More than Half of Women Are Now Primary Breadwinners

January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

New news. It used to be that 40% of women in married households were the primary breadwinner. Now, more than half of American women are the primary breadwinners in their households and many of them are worried about financial matters. Results from the Center for American Progress show that 63% of mothers were primary, sole or co-breadwinners for their families. Sounds like good news?  Well, not so quick.

Sounds like good news? Well not so quick. The fact that women are bringing home a significant portion of their families’ incomes does not mean that there is gender parity in the workforce, nor does it mean that working parents and caregivers have the supports they need. Issues such as the gender wage gap and lack of policies such as universal paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and workplace flexibility still hold women back from reaching their full economic potential.

Families in the United States look different than they did a generation or two ago. Married couples today are less likely to have children than they were in the past, and single-parent households are also much more common. In 1974, a married couple headed 84% of all families with children, while in 2015, only about two-thirds, or 65.5%, of families with children were headed by a married couple. And from 1974 to 2015, the rate of families with children headed by a single mother nearly doubled—from 14.6% to 26.4%—while the rate of single fatherhood quadrupled from 1.4% to 8.1%.

Gift Giving Benefits Retailers Two Times

May 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

Gift giving is an important part of retail sales.  It also represents an emotional bond made between the giver and the recipient.  Retailers should recognize the dual rewards in growing their gifting business because you are touching two targeted consumers at the same time – the purchaser and the recipient.  Gift giving strategy can provide exponential results for marketers if done correctly.

Unity Marketing estimates that $1 out every $10 spent in the typical retail store, (general merchandise, apparel, furnishings and others) is spent to buy a gift. Gifts represent approximately $128 billion in spending in 2017.  Consumers are typically buying a gift every one to two months.

So what’s behind the science of giving?  The act of gifting is typically meant to communicate feelings for and with another, fostering stronger social relationships.  New research by the Wharton School looked at what type of gifts build deeper personal relationships, a material gift or an experiential gift.

Experiential gifts win over material gifts

Despite gift givers’ tendencies to give material possessions, material gifts do less to foster meaningful relationships between gift givers and gift recipients. The researchers report, “Experiential gifts, in contrast, make recipients feel closer to the person who gave them the gift, regardless of whether the experience is consumed together with the gift giver. Experiential gifts have this effect because of the emotion they evoke when consumed, particularly when the emotion is shared.”

“Our findings demonstrate that giving experiential gifts is more effective at fostering closer relationships, and therefore implies that gift givers should feel happier as a result of giving an experiential gift compared to a material gift,”

What are experiential gifts?  An experience could be providing services like a meal, spa outing, horseback riding, or vacation.  But don’t dismay – material gifts can offer experiential aspects – candles, music, books, toys, food and drink items and even things that are nice to the touch – a furry throw, a cashmere pillow or silk pajamas.

Even the actual event of purchasing the gift can be experiential in a story setting or online by telling a story, allowing for touch and feel, and conjuring up warm feelings.

 

What Marketers Need to Do About Facebook’s New Changes

January 29, 2018 § Leave a comment

(AP Photo/Manu Fernadez)

Facebook announced significant changes to its news feed algorithm in an effort to prioritize “meaningful” person-to-person interactions among friends and family over posts from Facebook pages. These updates will make it harder for pages to be seen in news feeds. Translation:  Organic reach will drop.

How low is it already? Currently Digiday reports organic reach for Facebook pages with fewer than 10,000 fans has hovered around 10 percent for some time.  That means that for every 700 people who liked a business page, for example, roughly 70 people would see a post in their news feeds organically without the company having to pay for the post to appear. The latest change drags that reach down to virtually zero, bringing it more in line with what larger brands have contended with for years.

So what are marketers to do?  Here are some suggestions from my Women in Digital peers, media experts and even Facebook.

Advertise.  Of course.  Currently only about 4% of businesses on Facebook advertise. That’s pretty shocking, isn’t it?  But Facebook is still currently a low cost alternative to other forms of advertising.  Use Facebook advertising for awareness and promotions.

Get users to mark you as ‘see first’.  Okay, this is a bit of a stretch and a type of double opt-in but if you can get users to do it, it will help your content appear in their news feed.  Ask your users to choose See First in their news feed preferences to make sure they will see your posts.
Create better content that invokes engagement.  Facebook’s change effectively means that posts that receive more comments carry more weight than ever, reducing likes and shares to vanity metrics.  So the quality of content and ways to create conversation become important.  When explaining these changes, Social Media Examiner asked for people to comment on their post so more people would see it.  And it seems that long comments are more important than a short comment.
Use Facebook Live more.  Videos usually elicit comments, so creating weekly Facebook Live events will help.  Facebook said Live videos are totaling six times the interactions of non-Live videos. Episodic videos will help as well.  Think storytelling for your brand.
Set up a Group.  Facebook groups usually inspire lots of meaningful content.  Is there a way to create a group around your product?
Start using Instagram more, and/or use influencers.  For the present, Instagram and influencers may offer an assist for brands.  Influencers are not currently penalized as businesses and may be a window of opportunity.  It’s time to experiment with other social sites.
“I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” Mark Zuckerberg said in his post about the changes. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

 

 

Self Purchasing Women is Growing Consumer Segment

September 30, 2017 § Leave a comment

Beyonce’ may have had a hit with Put a Ring on It but there is a growing consumer trend among young adults who are not married, not living with a partner and are without children. These women are “single indies” and they are an emerging consumer segment buying their own rings – and everything else.

There are some 31 million “Indie Women” constituting about a third of all adult women; they tend to have more disposable income than other women, spending $1 trillion each year — $22 billion on vehicles (five times more than independent men), $20 billion on entertainment, and $50 billion on food; they over-index for television by 12%, watching 15% to 64% more late night programs than average women; and they are multi-screen users.

They are also more socially engaged online both as info seekers and as advocates, being 6% more likely to pay attention to online consumer ratings and reviews, and 12% more likely to say their friends ask them for health and nutrition advice. And they are 10% more likely to say they are pretty much first among friends to shop at a new store.

And they are successful, being the first generation of women to reverse the ceiling in school and at work. They are 57% of undergrads, 59% of masters degree holders, and 52% of managerial positions.  The appeal of this market is beginning to grow among brands seeking to reach the younger audience.

2014 was the first year there were more single American adults than married ones in the U.S.

One of the interesting purchase trends is jewelry. A study on jewelry purchases by the market research firm Mintel, conducted in 2012, showed that more than half of the women who bought for themselves did so simply to treat themselves.  Occasions for women buying jewelry for themselves include marking an important life event such as birthday, career success or certain occasion, a bonding experience with someone like a friend or child, or anniversaries like surviving cancer.

And back to Beyonce’ — it seems that women are really buying diamonds for themselves instead of waiting on a groom. The disposable household income of the independent women buying diamonds is more than $90,000.

The idea of “Treat Yo’ Self” was born out of a 2011 Parks and Recreation episode in which Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Donna Meagle (Retta) spend a day celebrating themselves by buying stuff like “clothes, fragrances, massages, mimosas, and fine leather goods.” When it aired, the “treat yo’ self” catchphrase immediately became part of millennials’ vocabulary.  So now advertisers have used the phrase to connect with this self-purchase trend.

Marketers are developing new approaches and new language for self-purchasing women, trying to appeal to them.

Marketers, Who You Gonna Call? Women “Ghostbusters”

August 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

ghostbusters-2016-cast-proton-packs-images-1200x601The new “Ghostbusters” opened this summer to rave reviews and high attendance.  It deserves a round of applause for its boldness and all-star female cast including (left to right at top) Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones.

It’s a little overdue for the new trend to put women in the lead roles in movies.  Because – women bought 50% of all movie tickets in the U.S. last year according to the MPAA.   National CineMedia (NCM) reports the Millennial women 18-34 movie audience jumped 61% from 2013 to 2016, while women 18-49 also increased by 42%. Also, NCM’s ratings for women 18-34 jumped from 6.2 to 9.2 against the top 15 television networks. That’s a 48% surge in ratings growth since 2014 — with significant increases year over year.

Much of this growth is due to the success of movies like “Bridesmaids”, “The Help”, “Hunger Games” and “Star Wars”.  The first “Hunger Games” movie blew the doors off the box office, bringing in $408MM+. The following year, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was  breaking records and finding itself atop the heap as the No. 1 film of the year ($424MM+).  Last year, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” introduced a new female hero in Rey (Daisy Ridley), while giving homage to General Leia Organa (formerly Princess Leia) as both a leader and a mother. Broadening the movie’s box office appeal by having such a strong draw for multiple generations of women — and providing role models for young girls — was certainly a factor in its huge success.  “Star Wars:  The Force Awakens” is now the high-grossing movie of all time, with over $936MM+ in domestic box office alone.  Even if Disney left female actions figures out of the line-up until social media highlighted the omission.

Once again, women are leading the way in consumer purchases from everything from household items to entertainment.  Hollywood seems to have embraced the power of strong women characters in movies.

So what’s next?  Rebecca Eldridge from NCM gives us a little preview:  “In 2017, look out for a highly-anticipated live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the comedy “Mother/Daughter” starring Amy Schumer (possibly joined by Goldie Hawn in her first movie since 2002), “Fast 8” featuring Charlize Theron making waves as the sole villain, and more. And looking even farther ahead, there are all-female versions of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “21 Jump Street” in the works, a remake of the cult favorite “Road House” with Ronda Rousey in the role made iconic by Patrick Swayze, and a girl-power spinoff of “Suicide Squad” featuring many of the female heroes and villains of DC Comics.”

Marketers, now is a great time to look to cinema advertising to meet your consumer where they play – at the movies.

 

Women and their Love-Hate Relationship with Brands

July 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

635948590805299733-1825250646_e451f-love-over-hate1New Research Study Will Be Revealed at Red Letter Day.  Here’s a Preview.

Women have always had an ambiguous relationship with brands. Why? Women expect things that brands don’t deliver.

In at time, where marketers wax poetic about brand love, we are on a mission to find out what separates the famous love couple. Well, as they say, it’s complicated.

Brand Wise and Lipstick Economy just completed a study of 3,390 women representing the three most active buyer generations – Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. We wanted to find out why 90% of women think brands don’t understand them.

And the results are fascinating. Women actually like to get information from brands. Only 13% of women are really annoyed at brands that are on social media. And more than 90% of women sign up for emails from brands.

Maybe women see shopping as part of their role in life. Women currently make 85% of all consumer purchases and they are the primary shopper for a myriad of expected categories like food and clothing. But women are the primary shopper of most categories, including 79% of healthcare decisions, 76% of travel and vacation decisions, 72% of housing decisions, 70% of restaurant decisions, 67% of financial decisions, and 53% of automotive decisions.

Our research shows that the biggest gap in this brand relationship tends to be over chronic issues: truth and accuracy, customer service, a realistic view of women, respect for women’s intelligence and an understanding of the multi-faceted lives women lead today.

I know this reads like a romance novel. The issues around trust run deep. Women expect deals, promotions, ideas and authenticity. So they seek out advice from their own experiences, friends and families and even online reviews.

To learn more about this research study and more ways that brands are hitting the market with women, sign up here for the Red Letter Day Marketing to Women Event, August 5 at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

The End of Shrink It and Pink It

June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

gendermarketingpinkstuffThere was a time when brands would slap an overly obvious pink color on something they intended for women. Think power tools, football jerseys, ballpoint pins, razors. Oh, wait. It is still happening, although not as often as before.  Washington Post had a great article on the subject.

Bridgette Brennan, author of Why She Buys, says “Pink is not a strategy, unless you’re raising money for breast cancer research.”

It’s not that women don’t want products targeted to them. But in today’s world, women don’t want stereotypes. It’s a much more subtle type of targeting, like recognizing that women drink beer like Amy Schumer in Bud Light spots. They want a more representative view of society today.

And they don’t expect to see women in all the ads targeted to them. Moms like to see a Dad who likes his kids and is involved in their lives. Like those great Cheerios ads or a Dad who gets excited about a Swiffer.

Cultural stereotypes take time to change, but we are beginning to see a little more representation.

New Research on Women’s Love-Hate Relationship with Brands

June 21, 2016 § 4 Comments

Love Hate We love learning new facts about marketing to women like 90% of women don’t think brands understand them. So we decided to find our own facts on how women interact with brands and learn about that crazy love-hate relationship women have with brands.

Our new Lipstick Economy Love-Hate Brand Study looks at 3500 women’s attitudes towards media, brand interaction and purchase influences. We asked about trusted sources of information, average number of social media contacts by network, how they receive brand information and what is important for brands to communicate. We also looked at why women will sign up for email, like a brand on Facebook, follow on Twitter or opt in-to receive text messages.

We thought we would tease you with a few of the interesting insights that will be part of the full research shared at Red Letter Day on August 5.

  • 94% of women receive information about brands through emails, while only 5% receive brand information through Snapchat.
  • Emails, online reviews and Facebook posts from friends are the top media influences when making purchase decisions.
  • Only 12.5% find brands on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram annoying.
  • 76% of women are the primary decision maker for healthcare in their household.
  • Only 1.5% admit that celebrity endorsements are trusted sources when making a purchase.

A Special Marketing to Women Event in Nashville

June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

16-JAM-2631-Red-Letter-Day--WEB-M1Marketers tell us they desire more relevant information on marketing to women today. So we decided to devote August 5 to a one-day event around the new narratives about marketing to women. We call it Red Letter Day because the important days on the calendar are always marked in red!

By the way, women control 85% of all consumer purchases yet 90% of women think that marketers do not understand them. And some 80% of all new products fail.   Think there is a correlation there?

Red Letter Day will host amazing speakers, provide great information and allow time for sharing insights.  Our new 2016 Lipstick Economy Love Hate Brand Study will provide insights on media, brand interaction and purchase influences.

Yes, men are welcome. This is not a women’s empowerment event. This is a marketing event for those who are charged with marketing to women or communicating with women. Those who will benefit are individuals in marketing roles, brand managers, business owners, entrepreneurs and those charged with internal or B2B communications to women.

We wanted this day to be special with new insights from some great marketers to women. We will be talking about practical solutions for communicating with busy women and understand what convenience really means. We will hear brand stories from vital and relevant brands reaching women in interesting ways. We will learn more about having authentic and meaningful conversations with consumers. And we will learn from some new research on women and why they feel misunderstood.

Two Days of Information in One Day! You don’t like long presentations and neither do we, so we will have great Ted-like presentations from our speakers with time for real conversation and interaction.

For more information on the event and a special discount for early registration, click here.

Mall Shopping No Longer Cool

April 18, 2016 § 1 Comment

1110_macys-nyc_650x4551The mall is no longer the cultural center of consumerism.  The crown jewels of mall shopping like Macy’s, J Crew and Sears are suffering.  Some predict 15% of malls will fail or be converted into non-retail space within the next ten years. In 2015 major retailers saw sales move away from brick and mortar stores while online giant Amazon increased sales 97%.

There are many reasons contributing to this decline but most importantly, there is a new savvy shopper out there who wants or needs new experiences.

  1. The mall as a hangout or destination is no longer necessary. Young people used to go to the mall to see and be seen. Today, social media, text messages and video chats replace some of that social activity. Movies can be downloaded. And goods are accessible online. So, the number of retail visits continues to fall. Time saving is paramount for many.
  1. The middle class shopper has moved on. Only upscale shopping centers are surviving. The affluent are keeping luxury brands in business, but middle class shoppers have left semi-luxury brands in favor of cheaper alternatives. The middle class shopper is less financially able to shop malls. Upscale malls in “super zip codes” are doing well, but the middle class mall is suffering. Middle class shoppers are seeking out dollar stores and stand alone retailers like Walmart and T. J. Maxx.
  1. Savvy shoppers are in control. Educated shoppers know where to get the best deal. Shopping decisions start online with price comparison. Some 87% of smartphone and tablet owners use a mobile device for shopping activities according to a Nielsen report. While 59% said online shopping was actually their favorite way to shop, many still prefer going to a store after checking prices online. Purchases are moving online, particularly with the prevalence of free shipping at many online retailers. Purchases are going to mega sellers like Amazon, department store online shops, boutiques, designer sites and buying clubs like Gilt and RueLaLa. With this type of price scrutiny, retailers have moved to heavy promotional selling.
  1. Fashion is moving to more year-round clothing. Traditional seasonal shopping has been replaced by just-in-time shopping to more closely follow current weather patterns. Year-round shopping and the prevalence of discount fashion like H&M has changed patterns and total expenditures.
  1. The retailer options have continued to grow. Premium outlet centers has replaced the mall for many bargain seekers and sales continue to grow. But discounting by major retailers and the continued growth of online shopping may make outlet centers less attractive for savvy shoppers in the future.

 

 

 

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