Marketing to Women: THINK Social!

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

For the few dinosaurs out there who think that social media is a passing fad, listen up!  Five years ago, only 29% of online Americans used social media.  That was when your kids didn’t want you on Facebook, remember?  Today, if you are marketing to women, you need to think social.

Now, there are 72% of us online using social media.  And women are significantly more likely to use social media, according to the new Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Tracking Survey.    Women have lead men during all five years of their tracking.   Way back in 2005, we were still talking about how men were pursuing use of the internet for intensely than women.  Well, that’s old news.

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And not only do women lead men in social media, but they are the dominant audience of most of the social sites, particularly Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

Women do the most Facebook sharing (62 percent), while more men are on LinkedIn than women (54 percent). Men also spend more time on YouTube each week than women; men are spending up to an hour each week compared to 35 minutes for women.  Google+ is also dominated by males.

Twitter has a larger percentage of women (62 percent) and, of course, Pinterest (70 percent) is dominated by women.  Nielsen actually says 84% of Pinterest users are women and it is dominated by tablet users.

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Marketing to Young Women: Is Facebook Fatigue Real?

August 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

fbfatiguefatiguelkjhbgIt was all over the news.  Facebook fatigue. Beginning in February of this year, studies and articles surfaced regarding the current state of Facebook and the apparent decline in use and overall membership. While company leaders deny its validity, the studies seem to tell a different tale.

In a study done by the Pew Research Center in February, Pew found that 61% of Facebook users who responded had taken an extended, multi-week break from Facebook in the previous year.  In the same study, researchers found that of Facebook users aged 18-29, 40% said they planned on using Facebook less in the coming year.

Why does this matter? Teen and young adult Facebook users make up an $819 billion consumer segment whose opinions are often influenced by what they see on social media.  With less of that segment on Facebook, advertisers might need to find a way to bring their ads to other increasingly popular social media outlets, causing Facebook to lose ad sales.  Overall, this could affect the way companies, people, and advertisers interact with the young adult demographic.

My favorite take on Facebook came from a Mashable Post:  I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook.  The 13-year old cites that her friends are on social media but they prefer Snapchat, Instagram and Vine.  Some of the reasons for the fail of Facebook for this generation are the number of parents online, bullying and the fact that Facebook is just trying too hard! 

Many cite the influx of older users as the cause of the deterrence, particularly the increase in use by parents and grandparents of current young users.  Similarly, people cite that Facebook has issues of privacy.  Privacy is an issue.  TRUSTe revealed that 94 percent of U.S. online adults want the ability to control who collects their personal information and tracks their activities online, not what Facebook intends.  In a 2012 Associated Press-CNBC poll, three of every five Facebook users said they had little or no faith in Facebook protecting their personal information. But more surprising, in the same report, an astonishing 51 percent of young adults consider Facebook a passing fad.

Well, Facebook is a fad with a billion users.  The truth is that social media is constantly evolving, and each generation will find its own place online.  Facebook may make changes and attract different audiences, but the truth is Facebook is probably not going the way of My Space anytime soon. There are still a billion people on Facebook and many businesses are built on it – like the youth-friendly Instagram.

But for marketers, it is important to understand the usage patterns of our target audiences and be aware of new patterns developing.  I always advise clients to spend about 10% of their budget experimenting with new media tactics.

Marketing to Moms: Four in Ten Households Have Breadwinner Moms

May 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

woman_juggling_rolesThe statistics are staggering!  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.

I have been interested in the growth of Breadwinner Wives for some time.  The 2010 Census gave us our first glimpse at the growth of this group and now Pew Research has provided us with more information on the growth of Breadwinner Moms.  Here are some of Pew’s fascinating findings:

Two different groups of Breadwinner Moms. 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.

Married mothers differ from single moms. Compared with all mothers with children under age 18, married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college educated. Single mothers, by contrast, are younger, more likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have a college degree.

• Women make up almost of half (47%) of the U.S. labor force today, and the employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011.

• More women want to work full time. The share of mothers saying their ideal situation would be to work full time increased from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012. And the share saying they would prefer not to work at all fell from 29% to 20%.

•  Mixed emotions about women working.  About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to live comfortably.

• Both groups of breadwinner mothers, married and single, have grown in size in the past five decades. Of all households with children younger than 18, the share of married mothers who out-earn their husbands has gone up from 4% in 1960 to 15% in 2011, nearly a fourfold increase. During the same period, the share of families led by a single mother has more than tripled (from 7% to 25%).

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Marketing to Millennial Moms: Parenting More Important Than Marriage

June 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

We have all been reading about the demise of marriage as more singles marry later or not at all.  Now this interesting bit of info comes from the Pew Research Center:  Millennials (18-29 year olds) value parenthood 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 the same about having a successful marriage — meaning there is a 22-percentage-point gap in the way Millennials value parenthood over marriage.  When the same question was asked of Generation X in 1997, the gap was just seven points.

As you might expect, while parenting is important, many adults don’t think that having two adults in the household is necessary for happy and successful child rearing. Currently 51% of all births to Millennials are born out of wedlock.

There is a gradual change in the behavior of different generations toward marriage.  Currently 22% of Millennials are married.  At their same age, three-in-ten Gen Xers were married, and four in ten Baby Boomers were married.

What does this mean for marketing?  Well, for one thing, marketers shouldn’t depend on the traditional nuclear family shots.  Single moms do not want to be talked down to.  And it is important to provide them with information that is relevant and helpful to their lifestyle.

Marketing to Moms: The Mancession and Laborless Labor Day

September 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

The media dubbed it The Mancession  because 82% of Americans who have lost their jobs are men, but it is women who are having to deal with it.  Households continue to be stressed by lower incomes, longer hours on the job and rising concerns about a double dip recession.

Pew Research Center reports than more than 50% of all working adults have  suffered unemployment, a pay cut or reduction in hours.  Of those, an estimated 26% (or 36 million) of the 139 million currently employed workers in the United States suffered at least one spell of unemployment during the Great Recession that began in December, 2007

Wall Street Journal has a great interactive graphic on unemployment by sector and gender that chronicles the job losses since January 2008. The sectors that have not lost jobs include healthcare, education and government.  Of course, education is seeing a boost from students and unemployed who are either staying in school or going back to school.  And women have historically been overly represented in healthcare, education and government jobs.

But women in the service industry are beginning to see the balance change.

Most of the job gains have gone to men.  All of the 71,000 job gain in private payrolls in July went to men.  A net 72,000 new jobs were held by men, while the number of jobs held by women declined by 1,000. For the year so far, private payrolls for men have expanded by 558,000 jobs; for women, they’ve increased by just 72,000.The reason for this may be the recovery in manufacturing,a more male-dominated industry, versus the lackluster growth of  the service sector where women make up a large portion of the sector.

Nervousness still abounds.  According to a Pew Study, only 38% of the re-employed say they are being paid more now than at their former job and just 28% say their current benefits are better. Most Americans feel that it will take three or more years for their families to recover.  And until that happens, Moms will still keep a tight rein in spending.  Until then, Moms who are working outside the home or not will be buying private label, using coupons, deal shopping, cutting back on expensive vacations and limiting visits to the physician.

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Marketing to Women: The Cellphone v. The Landline

August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

The original cellphone was the Motorola “Brick”.  It was the coolest thing on the planet in the 80s.  And very few people had them.  Fast forward to today, and  82% of adults use cellphones.  And that’s not counting the ten year old in your household who absolutely thinks they need one.

The unbelievable growth in mobile phones is evidenced by the fact that in the year 2000, only 53%  of adults had a cell phone compared to the 82% of adults with cellphones today.

As cellphone usage has grown, there has been a corresponding decline in the use of landlines.  According to Pew Research Center,  back in the peak year 2001 of landlines, 97% of households had a landline.  Today only 74% of homes have one.

Just ask anyone under 30.  Fewer than half (46%) of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed consider the landline phone a necessity of life, but 59% of the same group consider the cellphone a necessity.

The 24/7, full-on mobile lifestyle that we live has made a mobile phone a necessity but interestingly enough, the cellphone is valued for more than talking – it’s valued for its email, text, camera, web, entertainment and mapping features for today’s user.

So for you marketers who are stuck in the 80s style of marketing, it’s time to tap into the importance of mobile marketing.  Make sure your websites are optimized for mobile.  Take a look at mobile marketing programs.  Invest some money for experimentation.  Mobile is not going anywhere.  It is only going to continue to grow in importance with smartphones and tablets replacing laptops and landline phones.

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Marketing to Moms? Motherhood Happening Later or Not at All

July 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

American women are delaying or not having children according to studies from Pew Research Center. These are two interesting trends that Pew Research has reported in new studies out this year.

First-time Moms are older and better educated. Half of mothers surveyed in a new study on the state of motherhood said that parenthood “just happened”. What an interesting statistic! It’s something that I can relate to. My two beautiful and wonderful offspring were not planned; they just happened in the middle of my career and my thirties.   The new study released by the Pew Research Center provides some surprising new information on the Moms of Today, compared with motherhood in 1990.

The Pew study found that new mothers in the U.S. are increasingly older and better educated then they were twenty years ago.  Today, one in seven babies is born to a mother at least 35 years old.  In 2008 there were 4.3 million births in the U.S., compared with 4.2 million in 1990.  The actual number of births has risen every year from 2003 to 2007, when it seem the economy caused a baby bust.  It seems the trend towards older and better educated Moms has to do with careers, advanced education and improvements in medical and fertility care.

More women are choosing to not have a child. According to Pew Research, some one-in-five American women end their childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s.  Among women 40-44, the proportion that has never given birth is 1.9 million women, compared with nearly 580,000 in 1976.  Pew offers up that childlessness has risen in recent decades because social pressure to bear children has diminished for women and the decision to have a child is seen as a personal one.  Certainly job equality and contraceptive methods have factored into this trend.

These two trends are important for marketers.  Too many times marketers tend to portray stereotypes that do not truly identify with their audience.  For those marketing to Moms, there is no one-size- fits-all. For those portraying women in their 40s, it’s certainly must represent the differing lifestyles of women.  Women who have chosen to not have children are extremely sensitive to old social attitudes that assume not having children is about biology and not choice.

Society has changed and marketers must embrace the lifestyles of  strong, well-educated and employed women, both with children and without.

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