February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment. This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond. But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.
Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way. Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided. Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.
And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers. The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs. The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information. For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information. Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph. Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph. A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.
According to Google, “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”
The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments. Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.
This initiative is huge in Google. Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:
1. One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.
2. Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.
3. The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.
4. 35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.
5. One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.
6. 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.
The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information. Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.
December 16, 2014 § 1 Comment
There is a new study reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy identifying a rising group of charitable donors. The study finds “Millennial and Generation X women who are single and unaffiliated with a religion give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than their older, similarly secular counterparts, according to the report, which looked exclusively at unmarried donors. Their giving also doubles that of peers who have loose ties to a religion.”
For many years, it has been reported that people of faith gave more than unchurched individuals, so this report indicates that intensity of faith may not be as strong an indicator of giving as previously thought.
It seems that young single women may be bucking the trend, but there may be other factors at play as well. Young single women may represent a growing group of highly educated, high income women who have decided to defer marriage. This group of Single Indies represent some 28 million women, or one out of three adult women, who spend around $1 trillion each year. They may have more disposable income and be predisposed to charitable interests.
The report also cites that one-third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation.
Clearly, for non-profits, this group of younger women represent an opportunity for both giving and volunteer activities. Marketing should recognize and speak to this power group.
December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Shopping local is more than a trend. It is growing for several reasons. Shopping local is good for business, good for the environment and good for our desire to find one-of-a-kind, meaningful products.
Good for Business
Local shopping is not insignificant. In a world of online shopping and big box retailers, the 23 million independent stores in America account for 54 percent of sales. These independent stores provide 55 percent of jobs, and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
One study says that local business generates 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. Keeping dollars in the local economy has been the rally cry for small business. My friend Linda Berry, owner of fine linen store Bella Linea in Nashville, Tennessee, recently shared some of the facts with her customers to reinforce the importance of keeping dollars in her community. She shared statistics showing that for every $100 spent at a locally owned store, $45 remains in the local economy, compared with about $13 per $100 spent at a big box and almost zero for online shopping.
A movement around Shopping Local has begun. American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage consumers to visit small businesses in their community as part of the after Thanksgiving shopping. This year shopping local has grown double digits. A report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express – the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey – revealed that 88 million consumers “shopped small” this year, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago.
Good for Our Need for One-of-A-Kind Finds and One-of-A-Kind Experiences
Many retailers like Linda Berry also talk about the importance of meeting needs for today’s shoppers. Linda spends time traveling to find and create one-of-kind products that her customers can’t find anywhere else. Services like free designer consultation and free gift wrapping make small businesses like Bella Linea stand out among the mass marketers.
Trends like eating local and the Maker Movement also continue to provide unique goods and experiences that meet the desires of today’s consumer. The Maker Movement really captures the group of people creating individually made pieces for the home, small-batch food products, hand-knit, handmade and hand crafted items that can’t be mass produced.
Food has gone local with independent restaurants, local food purveyors, handmade food products and farmers markets proliferating. Beyond the food, food experiences have become custom as well. There are food tours, hands-on cooking lessons and small batch wine classes.
Good for the Environment
And, surprisingly, shopping local is also good for the environment. Shopping locally helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution and less fuel consumption.
So, with just a few days of the shopping season left, visit a local store and make a difference in your community.
October 6, 2014 § 3 Comments
My daughter Katie often sends me pictures of her fabulous vintage finds like a folkloric skirt from the 50s or a cocktail dress from the 60s. She is one of many milliennials regularly frequenting shops that specialize in vintage, retro and thrift clothing.
One of the shops Shareen Vintage of Los Angeles describes their vintage wonderland as the creative center of a secret society of women who love to be at the cutting edge of fashion trends. In their store, clothing is divided by decades, starting in the 1920s through the 1990s, providing a living retrospect to fashion. Another store Re-mix Classic Vintage Footwear actually started out selling vintage shoes, but when demand outpaced their stock, they began having their own 20s – 50s vintage designs manufactured for women demanding more of the vintage looks.
Millennials have embraced Thrift Style, a fashion movement that incorporates several trends with their desire to be an individual. Research by Ypulse shows that 36% of Millennials find thrift shopping cool and 56% of Millennials say that thrift shopping is a great way to find cheap and unique clothes.
Six Key Trends Shaping Millennial Shopping
1. The end of conspicuous branding and the rise of personal style. Some 55% of people between 13 and 34 say they don’t follow trends. Millennials want to stand out and prize individualism over “fitting in.” With access to global stores like Abercrombie and Fitch are having problems enticing millennials because their fashions are seen as ubiquitous and too high priced for their taste. A big logo is no longer a coveted status symbol. Finding something completely original is the goal of trendsetters today. A thrift store find is both unique and rare. Even celebrities have contributed to the vintage culture by wearing vintage couture to big events like the Oscars and Grammys.
2. Saving money is cool. There is no surprise that 60% of millennials worldwide feel personally influenced by the economic crisis. So the ability to save money and find a personl look are added bonuses of thrift shopping. Shoppers pride themselves on smart finds at great prices. In fact, because of the durability of the items, they are actually seen as an investment in higher quality goods.
3. Sustainability. There is a decided movement against the “disposable culture” of throwaway plastic bags and planned obsolescence of electronics. Shoppers don’t really care if their retail purchases are over-wrapped or put into paper or plastic for transport. They are fine with foregoing some of the traditional trappings of the retail environment. Vintage items are often seen as being constructed better and made out of high quality fabrics. And the ability to recycle things of the past helps cutdown on their personal footprint in society.
4. Nostalgia for better times. In an unconscious way, milllennials are drawn to simpler times. Those who lived during the first Strawberry Shortcake period remember it with fondness and positive memories. For those who did not experience the 50s and 60s, the vintage look recalls a time of stability and lack of stress. Here in Nashville you can buy and experience a little slice of Grand Ole Opry history by just shopping at Katy’s Western Wear.
5. Personalization and DIY. Personal style means personalization. And, influenced by programming such as Project Runway, millennials turn to online sites such as Etsy and eBay for fun finds. These shoppers and designers can express their own creativity by reworking clothes with sewing, knitting, embellishing and dying their finds. Some 22% of Millennials say they often modify, cut up or embellish their clothing.
6. Purchases with a Purpose. Thrift stores are getting a millennial makeover to appeal to young shoppers who like to shop with a purpose. The idea that the YWCA can help women, Goodwill trains disadvantaged for retail jobs or ThriftSmart actually gives their proceeds to real charities is an appealing proposition to millennials who want to make a difference in the world around them.
Retailers and marketers alike need to understand the way Millennials shop and how best to appeal to their interests.
September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Naming Gen Edge
A Guest Post by Amy Lynch
Recently demographers and gen theorists documented a clear shift–new behaviors and attitudes that signaled the start of a new generation. Technology plays a role here. For people 19 and under, social media and multi-tasking on five screens at once are the norm. In fact, many of them were read “Goodnight iPad” rather than “Goodnight Moon” at bedtime.
Now the question: what to call this new group? Names abound–Homelanders, iGen, Gen Z–but the name that sticks seems to be Gen Edge. Here’s why.
Each generation is born into a time of stability and belonging, a time of idealism and awakening, or into a period of skepticism and instability. And then (drum roll) once every 100 years or so a generation is born into a world that sees on the edge of collapse. Economically, socially, politically and technologically, things are changing so quickly that the whole era feels unpredictable, risky, edgy.
Of necessity, a generation of kids who grow up on the constant edge of change become edgy themselves. Resourceful and resilient, they find their way through minefields of uncertainty and figure out new ways of making things work.
Parenting comes into the mix as well. Today’s kids are being raised by Gen X parents who have nurtured without coddling. Unlike Millennials, Gen Edge has not been overprotected. They’ve known about adult problems, like unemployment and bills to pay, from early on. So they navigate the work with savvy beyond their years. Realists to the core, they have an edge. Gen Edge just fits.
Amy Lynch is president of Generational Edge, helping companies move beyond generational awareness to generational strategies that increase innovation, engagement and sales. She has talked with groups as diverse as MTV, Boeing, Johnson and Johnson, and the Staff of the US Senate.
August 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
I hear target audience horror stories like Nine West all the time. Sometimes it is a media target issue, sometimes it is a relevance issue and sometimes it is a creative issue. Today targeting marketing to women has a whole new meaning. We need to know a lot more about a target than their sex, age, income and favorite brands. The creative, the brand and the media all have to be in sync.
Nine West Looking to Shock?
One of the most talked about campaigns in the women’s sector is the fall advertising campaign from shoe company Nine West. Customers of the brand found it offensive and said the brand did not know them well. The campaign targets women 25-49. Okay and what else? Evidently the campaign has centered on supposedly key occasions in women’s lives – Starter Husband Hunting, the anticipated Walk of Shame, and the First Day of Kindergarten complete with four-inch heels and the Drunch – a drunken lunch. Criticism has come from those saying this campaign is not new, but rather a throwback to the 50s when all women wanted was a wedding and a child.
The marketing team said that the brand had lost its luster and they sought to bring some new life to it. And maybe they did expect to encite and enrage a bit. They were clearly not going after mainstream women, but following those who see themselves like HBO series “Girls” and Amy Schumer, the provocative stand-up comic. Did they target them? Maybe. This advertising smacks of Miley Cyrus trying to be irreverent to get a new fan base. Or American Apparel trying to be provocative to make t-shirts sexy. But the real matter is how many of their base audience did they disenfranchise.
Consumer Backlash to Nine West Campaign
“Stupid campaign 9W. Love your shoes but don’t patronize your customers by an outdated ideal,” said one Facebook user. “Women are hunting success and goals, dreams and visions. Not husbands.” This is pretty true. Millennial women of today think man-hunting is a pretty outdated notion and they value their independence. The top priorities in her life are career success and love. Oh, and love does not necessarily mean marriage.
Jen Drexler, senior vice president at the Insight Strategy Group and co-author of “What She’s Not Telling You,” found the Nine West ads problematic.“ ‘Starter husband hunting’ and ‘walk of shame’ is not the sort of thing you say out loud even to your best friend, because those are things that men say about women, not that women say about women,” Ms. Drexler said. “If you really liked women, you’d be calling that a ‘victory lap,’ not a ‘walk of shame.’ ”
Jimmie John’s had a moment of lapse when they aired a spot in the Super Bowl that shows a man coming home to his wife who is doing the laundry. Whoa! Did they forget that 74% of women work and many of them are their customers? SodaStream took heat for their spot with Scarlett Johansson which broke several rules – mentioning Coke and Pepsi and objectifying a woman as a way to sell the soda maker.
Huggies had their miss when they showed Dads being inattentive to babies with full diapers because, hey, Huggies can handle anything. They certainly where in tune with the importance of shared responsibilities for children today, but they didn’t catch the nuance that Dads were portrayed as inattentive and non-caring. Stay-at-home dads were irate and created a petition “We’re Dads, Huggies, Not Dummies”.
An advertising friend called me this week and was telling me another story about targeting. Campaigns for a luxury car didn’t move the needle until they took into account the aspirational buyer. Their media tracking was able to notice this aspiring buyer. By offering a lease package for these aspirational buyers, sales accelerated nicely.
So what is the lesson here? Certainly brands must hit the right segment of their target audience and clearly they must trigger the emotion that the product or service has for the buyer.
1. Look at your target beyond demographics. What are the psychographics of the buyer? Why are the self-expressive benefits of your brand? How does the product make them feel? What are their values? Two moms can be vastly different. One can value organic food, yoga and do her own composting, while another can be a price/convenience shopper, with their mobile phone dialed to take-out and restaurants that take coupons. Find out their tangential interests – what do they pin to Pinterest, follow on Twitter or share on Facebook?
2. Talk to your consumers. Shocking thought. Today we can do that in a variety of ways. We can conduct online or in-person focus groups. We can turn to social media to see what they are saying and we can use social to have conversations to better understand how to be relevant to them. We often construct customer journeys to see how a brand fits into a consumers day and life. Recently some research we did on furniture purchase turned up an interesting fact about a huge national retailer. The consumers were not in love with the brand; it was just an easy alternative to working with a designer for the less important rooms in their home. Everything worked together and could be purchased and delivered quicker than designer fare.
3. Understand the problem your brand will solve for the consumer. I doubt Nine West had research that said they wanted special shoes for a “Walk of Shame”. Need states and occasions have long been part of marketing but truly understanding the underlying reason for the product is essential to creating relevant advertising. If you are advertising cars, some may be eco-friendly and interested in gas mileage while others are seeking safety for their family, or technology to suit their geekiness.
Oh, by the way, Nine West is sticking to their campaign. So let’s see how it works out for them and see what they do next year!