When marketing to women it’s important to understand their influence when it comes to decision-making. Today is International Women’s Day, so we’re taking time to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments women have made around the world.
2011 marked a huge step forward for women professionally. For the first time in history women hold more than 1 of 10 board seats internationally. This may sound like a small number, but it was less than a century ago that women didn’t even have the right to vote. What does this mean for marketers? Now, not only are women a powerful audience to target for purchase decisions in the home, but they are becoming a growing target as business decision-makers as well. Also, women are now in the position to overtake men in the American workforce. With statistics like these it’s only a matter of time until women hold even more of the boardroom influence.
Personally, I’m proud to work in an era that offers opportunities for women to thrive and grow in our careers. And remember, next time you're working on a new campaign or business pitch to keep the female perspective in mind, as there may be a woman sitting on the Board of Directors.
We’ve all seen the little square that holds the +1 at the bottom of web sites, blog posts and more, but it’s harder to see what it can mean for marketers.
Once you +1 something, it takes a place on your Google+ page under your +1’s. Google describes these as “things around the web you like, agree with, or want to recommend to others.” And now with Google’s new Search Your World, when you search, Google shows you links that are relevant to you according to what you’ve put on your Google+ profile. The same works for your friends, family and acquaintances. If your mom (assuming your mom is hip enough to be on Google+) searches a topic that you’ve +1ed, your saved link will show up first on her search. Google does this because content suggested by friends and family is more relevant than content from strangers.
So why should you add yet another social media button to your site? Well, according to many, like Mashable,+1 buttons can increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) indirectly. Your site will now show up in every +1er’s Google search and will be visible on all of their Google+ friends’ searches. More people seeing your link means more people will view, share and +1 your link. Google will then highlight how many people have +1ed the link – showcasing your relevancy.
All of this +1ing and sharing means a higher SEO for you and your web site. Although the SEO benefits of the +1 button are indirect, it still provides a fresh new way to generate views and show the significance of your work.
What do you think – will people eventually +1 more than they Like? Will you add this new social media tool to your internet efforts?
Yesterday was Leap Day, but it will always be remembered as a revolutionary day in the world of social media. Facebook took a huge leap forward with the inaugural Facebook Marketing Conference. The six-hour, invitation-only event packed the American Museum of Natural History in New York, marking a day in history of its own. If you didn’t happen to make the conference, or your invitation somehow got lost in the mail, never fear. Here’s a recap of what you missed:
Applications – These will now appear as rich applications just below and to the right of the cover photo. These applications will engage customers and encourage them to click more often. Starbucks has also been in beta for Timeline and has made great use of the new apps feature.
Pinned Posts, Starred Posts, Backdated Posts – You can “pin” posts (like Red Bull) that you’d like to feature as a “post of the week”. These will stay at the top of your timeline, appearing as the most recent post.
New Ads for Brand Pages:
Have you heard of the “lipstick index?” This is a term created by Leonard Lauder during the 2001 recession. As the economy went down, Lauder posed, the sale of little, cheering luxuries like lipstick went up.
But in our current economic downturn, the news is all about nail polish. According to Time magazine, lipsticks sales are only up 14 percent this year, but the sale of nail polish has risen 54%.
This might simply be a fashion trend. Or it might be because nail polish is cheaper than lipstick. (In other words, even lipstick is too rich for our blood these days.)
But here’s a positive spin on the news: I think good nail care is a boon for women. At Brogan & Partners, we even bring in a manicurist once a week to give our employees some free pampering and—if they want it—polish.
This is a perk, yes, but I also think it’s a sound business decision.
I know that sounds a little bizarre, but hear me out.
When you think about it, your hands are one of the first impressions you make in a business meeting. You thrust out your hand and shake. And while men might focus on their grip, women think about their grooming. Manicured hands—with neatly shaped nails and no ragged cuticles—show that you’re put together. You’re conscientious, even meticulous. You’re on top of the little details. And you’ve got style!
All that conveys, and inspires, confidence. And this is no small thing in the business of marketing. After all, we’re not just marketing products and ideas. We’re marketing ourselves.
Not that polish is all about putting on a show. It gives the wearer a lift, too. How many times a day do you glance in the mirror? Maybe three or five?
But your hands are always in your sightline. When I type, gesture, or drive, it gives me a little lift to see a flash of color and shine. Does it boost my confidence? Who can say? I’ve been a diehard nail-painter since the age of eleven. I barely know myself without a coat or three of lacquer on my nails.
I do know that when I was going through my breast cancer treatment, I was appalled when I heard I might have to take off my nail polish for surgery. In her amazing memoir, Geralyn Lucas wrote why she wore lipstick to her mastectomy. I didn’t care much about lipstick when I went for mine, but my polished nails felt like the utmost symbol of my dignity. (And yes, I got to keep my mani.)
Nails might seem like a frivolous detail, but I think they’ve got some significance—in life or at work. So, even though it’s a sign of bad economic times, I’m kind of glad women are finding a pick-me-up in nail polish these days. In my book, it’s one of the better boosters out there.
“Invest in yourself first.” While I’ve always know this to be great advice on retirement planning and savings, I’ve recently found myself using it to talk to clients about everything from brand building to new product launches.
So it was a great coincidence when a friend shared David Warschawski’s January 26, 2012 blog post about internal marketing programs as a path to success in the new year. I think we as marketers often forget that while a brand is the public face of a company or a product, it is the group of people behind the brand that can make or break your initiatives.
Brands should constantly communicate with employees. From the mundane (status meeting on Monday), to the revolutionary (new social media policy implemented) and especially to the inspirational (your hard work has lead to a 20% increase in sales) – the employees that create a product and inspire the brand must be the first to know.
What’s the point of all this? Before investing thousands upon thousands of dollars campaigning to external masses who may or may not have an interest in your message, why not campaign to the internal masses who DO have a stake in your success. Invest in yourself first – in your assets. Your employees. Then let them be the megaphones that that push your message forward.
Got an iconic internal campaign to brag about? Let us know!
Madonna revived her 90's hit VOGUE at the SuperBowl half-time show last night. Prompting Bogan & Partners to revive BOGUE, our award-winning anti-smoking commercial for the Michigan Department of Public Health. Our client debuted it shortly after the release of VOGUE and we think it has held up as well as Madonna.
Media for women.
This is a term that makes some people shudder, picturing a pink ghetto where pundits ponder vapid topics like hemline heights and dating etiquette. But others see women’s media as I do—a useful way to reach an audience with a particular point of view.
A new political blog from the Washington Post called She The People does a particularly good job of it, I think. The bloggers (all female) aren’t content to just search the news tickers for sound bites about Hillary Clinton and Michelle Bachman. On a recent day, there were posts about Newt Gingrich’s latest gaffe and a diet book protest in front of the British parliament.
These weren’t “women’s” stories, per se, but they were told with an eye and ear for the way women read the news. We’re looking for nuance, context, and a perspective that includes ourselves and minorities. She The People has all that, in my opinion. And so does Slate’s equally smart blog, XXfactor.
Not everyone agrees with me. Feminist blogger Jessica Valenti doesn’t want female or minority offshoots of general publications. She’d rather see more female leaders and reporters working for the pubs’ main sections.
To that I say—our society is segmented whether you like it or not. And it’s not just divided along gender, race, or class lines anymore. Dream up any and every subculture, and you can find it on the internet.
Trying to wade through all of that to find news that’s relevant to you can be daunting. Readers need curators. And that’s where blogs like She The People (whose motto is “The world as women see it”) come in.
Of course, marketers benefit from niche publications. But readers do, too.
That’s why I’ll be browsing She The People for political news this election year. I just like it. I like the bloggers’ savvy tone and I like the smart (but readable!) content choices.
I even like the part of She The People that Valenti hates most—that slash of red lipstick in the logo. Rather than offensive, I think the lipstick is bold and powerful. Like a pair of bright red lips, this blog owns its femininity—in a big way.
What do you think of niche blogs like She The People and XXfactor? Are you reading or rejecting them?
I was pleased to hear that Lego recently launched a new line for girls called Lego Friends. My two sons love Legos (love might actually be too weak a word for their Lego obsession) and as a parent, I like them, too. The stackable bricks encourage creativity, concentration, and even math skills.
You’d think it would be a no-brainer to build on the brand that parents love to love (except for those moments when you gouge your bare foot on a Lego piece left on the floor). But apparently, creating and marketing Legos for girls is very, very hard. A Friends cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek even included a “Lego Girl Graveyard” with a sizeable line-up of failed past attempts to reach the pink side of the playground.
Friends, Lego has vowed, will be different. The company fine-tuned the line so exhaustively, its market researchers have been compared to cultural anthropologists.
So, I checked out the Lego Friends marketing with eager curiosity and high expectations. When I clicked to the website, I was . . . a little perplexed. Lego Friends is character-driven because pretend play is just as important to girls as building with bricks. The plastic figures have names, personalities and interests and they look more detailed and pretty than the famous, boxy Lego minifigure. They also look quite young—just like the 7 or 8-year-old girls in the Lego Friends commercials.
So why are the animated characters on the website so adolescent? They have shapely, figures, sculpted cheekbones, and the wide, almond-shaped cat eyes do not happen without the help of mascara. They do a lot of giggling and hugging. They’re not yet Barbies, but they’re definitely sexier than their plastic counterparts.
I bet little girls love these cartoons. But as a mom—you know, the one who’s going to be viewing the website and buying the products?—I’m a little turned off. I accept that Lego made many of the Friends sets a little stereotypical, from the beauty salon to the fashion design studio. That’s what girls ask for in focus groups. (They obviously don’t know how cool women-led ad agencies are.)
I’ll even tolerate the fact that the building aspect of Lego Friends looks less intricate than that of many “boys’” Lego sets.
But when it comes to marketing, we all know grown women are the target. And I think Lego misfired with this website. That’s a shame, because the sweet, age-appropriate Lego figurines are a welcome change for those of us who are Barbied, Bratzed and Disney Princessed out.
I’ll be interested to see if women look past the mixed message of the Lego Friends website and buy the sets for their young daughters.
What do you think of the new Lego Friends line and its marketing?
There are many reasons to love Facebook. I think I’ve just found another.
Here’s what I mean. Check out the Olay website. It’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it? All glamorous black shadowing, glossy red accents, dramatic splash effects and seasonal sparkles.
Now take a look at Olay’s Facebook page, specifically its “Defuzz in Defember” campaign.
Here you have a fresh-faced model wearing a phantom mustache. She’s advertising the company’s charitable campaign for December: buy Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo, and Olay will donate a dollar to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (and give you a $3 discount, to boot).
To spread the word about defuzzing for a cause, you can add a pink mustache to your Facebook picture. And you know me, I can’t resist any opportunity to advocate for breast cancer research. Check out my cute ’stache here.
A glamour shot it’s not. What it is is a cute, lighthearted way to raise money for a great cause.
A fun stunt like this might not make it into an expensive ad campaign, but on Facebook, a company can be creative and cheeky. It’s the perfect counterpart to an every-pixel-perfect TV spot or print ad.
In other words, with the dual platform of advertising and Facebook pages, a company can have its glamour and its goofiness, too. And since we know women are a complicated target audience, that multi-prong approach can only be a good thing.
What do you think of the Defuzz in Defember campaign? Have you seen any other creative campaigns lately on Facebook or other social networks?
A week ago, we all sat down to groaning Thanksgiving feasts. Then it was on to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. I even found a site, moderntribe.com that invented Shop Jewish Sunday. It all culminated in the Visine-inducing Cyber Monday.
Now many of us, awash in beribboned packages, have a consumer hangover. That’s why the newspaper ad I spotted the other day came at the perfect time.
The ad urges us to “redefine Christmas” by giving to charities instead of giving stuff. I think that’s a great message. While sometimes a material gift is just the thing for a holiday or occasion, whenever I see a “no gifts” note on an invitation, I happily make a donation to my favorite charity—the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure--instead.
But what if you don’t have an automatic go-to charity.
That’s where social media comes in.
With a quick Google, I found some excellent charity clearinghouses, including:
- Just Give, which created the Redefine Christmas ad.
- Charity Navigator with lots of great functions including a complete rating on charities.
- Network for Good offers charity gift cards.
- Charity Watch helps you check out organizations and insure that your online donation is safe.
Crowdrise, one of my personal favorites, just offered a 48 hour promotion where 1 out of every 3 donations were free. This allowed users of crowdrise an opportunity to give their favority charity a donation and get the money right back.
And if these sprawling databases are too much for you? Check out your friend's Facebook pages for their favorite charities. That’s how I found out about Kiva through which one can make microloans to business owners in need, as well as Heifer International which gives families in developing nations livestock and training to improve their health and finances.
Or go to a favorite business’s website. Subaru, for instance, is “Sharing the Love” through the holiday season by donating $250 to one of five charities for every new car sold.
Online networks are a great way to find cool stuff to buy. But they’re also the perfect medium for giving back. To me, that’s the essence of what social media is all about.