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.
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.
August 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
The 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.
June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
There 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.
June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
Marketers 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.
April 18, 2016 § 1 Comment
The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
April 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Fashion house Burberry announced they are replacing a four-show season with two shows that will be more “seasonless, immediate and personal”. These fashion shows in September and February will have collections for both men and women that will be available for purchase immediately after viewing. What’s behind this trend?
A desire for immediate of purchase, the ubiquity of social media and seasonless fashion are shaping the new fashion industry.
Luxury designers like Burberry are rethinking the way they reach consumers to adapt to the world of online shopping and social media. In today’s world, the fashion headlines are daily, not seasonal, and are shaped by bloggers and celebrities, rather than magazines like Vogue. Fashion shows are increasingly seen as outdated. The daily catwalk is Instagram. And fashion is shared instantly on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. The time between the introduction of collections and the ability to purchase needs to be shortened from the old system of a six-month lag. The collections lose the momentum created during the runway show.
Diane Von Furstenberg skipped the runway completely this year. She presented her collection at a party in her offices, featuring vignettes with models wearing the clothes in real life situations.
Burberry has made a strong commitment to digital to create immediate gratification for shoppers. Burberry has made sure they are on all the social media platforms including smaller ones like Periscope and Snapchat.
Runway shows for fashion houses are live streamed. The exclusivity is gone. Kanye West’s opening of New York Fashion Week was watched by a staggering 20 million people via live stream, while London Fashion Week shows are apparently broadcast to 60 outdoor locations around the UK. Luxury retailers are not trying to emulate the fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M, but they are recognizing the desire for immediate purchase.
We live in a world where we spend time in artificially cold or warm environments thanks to air-conditioning and central heating and clear demarcations between the seasons are not as apparent. Climate change, a growing global market for high fashion, and travel makes seasonless fashion more important. When it’s winter in Britain, it’s summer in Australia.
Disruption has even hit fashion.
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
Neilsen research shows there are significant differences in how men and women think, react, shop and watch. Understanding how these differences can drive behavior can help marketers create more effective advertising and marketing campaigns. Something Super Bowl 50 advertising clearly illustrated.
A Look at the Super Bowl 50 Ads
This year many of the ads appealed directly to women featuring racing dachshunds (my favorite), Doritos shopping dogs, Super Bowl babies and Hyundai’s spots featuring first dates and distracting men. Spot Trender did interesting research comparing several spots for gender appeal.
In a head to head playoff with Hyundai and Acura, Hyundai did a better job. The Hyundai spot featuring Ryan Reynolds showed a car that didn’t get distracted like the women driving it. Women loved this spot. But a few men (13%) were offended by it, or maybe just a little jealous of Reynolds. Acura’s “What He Said” ad for the Acura NSX was all rock music, special effects and speed. It was liked less than the Hyundai ad by both genders but clearly less than females.
The Death Wish coffee spot featured Vikings in a masculine approach to advertising coffee, even using the line “fiercely caffeinated”. The spot did well with men but the Starbucks ad showing a mom making her Starbucks on a lazy weekend morning did much better with women and did well with men as well.
Contrasts in Men and Women Brains
Nielsen says that while male and female brains may look alike on the outside, there are contrasts in how men and women process information, express emotion, interact with others and ultimately approach their daily activities that involve media and shopping.
Women are hardwired for:
- Big-picture thinking
- “Gut” reasoning
- Social and verbal skills
Men are preconditioned for:
- Concrete thinking
- Goal-oriented tasks
- Logical solutions
Differences in Advertising Appeal
When looking at advertising, women under 35 like ads that are upbeat, aspirational, celebrity-focused, occasionally silly, but never mean-spirited. Women 35-54 may respond more favorably to messages that are sentimental, highlight real-life activities, family friendly and relatable. Men are looking for fast acting movement, competitive activities and often, sadly, suggestive humor.
Tying this together, we see shopping patterns emerge. Men are goal-oriented shoppers. They shop to win or complete a goal. Women are more likely to browse around and shop for deals and special offers. Research says women are more attuned to discount and promotional news than men (men 57% vs. women 62%). Women might head to a factory outlet with name brands while men might go to the department store and pay full price. A few years ago, J.C. Penney learned an expensive lesson on the importance of promotions when they eliminated sales, promotions and coupons and drove away their core audience.
Marketing should employ creative elements and styles that resonate with the way the female brain works. Emotion wins the day over logical facts every time. That doesn’t mean women don’t want information; they will seek out the information after they become interested. Women also appreciate authenticity, social consciousness, and nuance. The female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging shouldn’t focus on conflict.
“Women relate to a more aspirational approach, connecting with happy situations that feature characters who allow a woman to imagine herself in their shoes,” says the report. Men like the offbeat humor embodied by “normal guys” in exaggerated situations.
Frequency of advertising also plays into gender receptivity. Women can absorb more information in a 30-second ad than men but they are harder to convince, often only deciding to buy after multiple exposures.
February 11, 2016 § 1 Comment
We couldn’t believe it when Barbie stopped by to talk to us about her new curves. Was it Beyonce or Barbie? Oh well, her new dolls now strut four new body types and, even more skin tones and hairstyles. It seems her bosses at Mattel have been putting Barbie through a transformation in the past two years to make her more like real girls.
There has been a long-time criticism of dolls that do not portray accurate body images. Since her introduction in 1959, the Barbie doll has been at a center of debate because of her unattainable female image, seen as harmful to shaping children’s sense of ideal. Adult women still agonize over their shape and weight.
Barbie says Mattel has responded to create images of women that give girls and boys a better reflection of diversity and body types. She wants to move into a new era of body acceptance that is represented by not one but 33 different versions of Barbie – four different body types, 22 eye colors, seven different skin tones, different face shapes, and 24 hair styles. The original 11.5″ Barbie represents a woman whose figure measurements were 38-18-34.
The new debut is not solely a matter of cultural relevance. The once trendy Barbie powerhouse brand has suffered in recent years as girls have turned to other toys and electronic options. The brand has experienced double-digit declines in recent years. Yet, some 92% of American girls age 3-12 have owned a Barbie.
Children seem to understand and appreciate that the new Barbie dolls now look more like them with different types of hair and body shapes and feet that will fit into running shoes as well as runway shoes.
Mattel has been working to shape Barbie into realistic body standards including feet that are not perpetually shaped to fit into high heels.
Barbie told us the new shapes will be available for sale March 1, with some 33 new versions of the fashionista available.
Barbie says she hopes the new dolls will be a better reflection of what true beauty is. But Barbie says that even her new look is not without criticism. Some say that the doll is still focused only on appearance, fashion and stereotypical interests of women.
As I talked to Barbie, I thought about my own childhood. I never owned a Barbie doll but I did have lots of dolls, beautiful ones that did represent more normal shapes. Was my mother ahead of her time? I don’t know but I do know that self-esteem is shaped by more than a doll.