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?

Marketing to Women in 2014: Shopportunity!

January 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

The landscape is changing.  We tend to shop everywhere we go and the shopper’s path to purchase is changing radically.  There are many signs of the change.  Amazon is now providing grocery delivery in select metro areas.  Netflix is the darling of broadcast entertainment at the moment.  Online sales and show rooming are the norm for any selling season.  Just in time shopping is where it’s at.  And men are growing in importance in weekly shopping.

So here’s some Shopportunities for Marketers in 2014 based on the new Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals study exploring the varied mindsets of today’s U.S. shoppers when it comes to making purchases for their everyday needs.

Planned vs. Impulse Shopping.  Consumers plan to buy 72 percent of the category purchases that end up in their cart before they even head to the store.  When you need toilet paper, a prescription refill and dog food, it’s not an impulse buy.   However, that leaves 28% of purchases in the “shopportunity” category.  They are the impulse category.  Here’s a handy chart prepared by Nielsen.1385396054052

Men Shopping More Often.  Men just shop differently than women – they are less about the shopping experience.  Men tend to shop functionally, planning purchases based on replenishment. They are less likely to focus on traditional promotions and coupons, which are effective with female shoppers.  So the marketer’s job is to remind the male shopper he needs to replenish supplies. It seems that men also tend to pay more attention to in-store marketing intended to inform or attract purchases.  It’s true in our household.  I bet it is in yours as well.

Millennials Love Coupons.  Millennials have been caught in a decade long budget squeeze.  They are 1.6x more likely to be influenced by a coupon.  The way offers are delivered are different.  Millennials are looking online, taking advantage of loyalty groups and checking in with social sites like Foursquare to see if they are eligible for a coupon.  And because the millennial is more open to new products, a coupon or promotional offer is a great way to invite trial.

Buying Loyalty.  Some 82 percent of North Americans find money-saving deals worthy of their participation in loyalty groups.   Beyond lower prices, respondents favored enhanced customer service (44%) and free shipping incentives (42%).  Free shipping incentives are important to 46 percent.

Hispanic Shopping Influence Growing.  Hispanics compose nearly 17 percent of the United States population and are among the nation’s fastest-growing demographic groups, according to the Census Bureau.  And Hispanic buying power is creeping skyward as well.  For instance, they do more grocery shopping than the average US consumer and they spend 20% more on routine trips. All this has made the Latino consumer extremely attractive.  But one size marketing does not fit all.  There are nuances that make it important to know your Hispanic market which will change by store and by region.  Kmart and RoomsToGo are both using Sofia Vergara, star of the popular television show “Modern Family”, because she is one of the few that is authentically Latin American and part of mainstream culture.  In addition, while Hispanics have traditionally been more price conscious, they can also be very brand loyal, and marketers need to know the facts.

Price Checking and Private Label.  Shoppers are 40% more likely to price check when buying private label.  U.S. shoppers do less price checking in-store and more coupon consideration pre-store when purchasing branded products, probably because of the preference and higher value of brands.  However, private label is open to more price shopping.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

champagne-glasses-ready-to-bring-in-the-new-year-sandra-cunninghamA little New Year’s Trivia from The Lipstick Economy to dazzle your friends.  And a wish for Peace, Prosperity and Friendship in the New Year!

Who knew?  It seems that the first New Year’s was first celebrated about 4,000 years ago as an 11-day festival in Ancient Babylon.  It turns out that the Babylonians are not just responsible for the celebration itself, but also one of its most popular traditions: The New Year’s Resolution.  So, what was the most common resolution back then?  Well, it wasn’t to lose weight or quit smoking.  Nope, year after year the Babylonians promised to return borrowed farming equipment.

The Babylonians didn’t have the Roman calendar so they actually celebrated in the spring.  It was Julius Caesar who made January the first month of the year.  He named the month for the Roman god of doors and gates (or entrances and exits) Janus.  Janus was often portrayed with two heads, one looking forward and one backwards, which Caesar thought was appropriate for looking back and forward.

Toasting also goes back to ancient history.  Ulysses drank to the health of Achilles in The Odyssey.  In Rome, drinking to someone’s health was so important that the Senate demanded that all diners drink to their emperor, Augustus, before every meal.  The word toast came about because in the 17th century, it was common to plop a little toast or crouton in your drink as a snack.  For your toasts tonight, just remember what W. C. Fields said:  “I never worry about being driven to drink; I just worry about being driven home.”

Happy New Year puppyFor those literature lovers, you know that Robert Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne but here is a bit of Alfred Lord Tennyson to show you how he rocked it back in 1849.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.



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