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!






Holiday Marketing to Women: 5 Things You Need to Know This Year!

December 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

santa_good_boys_girls‘Tis the season of lists so I thought that we might make a list of important learning from this Holiday Season of Marketing so that we could use it all next year.  So here is my list.  Feel free to add your learnings to the list.

1.  Pinterest is the thing of Sugar Plums and Dreams.  This female-focused audience is now 70 million strong and retailers need a Pinterest strategy.  Holidays, DIY and Recipes are some of the top searches on Pinterest.  And 47.7 percent of shoppers say that Pinterest content has inspired holiday gift purchases.  Here’s an amazing fact – Amazon has been among the most popular holiday season e-retailers for passed-along Pinterest content, drawing more than 16,300 pins/shares a week since Thanksgiving, per Searchmetrics’ research.  Walmart is second and Apple is third.

2.  Gift guides are an important sales tool.  Some of the most-opened emails during the holiday season are gift guides.  Use your imagination for special groups, categories and price ranges.  Also popular are gift guides for gifts under a certain price like $50 or $100.  Pinterest would be a great place to create gift guides.

3.  It’s online!  Black Friday gave way to early Thanksgiving openings and Cyber Monday.  These shopping holidays saw some new trends this year.  Seventeen (17%) of consumers are expecting to increase their online purchases this year, including 2o% among more affluent households. For the first time, more consumers will shop online (47%) than at discount/value department stores (44%).  While consumers did more of their pre-Thanksgiving shopping at online retailers than at mass merchants or department stores, they will do more last-minute shopping at mass merchants and department stores (presumably because they won’t have time to wait for the shipping). (Integer Group, M/A/R/C Research.)  Oh, and there’s a new term to learn – Green Monday (the Monday with at least 10 days until Christmas).

4.  Price checking abounds and Amazon is a clear leader in online shopping.  Some 87% of consumers agree that they will always check Amazon before making most online purchases (MarketLive/e-tailing group.)  Retailers’ sales and promotions are the most likely factor to influence shoppers’ holiday spending (44%), ahead of household expenses (27%) and existing debt obligations (14%). (Discover).

5.  Free shipping is now the standard;  7 in 10 shoppers expect free shipping online, and 47% expect free returns. (Deloitte.)

Bonus Trend:  One third of holiday shoppers will be buying gifts for themselves this year, while spending the rest of the budget on friends and family.  However, holiday shoppers value generosity and social consciousness from their favorite brands.

There are only ten days left until Christmas.  Make the time count – smile more, laugh more, treasure the time and be generous of spirit during these last days before Christmas.

Holiday Marketing to Women: 43% of Women Shop Online at Work

December 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

Christmas Video ChatWomen are the holiday multi-taskers so it’s no surprise that 43% of female workers say they have holiday shopped online while at work, according to the new CareerBuilder CyberMonday study.  Jennifer Sullivan Grasz from CareerBuilder reports only 35% of male workers are also holiday shopping online.

CyberMonday shoppers work too!

Over half (54 percent) of all workers expect to be shopping online for the holidays.  Many of those will be planning to spend the time during lunch or during breaks.  The survey finds that one in five workers will spend between one and three hours browsing Internet deals from the office over the course of the holiday season and 10 percent will spend 3 hours or more; a quarter report just planning to spend an hour or less.

Back in 2010, we reported on a similar study that found that 40% of female workers 18-54 said they shopped online, and a whopping 84% of moms said they spent 15 minutes or more daily shopping.  And emails were a definite trigger for with 60% responding to email offers.

Workers are responding to lots of holiday emails.

No wonder we are responding to emails.   Some 28 percent of all emails are sent during the holiday season.  In fact, every brand is sending consumers an average of six emails, up from five last year.  Experian says that email accounts for nearly 3 percent of website visits (ahead of social) and higher conversions (3.58 percent) than search (2.49 percent) and social (.71 percent) combined. Oh, and don’t forget –  half of all emails are now read on mobile devices.

Email tips for marketers.

For marketers, we need to take all of this in consideration and start planning early.  Some of the important considerations are:

1.  Test emails and offers for effectiveness.

2.  Test timing of emails.  Weekends versus weekdays may yield different results.  By the way, half of all working women do their shopping between 11 am and 2 pm.

3.  Make sure your subject lines are appealing and stand out to your consumers.  Subject lines are where most people make a decision to unsubscribe.

4.  Help your customer with gift guides.  According to Experian, gift guide emails experience 48% higher transaction rates than normal promotion emails.

4.  Look for new ways to build your list and reach new people.

5.  Be more personal. Address your customer by name or tailor the message to your geography, weather or preferences.

6.  Use re-targeting and abandoned cart messages.

7.  Make sure you are optimized for mobile.

The CareerBuilder survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,484 U.S. workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between August 13 and September 6, 2013.

Marketing to Women: For Emails, Timing is Everything

March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

UnknownThe timing of sending email campaigns is equally as important as the content.  There are definitely some things you should learn about your consumers and their email habits.  Different categories and businesses have distinct patterns.  It is important to look at the patterns of your emails.

Some consumer products find Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the most important time – maybe coinciding with weekend shopping trips.  B2B marketers find mid-week as the most important days because Mondays are busy and Fridays are more focused on weekends.

The hour of the day that emails are opened is important as well.  You need to think about what your consumers are doing.  Between 5 and 6 p.m., they may be stuck in traffic.  Later in the evening, they may check their emails again.

Emails have the best result within one hour of sending.  That’s when more than 23% of emails are opened.  The second hour it’s 9.52%, the third hour is 6.33% and four-hour is 4.8%.   The open rate is nearly zero 24 hours after delivery of an email.

Mobile Email Opens

Mobile_Infographic_320x245So, you know all those stats about women reaching for their smartphones first thing in the morning?   Based on an analysis of more than 150 million emails sent between August 2011 and September 2012, a TailoredMail study shows that 14% of all opens and clicks on a mobile device occurred from 6AM to 8AM. The second-biggest peak, at 12% share, occurred between 6PM and 8PM.  Not surprisingly, the third time was around lunchtime.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  We reach for our phones first thing in the morning.  We may check emails at lunch when we are away from our laptops.  And then in the evening, we are checking our phones during commutes or when we get home.

Social Media and Emails

Some 57% of marketers believe that social media will affect their email marketing, according to a MarketingSherpa survey.  Some of the things to think about are making social sharing options easy to use, allow “likes” from the body of your emails, and integration of messages across social media to encourage interaction.


Marketing to Women: Helping Women Make Their Own Health a Priority

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Guest Post by Scott Zimmerman


High-Tech Healthcare Engagement: Helping Women Make Their Own Health a Priority

Conventional wisdom tells us that women take care of everyone else before taking care of themselves, and research, including our own, supports this. You do it all—own businesses while having kids, running marathons, making family decisions, and earning degrees. And because you’re busy taking care of everyone else, you tend put your own health last.

In a study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians, 90 percent of adult women in the United States are responsible for making healthcare decisions for themselves and their family members. This includes spouses, children, and other relatives, such as parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, while you make care and treatment decisions, most of you aren’t following doctor’s orders. In fact, 81 percent of the women we surveyed in our TeleVox Healthy World study, “A Fragile Nation in Poor Health,” admitted they do not follow treatment plans as exactly prescribed by doctors.

Luckily, we live in a technological age that enables patients to communicate with doctors and nurses more frequently and with greater ease. Through mobile apps, text messaging, email, and voicemail, patients now have the opportunity to stay connected with their doctors outside of the exam room, making location and lack of time both issues of the past. Today’s digital media is advancing wellness efforts and strengthening patient engagement—all while saving time and money.

Our studies showed that women requested the highest amount of between-visit care—and when you consider that they are the primary caregivers in most homes—this makes complete sense. So it follows that, as the decision makers when it comes to healthcare, you need adequate knowledge and tools to help you achieve success in that role. One of our TeleVox Healthy World studies, “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” revealed that 84 percent of women said receiving digital communication updates from their healthcare professional, such as text messages, emails or voicemails, are as helpful, if not more helpful, than in-person conversations.

We found that when women integrate doctor-patient communication into their daily lives, they look for physicians who are attentive, receptive and accessible. You want to know that your doctor is listening. Some women reported wanting doctors to take a few more minutes to just ask them about their day—How’s the family? How’s the job? What’s new? Personalized engagement efforts go a long way. “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” found that 55 percent of women want the communication they receive from healthcare professionals to be relevant to them as an individual, with 51 percent reporting that communication received from healthcare professionals should be personalized with information that is tailored to their specific needs. Thirty-four percent of women would like all communication from their doctor to be personalized with their name, and 11 percent said that they would ignore or refuse digital healthcare communication if it is not personalized. Another 23 percent expect the communication they receive outside of the exam room to help them become or remain healthy individuals.

It’s these small, but meaningful touches doctors can do to help you make your own well-being a priority. Whether it’s through emails that provide health and fitness tips, text messages that remind you to take medication, or voicemails reminding you to schedule a yearly exam, you want doctors who genuinely care about keeping you healthy. Doctors need to remind you that it’s okay to prioritize your own healthcare.


Scott Zimmerman is a regularly-published thought leader on engaging patients via ongoing communication between office visits. He is the President of TeleVox Software, Inc, a high-tech Engagement Communications company that provides automated voice, email, SMS and web solutions that activate positive patient behaviors by applying technology to deliver a human touch. Scott spearheads TeleVox’s Healthy World initiative, a program that leverages ethnographic research to uncover, understand and interpret both patient and provider points of view with the end goal of creating a healthy world–one person at a time. 

Marketing to Women: Get a Mobile Mindset for 2013

January 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Nielsen has released a new report containing facts on how US consumers use different forms of media and devices. The information on  the top 8 activities performed on mobiles is fascinating, or at least I think so.


The top activity is texting, consuming 14.1% of our time.  Messaging (texting, email and instant messaging) compose 14.1% of our time, or one-fifth of our time on our mobile devices.  The lifeline for most of us is our texts and emails.

The second most consuming usage is social networks because we evidently all have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), so we spend a whopping 10% of our time on social networks.  Actually dialing someone up and having a conversation only consumes about 5.5% of our time.   The other usage is consumed with browsing the internet, listening to music, using maps and our camera.  The mobile usage differs from our computer usage – which is geared to a variety of other activities.  One thing is the same – we spend a lot of time on social media.  Computer usage of social media is 20.1%, versus 10% of our mobile time.

And in terms of usage, 56% of mobile users have smartphones.  Eighty-five (85) million of us use social media apps on our smartphones, compared with 164 million have access to social media from their computers.

The bottom line is that each month, consumers are spending more time with more media, across all devices, and smart marketers need to understand the role of mobile in our daily lives.  We use mobile to stay connected, to manage our schedules, and the shop.  Some 78% of us use our smartphones to find a store, 63% check prices online and 22% comment on purchases.

2013 Marketing to Women: Psychic Predictions and Prognostications!

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

21I don’t have a crystal ball for 2013.  I don’t know if Facebook will continue to grow – or if retail stores will start to shrink because of online shopping. I subscribe to the John Naisbitt philosophy that “the most reliable way to anticipate the future is to understand the present.”

But in the spirit of the season, I thought it would be fun to gather some of the best predictions in one place for your reading pleasure.  Tell me if you think they are psychic, premature or PR poop!

Inside Facebook 2013 Social Media Predictions for Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more. Some good input here.   Facebook users will continue to be disenchanted as Facebook tries to ad advertising value.  Google+ will become more business and local friendly.  Pinterest and other visual media will continue to grow with visual content.  Pinterest launched business pages and will soon open to third party developers.  Peer reviews will continue to be integrated into brand operations.

Forbes 2013 Marketing Predictions:  Content Marketing and Social Business  Great thoughts about the growing importance of content marketing.  We have to give customers valuable content that they want.  I am a big believer in the concept of brands as publishers.  The idea that a constant flow of curated information gives brand authority.

406762_10151176789435825_933945807_nHubspot 8 Insightful Marketing Predictions for 2014 and Beyond.  Hubspot correctly points out the overlap in search, social and content as SEO influencers.  It’s more than keywords.  It’s about high quality content.  And for those who think email is dead, think again.  In 2013, it will be more personalized and targeted.  Marketers will need to segment their lists and personalize content.  Marketing will be seen as more of a revenue generator.  In 2013, CMOs and senior executives will allocate more resources to creating a strong inbound engine — generating interest, traffic, leads, and conversions — to support the demand generation engine. And here’s a big one – marketing “campaigns” will decline as more marketers take advantage of the power of real-time communications to grow business. In 2013, buyers instantly engage with brands on their websites, talk back via social media like Twitter and Facebook, and follow breaking news in the markets they are interested.

Content Marketing Institute Social Media and Content Marketing Predictions for 2013.  “My prediction is that the “Content Strategist” role will become an important part of the marketing department in more than just a handful of brands. Michael Brenner,  Senior Director, Integrated Marketing and Content Strategy, SAP.  Yes, it’s about content.  And content includes more visuals – videos, pictures, creative graphics.  And as much as I like infographics, they may have reached their peak.  As Pinterist, Instagram, Slideshare and YouTube continue to grow, we have to think about visual content.
And as mobile usage soars, we need to understand how to maximize content for each type of screen.  Responsive design is really important for web sites.

Search Engine Journal B2B Marketing Predictions of 2013.  Inbound marketing becomes more important.  It’s less about push and more about providing information that your prospective customers seek out.  It’s about responsive design of websites – and shut my mouth, maybe a return to targeted direct mail to stand out from the online clutter.

Media Post 2013 Predictions from Online Ad, Marketing Experts.  The term is “opt-in push” here, allowing consumers to feel more comfortable allowing brands to recognize location, intent and preferences through devices.  Six experts weigh in here on the death of static web pages, campaign integration, integration of search with display advertising, Google dominance in search and the continuing complexities of SEO, and the death of the term “social media campaign.”

PSFK 2013 Predictions.  This is a great compilation by PSFK of thought leaders on a variety of subjects.  One of my favorites is George Parker – The Continuing Bastardization of the English Language.  He tell us that Shakespeare created 1700 words which included advertising!  And puke.  But today we use words in advertising like “artisanal pizza”; get a grip copywriters!  Shantell Martin thinks there will be more personalization with hand-drawn images.  Tom Evans of Saatchi LA thinks brands will become more focused on creating campaigns that engage the consumer based on their interests and passions—as opposed to which social network they prefer.  Yeah!

Forbes Google News Crumbles and More 2013 Media Predictions.  Ashley Harrison says 2013 will be the year that mobile consumption finally raises the bar on both advertising and publishing in the digital age.  It’s a year of change.  Mobile devices will become the #1 way to read news.  I received my final print Newsweek in the mail, and I was a little relieved that they had faced up to the change.   I made a cake from Gourmet Live, the replacement for the venerable Gourmet magazine, that re-invented itself last year.  The gap between consumer time spent and spending on mobile (10% and 1% respectively) creates a truly significant opportunity for advertisers and platforms alike. As digital publications and super blogs get smarter and begin to tap into online and mobile advertising, it will become a major revenue stream for the top players worldwide. In the past year alone, newspapers have lost $13 in print revenue for every dollar earned in digital revenue

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