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.

Are Female CEOs Being Thrown Off The “Glass Cliff”?

May 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

abramson101004_250New research shows that female CEOs and  senior executive women like Jill Abramson are more likely to be abruptly fired, thrown off the “glass cliff”, than men.  Researchers at Strategy& have released a report that found that women are forced out of chief executive positions more than a third of the time, while only a quarter of men in similar positions experience the same fate.  Oh, by the way, women only represent about 3% of new CEOs.

An illustration of this phenomenon could be the recent unceremonious departure of Jill Abramson as  executive editor of The New York Times.  Reporters everywhere are trying to get to the bottom of the story.   Is this a story of classic gender discrepancy where men are seen as strong, driven, and effective leaders while women are seen as churlish, pushy and bossy?  Was she a victim of the “glass cliff theory” where companies promote women to power in times of corporate crisis and then see their “management styles” as ineffective?  Doing your job may not always be enough.  During Abramson’s tenure, the New York Times won eight Pulitzer prizes, signups for digital increased, and the company stock doubled.

What does research show?

Women are more often hired from outside the company and women are more often forced out of the office (38% women vs. 27% men).  Many  of these companies still lack enough female senior executives below the CEO level who can move up to a CEO position.  Companies hiring female executives from outside are also likely to be less tolerant of shortcomings than they are with executives groomed in-house. And external CEOs are seven times more likely to be dismissed after a short tenure.  What happens after a female CEO is fired?  The boardrooms fall back into traditional behavior - they hire white men with experience. 

Should we “Ban Bossy”?

650queenSheryl Sandberg and the Girl Scouts agree on one thing – We should “Ban Bossy”.  The word bossy can discourage women from seeking leadership positions.  In one of Sandberg’s anti-bossy spots, celebrity Beyoncé proclaims, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” According to the Girl Scouts Ban Bossy National Youth Poll 2014, more than a third of girls who are called “bossy” lose interest in leading and stop making decisions or suggestions.

While women are increasing the top levels of management, there is still a long way to go.  The proportion of women in the CEO position has doubled to nearly 4% in the past five years and could rise to 33% by 2040.  But old habits, the gender norms of corporate leadership, remain hard to change.

 

Marketing to Women: Is the Lunch Hour Dead?

May 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

lunch timeAs I was munching on my McDonald’s salad at my desk today, I started wondering about the fate of lunch in America.  I certainly don’t seem to break for lunch as often as I used to.  In fact, the phrase lunch hour is even misleading.  In a recent study , 48% of employees say that the typical lunch break is 30 minutes or less.  And in another study by Staples, 19% of employees say they don’t stop for lunch at all.  In 2010, Monster found that more than 20 percent of workers say they always eat lunch at their desks.

The lunch “break” has turned into a time for errands, online shopping, more work and maybe a quick bite.  Here are some of the reasons behind these trends.

•  The recession spawned a cutback in personal and business spending.  And currently the IRS only allows 50% of entertainment expenses.  With a focus on productivity, some employees feel pressure to work more and don’t feel they have time for lunch.

•  Working women have a lot of tasks to accomplish.  Any given day may include errands, online shopping, haircuts and a quick bite.  Working moms are 13% more likely to have spent $2500+ on internet purchases, 10% more likely to do their banking online and they own almost every mobile device technology that allows them to shop.

•  Lunch hour shopping trends show 84% of moms shop 15 minutes or more a day at work.  And most of that shopping happens between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Some 43% of female workers say they did their holiday shopping online while at work, compared to only 35% of male workers.  Not surprisingly,  21% of back to school shopping happens online.  Woman shoppers use the time as a welcome break from their office routine and would rather shop online than go to a mall.

Some categories have benefitted from this trend.  Certainly online shopping of all kinds has prospered.  Retailers see rising traffic during the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. period and some are creating two-hour “stop, drop and shop” promotions during that lunch window.  Grocery stores have embraced the trend with more “grab and go” lunch foods.  According to market researcher NPD Group, grocers have seen their lunchtime purchases of prepared food like sandwiches and salads jump by 28% since 2008.  And fast casual restaurants like Panera and Chipotle provide high quality food options with a lower time commitment.  There is also a trend to wanting snacks at all times to tide workers over to dinner time.

In the world of advertising and marketing, the three martini lunches were legend.  Gerald Ford said, “The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?”  While some still remember those long lost “Mad Men” three martini lunches fondly, in retrospect, they seem indulgent and luxurious.  Time might have been the true luxury. Maybe those lunches were not very productive, but they did provide opportunity for marketers and clients to know each other better.  Maybe we have traded the martini for the macchiato, but that coffee with a client might be a great time to really talk, listen to each other and share ideas freely.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Marketing to Women: The Pressure to Be Popular Online

May 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

mean-girls-8137Peer pressure beyond acne, the cool crowd and first dates?

I recently heard Bridget Brennan of The Female Factor speak at the M2W Conference about the immense impact of popularity on society today.  It’s not the popularity that we dealt with in middle school or high school.

Today, it is the pressure to be interesting online.  How interesting are your posts?  How many people follow you?  How many times have your posts been shared?  We check our stats incessantly.  Heck, some job interviewers even want to know your Klout score.

Why is Online Popularity Important?

Today some 98% of  persons online in the US use social media, so does social media relate to social capital?  Social capital has always been important.  It is considered to be the sum of the networks, connections, influence and interactions people have with other individuals.  There have always been different types of social capital based on your sphere of influence, your wealth, your status in aristocracy, your celebrity and your accomplishments.

In today’s world, online influence can be measured as those with the most Twitter followers – Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama or top Facebook Pages for Shakira, Rihanna and Coke. Bloggers like The Pioneer Woman have created complete media platforms from their original blog, and LinkedIn has introduced us to the Influencers.   Digital influence raters like Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred are investing millions of dollars to understand how our social media activity translates into influence.

It seems that you can increase your social capital online if you follow some important rules.   If you use social media to communicate directly with other individuals—by posting valuable information, commenting on friends’ posts, regular posting, being helpful—it can increase your social capital. Personalized messages seem to have more value  than “one-click communication”.  Just reading and occasionally posting does not add to your popularity.

Brands are beginning to learn that scores do not matter as much as engagement and real relationships. Businesses need to develop meaningful social influence strategies and define their desired outcomes. Not all followers are created alike.  Just like in high school, not all popular people were really fun to be around.

Marketing Demographics: Nine Facts about the New Face of America

April 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

cheeriosDemographics have a whole new face in America.  We are not the Cleavers anymore; we truly are more like The Modern Family.

For those of us who have been in marketing for years, the ubiquitous demographics fell into chunks of age groups, marital status, presence of children, job title and ethnicities that allowed us to purchase mass audiences with ease.  While those demos might change per product, the world seemed a static place.  But today’s world is changing in ways we could not have imagined at the heyday of mass media.  We need to adjust our thinking and our marketing to these new realities.

We have tried to capture just a few of the seismic shifts happening, as identified by Pew Research.

1.  America is becoming multi-colored.  Pew describes it best by saying that “we were once a black and white country.  Now, we’re a rainbow.”   Currently America is 64% white, 12% black, 16% Hispanic, 5% Asian and 3% other.  By 2060, we are projected to be 43% white, 13% Black and 31% Hispanic.   The immigrants of the early 20th century were all European.  Half of all immigrants in the last half of the 20th century and early 21st century have been from Latin America. But the truth is we are moving to a much more homogenized appearance.  Some 43% of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest share of any generation.  The majority of Americans are estimated to be non-white by 2043.

2.  Intermarriage is blurring racial lines.  Racial intermarriage was frowned upon in earlier years and downright illegal in nearly one-third of the states.  Today one in six marriages are inter-racial or mixed ethnicities.  Even President Obama, Tiger Woods, and Bruno Mars are examples of the new mixed ethnicity and culture we see in today’s world. Half of all newborns in the United States is non-white. Stephen Stearns, a Yale professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, says globalization, immigration, cultural diffusion and the ease of modern travel will gradually homogenize the human population, averaging out many racial traits, and making the presence of brown skin much more prevalent.

SDT-next-america-03-07-2014-0-023.  Marriage is deemed less important today.  Just 26% of Millennials (age 18-33) are currently married. When Gen Xers were the same age some 36% were married, and 48% of Baby Boomers were married.  More than 65% of the Silent Generation (ages 65 and older) were married when they were aged 18-33.  Some think that the recession had a lot to do with delayed marriages among Millennials, but there are many factors.   Some 44% of Millennials say that marriage is becoming obsolete.  Today’s couples are marrying later, sometimes after they have started a family, or not at all.   In 2012, 47% of births to Millennial women were non-marital, compared with 21% among older women.

4.  Parenthood is valued over marriage.  Maybe it’s because the stigma of out-of-wedlock births is fading, or today’s parents saw too many broken relationships among their parents.   But in today’s world millennials value the parent experience over marriage.  A 2010 Pew Research survey found that 52% of Millennials say being a good parent is “one of the most important things” in life.  Just 30% say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things.

SDT-next-america-03-07-2014-0-015.  Millennials are detached from institutions.  Some 29% of Milliennials are religiously unaffiliated, compared to 16% of their Boomer parents.  And 50% of them consider themselves political independents, yet they are more liberal.   The connections that they establish are online.  They are digital natives in the center of their social world.

6.  Breadwinner Moms  are prevalent.   Today, four in ten households with children under 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. Some 50 years ago, that number was one in ten.  The “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.  This growth is tied to many trends including the fact that women make up some 47% of the today’s workforce.  Today only 20% of children live in households with a married stay-at-home mother with a working husband, compared to 41% of children in 1970.

7.  Young women are succeeding in education, jobs and pay. Young women are more educated than men.   Thirty eight percent of women aged 25-32 have at least a four-year degree, compared with 31% of men.  They are also beginning to be paid at near parity with men.  Women’s earnings in this age group were 93% of their male counterparts in 2012.  Another new change among married women was noted in 2012, 21% had spouses who were less educated than they were—a 3x increase from 1960.

 8.  Grandparents are Second Parents.  One in ten children live with a grandparent and many are being cared for primarily by a grandparent.  In 80% of the households where children are living with a grandparent, at least one of the child’s parents is also in the household.   The reasons for this care are teen parents, disability, unemployment and parent school enrollment.  Grandparents are an important force in most families.  Some 75% of Boomer grandparents are involved in the raising of their grandchildren, and using that disposable income on Junior.

9.  The Aging of America is happening every day.  For all of our years, our age ranges have looked like a pyramid, with babies at the bottom and just a few 85+ at the top.  But from 1960 to 2060, our pyramid is going to turn into a rectangle. We will have almost as many Americans over age 85 as under age 5. This is the result of longer life spans and lower birthrates.  Today, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day between now and 2030.

10th Annual M2W: Five Reasons to Go

April 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am counting down the days to the 10th Annual M2W: Marketing to Women Conference on May 6-7.  I am looking forward to hanging out with some incredible folks and catching up on the latest in my favorite subject Marketing to Women!

M2W-2014-ConferenceNan McCann, President of PME Enterprises and Liz Fongemie, Senior Vice President,  are two of the organizers that make this conference relevant, distinctive and personal.  There are receptions where you actually can visit with speakers and round tables where you can meet other attendees.

Here are some of my favorite reasons to attend:

1.  Barbara Lippert.  Using old commercials, print ads, toys, and TV shows, noted pop culture expert and M2W® Keynote Speaker Barbara Lippert will analyze the trends and attitudes toward women during the past 50 years of advertising.  That should be a doozy!  Barbara has been a longtime favorite on all things advertising, writing for MediaPost.com and Adweek.

2.  Marti Barletta.  Marti is a pioneer on marketing to women.   Her first book, Marketing to Women, was the original treatise on the subject, and her latest book, PrimeTime Women, focuses in on the market’s high-spending sweet spot – Boomer women in their mid-life prime.   Marti is the real deal.

brennan

Bridget Brennan CEO, Female Factor

3.  Bridget Brennan.  If there is one book all marketers should read it is Bridget’s Why She Buys.  At M2W, Bridget Brennan, will discuss the Top 10 trends in Marketing and Selling to Women consumers, including the global and cultural climate of female populations and insights on Millennial women’s consumer behavior.  I can’t wait!

4.  Elisa Camahort Page.  Elisa is one of the founders of BlogHer.  She will be talking about Social Media Success and what nine years of data has shown them.  Elisa will share key insights about what moves the needle with women, what social platforms work best for what kinds of campaigns, and the unexpected ways we all still get it wrong when it comes to marketing to women online.

5.  Close-ups with major brands, case studies and fresh research.  This year’s conference will have presentations from McDonald’s, Vixen Vodka, Harley-Davidson, WNBA, Corning Ware and more.

I hope to see you there.  And as a disclaimer, The Lipstick Economy does not have any financial relationship with M2W.  We just think it is a must-attend event.

 

 

Marketing to Women: Six Truths about Social Media Usage

April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Six truths about Women and Social Media.  (Infographic below.)

1.  Women have dominated social media for some time. A greater percentage of adult U.S. women use Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter than male counterparts. The one social network that boasts more men is the professional-networking site LinkedIn.

2.  Women use social media more often during the day.  Thirty percent (30%) of women use social media several times daily, compared to 26% of men.

3.  Women are more likely to interact with brand in social media, compared to men.  Women show support, access offers, stay current and comment at greater rates than men.

4.  Women consumer more news in social media than men.  Some 58% of women consumer news compared to 42% men.

5.  Women also use smartphones and tablets more often for social media.

6.  And women post more images to social media, helping to grow visual sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.

1393972619-women-dominate-every-social-media-network-except-one-infographic-1

 

 

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