered about the future of reading.  Some think we are in a transition as disruptive as Gutenberg’s printing presses more than 500 years ago.  In fact, some in Silicon Valley think Gutenberg was the first technology geek and call him their patron saint.

The Facts, Please!

Women contributed to 58% of book purchases in 2012, up from 55% in 2011.

According to Pew Research, more than 50% of Americans now have some type of handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle– for reading e-content. That number is up from 43% of adults who had either of those devices in September 2013, so adoption is growing.

Some 76% of all adults have read a book in the past year, but 82% of women have read a book in the past year.  The typical adult read or listened to five books during the year but the median number of books read by women was 14 books.  Those who read books on an e-reader tend to be more female, while gender is fairly evenly split on iPad book readership.  The amount we read has stayed fairly level the past few years.

But here’s an interesting statistic.  The majority of those reading e-readers still read print books as well.  Among adults who read at least one book in the past year, just 5% said they read an e-book in the last year without also reading a print book.

Sure, publishing is changing.  Bookstores have become curated collections, not mass marketers, and writers are unchained and able to post their own books to Amazon.  But as I walked through the LA Festival of Books and saw and heard people lovingly hold and share their books and heard authors speak of their inspirations, I realized that story is still alive and well.  And that is the future of reading.

Marketing to Women: Expert Content Most Trusted

April 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

What content works best?  Marketers are struggling to make out what content is most valuable and how it works for them.  But, let’s look at how it works for the shopper.  The study recognizes three types of content:

Unknown• Expert Content:  Independent editorial reviews.  You know, the stuff you don’t pay for, in credible forums written by recognized experts.  If you were in the tech field, you might want a Walt Mossberg review or a TechCrunch story.

• Branded Content:  Paid materials like advertorials, company websites, or company blogs.

• User-generated content:  Unpaid reviews by web users on sites.

A new study from Nielsen and inPowered looked at the major types of content and its effect on the purchasing process.  And guess what?  A huge 85% of participants in the study said they seek out third-party information for all sorts of products.  They may use a variety of sources for information including social media, user reviews, advertising, websites and expert reviews.


But when it comes to purchase consideration, affinity and familiarity, expert reviews win every time.

Screen-Shot-2014-03-25-at-3.34.16-PMAccording to the study, 61% of participants said they were less likely to trust any review commissioned by the company that produced the product while editorial writers are, by definition, offering their honest opinions.

Some might interpret this information as meaning you need only public relations.  But the truth is, all that content adds up to more than just one vehicle can accomplish alone.  Expert reviews may proceed a new product announcement.  Advertising will follow up and create awareness for the product.  Websites may provide product details.  And word of mouth and user reviews help reinforce the expert opinion and advertising claims.  It’s not just one

Marketing to Women: Ford Parody of Cadillac Spot More Appealing to Women

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Thanks to Adweek for alerting us to two spots that espouse totally different views on marketing Hybrid Cars – one spot from Cadillac and one spot from Ford.  Which one do you think appeals to women looking for a hybrid plug-in?  An insensitive male spokesperson who worships status toys or a confident female entrepreneur who wants to make the world a better place?

ford-cadillac-poolside-hed-2014Here’s the facts:  Women purchase half of all vehicles sold in the US and take part in 80% of the car buying decisions.  And women request 65% of the service work done at dealerships.

The Cadillac Approach

Cadillac has been airing a well-criticized spot espousing that the American dream is based on taking less vacation and owning lots of things.  The spots seems to reek of elitism, egocentric views and insensitivity.  The  intent of the spot was to sell Cadillac’s CLR luxury plug-in but it seems to have struck a raw nerve with today’s more socially conscious consumer.

The Ford Approach

Ford took on the Cadillac spot with their own spoof of the spot posted on YouTube.  The focus of the spot is sustainability, entrepreneurism, and making our cities better.  The spokesperson couldn’t be more different — a successful black women Pashon Murray, the founder of a sustainability consultancy and advocacy group.

Marketing to Moms: Coupons Still Rule in All Forms

March 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

Moms seem to have the most desire to find bargains and clip coupons.  No doubt it’s because households with children under 18 spend more money than households with no children or with children 18+.

Gallup-Daily-Spending-Americans-With-Without-Children-Mar2014A Gallup poll shows that across all incomes, households with children just spend more – on all types of things.  So it is no surprise that Moms are the most active users of coupons.

Moms are seeking discounts, whether they get them from an app or still cut them out of the newspaper.  In a new report from eMarketer, Moms are seen to use coupons more than non-Moms.

170518The chart shows how printed coupons still reign, but coupon apps are still an important part of the mix.  As the smartphone becomes the tool of choice for many, apps will continue to grow in use.  Moms appear to be always on the alert for deals and ways to save money.

Also important in the total mix are the online saver sites.  Womensforum reported that 37.8% of mothers reported using the food or frugal website/blogger sites that share coupons.

Being frugal is still cool and may be a residual effect of the Great Recession for some time to come.  But certainly, households with children are looking for ways to stretch their dollar.



Marketing to Women: A Twitter Photo is Worth a Thousand Retweets

March 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

resizeFor those of us watching the Oscars this year, we know that this little selfie set a new retweet record.  In just a matter of minutes, the Ellen tweet had 1.9 millions retweets and even crashed Twitter for a moment.  The previous record was 778, 801 for President Obama’s “Four more years.”

But what about that Tweet made it so special?  I mean,  other than Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Ellen and that cutie Jennifer Lawrence.  Seems it was because it was a star-studded photo.

Why do some tweets have higher engagement?  Twitter did a study of its own to find out what makes some tweets so popular.  Looking at more than 2 million Tweets sent by thousands of verified users across different fields over the course of a month, Twitter determined that the addition of hashtag, a number or stat, a quote, a video or a photo increased the effectiveness of the tweet.  So it seems that a Twitter Photo is worth a Thousand or maybe a Million Retweets!

Overall, the most effective tweet components across all verified accounts were:

Photos, which averaged a 35 percent boost in retweets.
Videos, which got a 28 percent boost.
Quotes, which received a 19 percent boost in retweets.
A number or stat, which received a 17 percent bump in retweets.
Hashtags, which garnered a 16 percent boost.

The overall effectiveness of different elements vary across various categories.  The chart below shows the effectiveness of photos for news, but in television it might be a quote or a video url.  However, the premise is that tweets need an enhancement to make them shareable.

Kevin Spacey and House of Cards Turning the Table on Television

March 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

1798649_677418562280913_577823994_nI am a fanatic about Kevin Spacey.  And House of Cards.  Just like Frank Underwood at the White House, Netflix is turning the table on television and teaching us all a little something about marketing.  And it is a pretty easy lesson really.  It’s looking at television as content and giving the audience what they want – control.

Watch this short video of Kevin Spacey talking in Edinburgh about the new way Netflix is viewing content.

Kevin Spacey reminds us of three important tenets of marketing today.

1.  The Customer Wants to Be In Control.  In February 14, the second season of House of Cards premiered on Netflix.  While Netflix doesn’t publish numbers, some estimate that as many as 16% of Netflix 30 million domestic viewers watched at least one episode on the premiere night, and some 25% of all Netflix viewers will watch season two when they choose to.  One-third viewers are engaging in what we call “binge watching”, watching more than one episode at a single sitting.  For marketers, we need to offer our products to our customers the way they want them, not how we want to deliver them.

2.  Content is Storytelling.  Spacey tells us that the audience is craving good stories.  Really good stories endure and your audience will always seek them out.  Make sure you are telling compelling stories about your brand.  Some of the brands that tell compelling stories are Toms, Starbucks, Nike, Allstate’s Mayhem, Chipotle, Nordstrom, and P&G Olympic Moms.  These stories capture our hearts and then our minds.

3.  Data is Our Guide.  Netflix users watch 2 billion hours of programming each month, and that immense data allows Netflix to determine the subscriber populations around genres, so they can predict a baseline audience.  They knew how many folks loved Kevin Spacey and how many loved the type of serial drama they were creating. That’s hugely different that the crap shoot that the networks use each year to determine whether a pilot will succeed.  Marketers now have access to data that can help them make important decisions about the type of content their audience desires.  That data, if analyzed, can help guide the storyline for your marketing.

And if you are wondering, yes, I have watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards.  And I know how it ends.  Let’s put it this way.  Frank and Netflix do alright.

Marketing Travel to Women: Traveling Solo and Loving It!

February 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

IMG_3281Paula Froelich, author of A Broad Abroad, knows quite a lot about traveling solo.  There are 32 million single women who traveled solo in the past year.  And when I say travel, I don’t mean going home to Mama’s or the beach.  Women are taking adventure vacations and going to exotic locales all over the world.  (Read Paula’s tips on why you should go to Egypt now.)

In fact, the average adventure traveler is not a male, but a 47-year-old female.  Fueling this travel trend is the growth in single women.  One third of all women are single “indies” - a new term for those over 27, not married, not living with a partner and without children.

So it is time for travel marketers to acknowledge this growing group of travelers.  These women are more educated, affluent, adventurous and curious about life.  They want real experiences that are intellectually stimulating.  And they would like the marketing to speak to them and their needs – not the happy empty nester couple or the nuclear family.

Read more in Paula’s great infographic.SOLO-TRAVEL-INFOGRAPHIC

Superbowl Marketing to Women! Finally!

February 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

14182472-mmmainWhy are brands marketing to women for the Super Bowl?  It’s not all chips and dips.  Women are an important target because according to Nielsen demographic data, 46 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience is female, and more women watch the game than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined!  

What makes women so important?  Women influence the majority of purchases across all categories.  And even more importantly, women out-tweet men by 60%.  According to Adweek, of the 20.9 million Super Bowl-related tweets sent during last year’s game, nearly 30 percent were about the ads.

So among the spots on Super Bowl Sunday will be spots that are clearly appealing to a female audience.  Many of these have already been viewed millions of times.  Marketers are grabbing the gusto both pre- and post-game.    Here are just a few of Sunday’s popular spots:

1.  Cheerios – “Gracie”.  The sweet little girl in the interracial family finds out that she is getting a new baby brother — and something else.

2.  Budweiser – “Puppy Love”.  Budweiser is out to pull our heartstrings with this Clydesdale-puppy love fest.

3.  Chobani Yogurt – “Chobani Bear”.  Bob Dylan helps Chobani sell yogurt to women in this spot.

4.  Dannon Oikos – “The Spill”
Greek yogurt is big this year with another Oikos spot that boasts celebrity spokesperson John Stamos. This year, Oikos is stepping up their game with a“Full House” reunion featuring Bob Saget and Dave Coulier.

5.  Butterfingers Marriage Counseling.  Okay, this is a football game spot?

6.  VW Wings.  An ode to A Wonderful Life has engineers getting their wings when a Volkswagen turns 100,000 miles.

Marketing to Working Moms: New Scarborough Study!

January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person.  They are more educated,  more affluent and more wired than ever before.  Working Moms represent 40% of moms.

Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.   For more, see the infographic below.

95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority

27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.  

72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.

Working moms are spending less for name brands.  They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  

Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.

Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.


Marketing to Hispanic Women: The Power Grocery Shoppers

January 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hispanics are a growth target for consumer product brand marketers.  A new eMarketer study finds that Hispanics do more grocery shopping than the average US shopper and they spend 20% more during routine trips.  For marketers, it is also important to know that they are heavy online users as well.


Hispanics have a strong family culture.  Some say that 75% of  their families have a traditional sit-down meal every day.  And Hispanics also take their friends and family with them when they shop.  Hispanics grocery shop with family or friends on nearly 80% of their shopping trips.

1460998_737861562909145_449029842_nTheir social nature also extends to social media.  eMarketer estimates that in 2012, 68.9% of Hispanics were using social networks, compared with 66.2% of the total US population. They are also more likely to post reviews and participate with brands.  A Post brand manager for Honey Bunches of Oats reported that their Spanish Facebook page garnered more than three times the engagement levels of their non-Hispanic page.  Currently the page has 211,000 likes.

Mobile is also an important part of their digital profile.  Their use of mobile and smartphones while shopping is higher than any other ethnic group.  They are more likely to compare product prices, call or text a family member about a product and look for a coupon.

Are you leveraging your Hispanic audience?

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