Thursday, March 31, 2011

Advertising To Women/Moms -- A Brief History (from Engage:Moms, Media Post Publications)

By Mary Kay Modaffari
With March being Women's History Month, sharing a retrospective on how advertising to women has evolved through the years seemed appropriate. I think it's safe to say that the launch of Ladies Home Journal in 1883 by Cyrus H.K. Curtis, with his wife Louisa as editor, was a major milestone in the practice of creating advertising specifically targeting women.
Advertising in general has changed dramatically through the years as new vehicles have been introduced and marketers continuously search for innovative ways to engage their target consumers. But, when it comes to advertising to women, especially during the past 50 years, we'll just say, "You've come a long way, baby."
A Brief History
As women have made enormous strides in education and career achievements, their buying power has skyrocketed and what they want from the brand they purchase has changed dramatically. In the 1950s and 1960s, when only 35% of women were in the workforce and a common aspiration among young women was to get married and raise a family, ads concentrated on painting the picture of the happy homemaker (think June Cleaver). Messaging focused on how the advertiser's products and services could help her keep a nicer house or get her family's clothes cleaner or prepare a better meal.
But, as the women's liberation movement took hold in the early 1970s and more women started to pursue careers, we started to see sexier, more confident women on television and in advertising. Remember how Mary Tyler Moore went from Laura Petrie to Mary Richards in less than a decade? Younger Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may remember from their childhoods the Charlie girl or the superwoman portrayed in the classic 1980 Enjolie fragrance commercial with the cheesy jingle, "Cause I'm a Woman." You may even recall the campaign tagline, "The 8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman." Women wanted to do it all and do it all well. Clair Huxtable, for example, was a wife, mother and high-powered attorney with no sign of a housekeeper.
Then, Gen Xers started running out of steam in the late 1990s and early 2000s from trying to keep up with it all and, after Gen Yers and Millennials watched their mothers struggle to keep it altogether with demanding careers and families, women started to rebel. They lost interest in achieving the mythical Supermom status. While we still feel a great responsibility to take care of our families, we don't obsess over whipping up the perfect meal after a long day at the office. Even women who drop out of the workforce to stay home with their children are embracing the idea of being more laid back, relatable moms. Think Deborah Barrone, or better yet, Patricia Heaton's current character, Frankie Heck on "The Middle."
You don't have to look far today to find campaigns portraying more laid-back moms with less-than-perfect families. The popular Toyota Swagger Wagon campaign is a highly entertaining parody taking on the impossible-to-achieve notion of the perfect parent. And, I personally like the Windows 7 "To the Cloud" spot featuring a woman using modern technology to get the perfect family photo that ends with the line, "Windows gives me the family nature never could."
Marketing to Women Today
Based on work we're doing with our own clients, here are some things to remember when marketing to women (specifically "Moms") today:
  • Women want us to acknowledge that they are more than just moms. They want us to recognize that they have a sense of identity beyond their domestic roles and interests outside their homes, including careers, friends, clubs and other activities.
  • Even as the role has changed through the years, one thing has remained constant: Women with children still handle the bulk of household and childcare responsibilities, whether or not they are working full-time, staying at home or something in between.
  • Today's women have accepted the notion of life being a series of trade-offs. They know they can't be good at everything all of the time, so they do the best they can in each situation. They want brands that make it easy for them to delegate.
  • Making family connections is still most important to women. Help them find ways to spend more time with their families, and you'll get their attention.
Now that the percentage of females enrolled in college has overtaken the number of male college students, I'm curious to see how the role of females -- and how we market to them -- changes in the next few decades. But, back to our retrospective, there's one fact that I can't help but share -- Woodbury Soap was the first advertiser to use sex appeal to sell a product in ads that ran in Ladies Home Journal in 1911 with the tagline, "The skin you love to touch." So, I guess some things really don't ever change.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why Women Rule the Internet (from TechCrunch)

Aileen Lee
Mar 20, 2011
Editor’s note:  This guest post is written byAileen Lee, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.  Aileen focuses on investing in early stage consumer internet ventures and previously  worked at Gap, Odwalla, The Northface and Morgan Stanley.  She was also founding CEO of KP-backed RMG Networks.  Full disclosure: some of the companies mentioned below are KP-backed companies.  You can read more about Aileen and follow her on twitter at@aileenlee.
It feels like we’re in a Golden Age of the web, led by consumer internet services and e-commerce.  Just consider these stats: Facebook—over 600 million users.  Twitter—25 billion tweets last year. Tumblr—1 billion page views a week.  Zynga—100 million users on Cityville in just 6 weeks.  We’re witnessing a generation of consumer web companies growing at an unprecedented rate in terms of both user adoption and revenue.
But here’s a little secret that’s gone unnoticed by most.  It’s women.  Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest growing, and most valuable consumer internet and e-commerce companies.  Especially when it comes to social and shopping, women rule the Internet.
Consider some more data. Comscore, Nielsen, MediaMetrix and Quantcast studies all show women are the driving force of the most important net trend of the decade, the social web.Comscore says women are the majority of users of social networking sites and spend 30% more time on these sites than men; mobile social network usage is 55% female according toNielsen.
In e-commerce, female purchasing power is also pretty clear.  Sites like Zappos (>$1 billion in revenue last year), Groupon ($760m last year), Gilt Groupe ($500m projected revenue this year), Etsy (over $300m in GMV last year), and Diapers ($300m estimated revenue last year) are all driven by a majority of female customers.  According to Gilt Groupe, women are 70% of the customer base and they drive 74% of revenue.  And 77% of Groupon’s customers are female according to their site.
Women even shop more on Chegg, which offers textbook rentals on college campuses across the country. Males and females attend college at an almost even rate. Renting would seem an equal opportunity money saver, plus it’s better for the planet.  But according to Chegg, females are 65% of renters.  Why? Renting requires a little more advanced planning.  Chegg’s research shows women are more inclined to plan ahead than men. And, they seem to care more about saving money, and are more likely to be influenced by a friend’s recommendation.
It’s no accident launched a program called “Amazon Mom” last year, or that they bought both Zappos and Quidsi (parent company of, and for almost $1.8 billion in total.  According to the US Census Bureau, women oversee over 80% of consumer spending, or about $5 trillion dollars annually. Women control the purse strings when it comes to disposable income. That’s long been the case.
But what’s different now is that there is an exciting new crop of e-commerce companies building real revenue and real community, really fast, by purposefully harnessing the power of female consumers.  One Kings LanePlum DistrictStella & DotRent the Runway,ModclothBirchBoxShoedazzleZazzleCallaway Digital Arts, and Shopkick are just a few examples of companies leveraging “girl power.”  The majority of these companies were also founded by women, which is also an exciting trend.
And take a look at four of the new “horsemen” of the consumer web—FacebookZynga,Groupon and Twitter.  This may surprise you, the majority of all four properties’ users are female.  Make that “horsewomen”.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has talked about how women are not only the majority of its users, but drive 62% of activity in terms of messages, updates and comments, and 71% of the daily fan activity.  Women have 8% more Facebook friends on average than men, and spend more time on the site.  According to an early Facebook team member, women played a key role in the early days by adopting three core activities—posting to walls, adding photos and joining groups—at a much higher rate than males.  If females had not adopted in the early days, I wonder if Facebook would be what it is today. (Why do you think all the guys showed up?)
How about gaming, seemingly a bastion of men in their man caves?  The titan of social gaming,Zynga, says 60% of players are female.  And a survey by PopCap shows females are the majority of social and casual game players. In fact, they note the average social gamer is likely a 43-year-old woman.
And more women use Twitter, which has a reputation for being a techie insider’s (i.e., male) product.  Women follow more people, tweet more, and have more followers on average than men, according to bloggers Dan Zarella and Darmesh Shaw’s analyses.
Brian Solis’s analysis shows females are the majority of visitors on the following sites, which he calls “matriarchys”:  Twitter, Facebook,, Docstoc, Flickr, Myspace, Ning,, uStream,, Bebo and Yelp.  The one “patriarchy” site he notes, where males > females:  Digg.
Yes, women also rock sites like Opentable and Yelp. According to Yelp, while half of their traffic is male, the majority of contributors and ecommerce purchasers are female.  And according to OpenTable, the majority of bookings are overwhelmingly made by females.  Why?  Likely because women drive most decisions about where to go and where to eat.
Perhaps none of this is surprising.  Women are thought to be more social, more interested in relationships and connections, better at multi-tasking.  There is also anthropological research to back this up.  Dave Morin of Path introduced me to Dunbar’s Number, proposed by the anthropologist Robin Dunbar.  The number is the theoretical limit of how many people with whom one can maintain stable relationships (thought to be 150).  But Dunbar’s most recent research shows there are different numbers for women than men—that women are able to maintain quantitatively more relationships within every ring of closeness than men.  Knowing that is an important factor if you want to build and stoke social network effects.  More female users will likely help your company grow faster.
So, if you’re at a consumer web company, how can this insight help you.  Would you like to lower your cost of customer acquisition?  Or grow revenue faster?  Take a look at your product, your marketing, your customer base.  Maybe you would benefit from having a larger base of female customers.  If so, what would you change to make your product/service more attractive to female customers?  Do you do enough product and user interface testing with female users?  Have you figured out how to truly unleash the shopping and social power of women?
You could also take a look at your team.  Do you have women in key positions? If you’re planning on targeting female customers, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to have great women on your team.
If you are already targeting female customers, have great women working in your company, and are seeing strong commerce and social network effects, congratulations.  You are likely trying to figure out how to handle hypergrowth right now.  Plus your office probably smells pretty good.
Women are the routers and amplifiers of the social web.  And they are the rocket fuel of ecommerce.  The ongoing debate about women in tech has been missing a key insight. If you figure out how to harness the power of female customers, you can rock the world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Harnessing the Power of the Mom Blogger (from NYTimes


Whether it’s building brand awareness or promoting television shows, advertising industry experts say that they are finding that the mother blogger niche is active, loyal and deeply involved with spreading its messages. And, the wealth of demographic information available about online users allows for better directed campaigns, marketers say.THE latest advice on child-rearing, baby products and prenatal yogastretches is not being found in conversations over the picket fence but rather in Twitter messages, blog rolls and on Facebook walls. To that end, marketers have been increasingly harnessing the power of mothers online to reach their intended audiences for products.
The mother bloggers can become “ambassadors of brands,” said Sarah Hofstetter, senior vice president for emerging media and brand strategy at 360i, a digital agency owned by Dentsu, the Japanese advertising agency. “These mom bloggers have tremendous personality and tremendous opinions.”
The analysis firm eMarketer estimated that in 2010, there were more than 3.9 million women with children who were bloggers. In a recent report, eMarketer said that mothers were more likely to visit blogs than users in general, particularly to seek advice on parenting issues, and that the popularity of social media like Twitter and Facebook was helping to drive traffic to their postings.
“Advertisers are extremely interested in integrating ‘social’ into their advertising campaigns, and for certain brands, it can work really well,” said Megan Calhoun, a mother of two and founder of SocialMoms, a 30,000-member community of mother bloggers, which previously was called Twitter Moms.
But as many marketers have discovered, harnessing mothers who blog for their campaigns is not as simple as asking them to encourage their followers to “buy this product.” After trial and error, marketers have realized that the public can react negatively to overt marketing messages in many social media settings.
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission has now imposed full-disclosure conditions on marketers online. As a result, advertisers are finding that subtle approaches work better on campaigns.
“It’s not just about pushing a brand out there, but to get a two-way conversation going,” said Thomas Donovan, interactive manager with Haworth Media.
Haworth, an independent agency, last September conducted a brand-awareness campaign for Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, owned by a subsidiary of S. C. Johnson & Son. It worked with Mrs. Meyer’s, which makes environmentally friendly cleaning products that are sold in stores like Target, to increase the brand’s visibility among consumers. The agency devoted 52 percent of its initial introduction budget to online media, and a big part involved the SocialMoms network.
On behalf of Mrs. Meyer’s, the site, under its previous name Twitter Moms, put out a call for submissions to its network, asking bloggers for their best ideas for a “cleaner, greener home.”
The bloggers didn’t need to mention a single Mrs. Meyer’s product in their posts or messages. In fact, many of the ideas that were part of the campaign were age-old conventional remedies.
One blogger advised readers to use baking soda to clean pet stains on carpets, while the mother who runs the Canning With Kids blog sent a message suggesting that readers “decorate with plants that clean the air.” The bloggers’ Twitter messages all carried the #mrsmeyers hashtag, which allowed the company to track what messages were going where.
“People were re-tweeting things that they found useful; green tips are points of passion for people,” said Jim Calhoun, creative director at SocialMoms and Ms. Calhoun’s husband.
The 53 bloggers in the network who were selected to participate in the campaign were given $50 Target gift cards. They in turn had an average of 1,762 Twitter followers, many of whom forwarded messages to others.
The one-month campaign resulted in 7.68 million Twitter views as well as millions more through blog rolls and display ads, Mr. Calhoun said.
Other campaigns involving the SocialMoms network recently included promotions for the juice Simply Orange, inviting mother bloggers to talk about “simple changes” they want to make in their lives.
A current campaign on the site is for the Hershey Company, which started a promotionsoliciting blog posts of 400 words or more on “ways you share happiness with those around you” as part of a tie-in for a new product called Hershey’s Drops.
“We are huge believers in paying moms for writing a thoughtful blog post on a topic of discussion,” Megan Calhoun said, adding that the SocialMoms network required participants to follow the F.T.C. disclosure rules.
Even as many campaigns have found that Twitter is a great word-of-mouth strategy,other avenues of social media like Facebook are becoming more important, Ms. Calhoun said. Also, video blogs, display ads and online surveys are all integral parts of promotions on the sites.
“Brands are really mixed on Twitter,” Ms. Calhoun said, partly because of the 140-character limit on posts. “Facebook is much safer for brands because it gives them a lot of control,” she said.
Ultimately, marketers are hoping that by getting consumers via social media, they will engage their audience and tailor their messages.
“You can get rich information back,” Mr. Calhoun said.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to use open loops in your copy: An example (From CopyBlogger)

Open Loops for creating excitement in a blog post. Good stuff! Read on for details...

To see how an open loop can create credibility, entice curiosity, and stimulate the need to know more, take a look at this example.
This radio ad was written for a diamond seller named Woody Justice by the Wizard of Ads himself, Roy H. Williams:
Antwerp, Belgium, is no longer the diamond capital of the world.

Thirty-four hours on an airplane. One way. Thirty. Four. Hours. That’s how long it took me to get to where eighty percent of the worlds diamonds are now being cut. After 34 hours I looked bad. I smelled bad. I wanted to go to sleep. But then I saw the diamonds.
Unbelievable. They told me I was the first retailer from North America ever to be in that office. Only the biggest wholesalers are allowed through those doors. Fortunately, I had one of ‘em with me, a lifelong friend who was doing me a favor.
Now pay attention, because what I’m about to say is really important: As of this moment, Justice Jewelers has the lowest diamond prices in America, and I’m including all the online diamond sellers in that statement.
Now you and I both know that talk is cheap. So put it to the test. Go online. Find your best deal. Not only will Justice Jewelers give you a better diamond, we’ll give you a better price, as well.
I’m Woody Justice, and I’m working really, really hard to be your jeweler. Thirty-four hours of hard travel, one way. I think you’ll be glad I did it.
The ad starts off by setting up an open loop: if Antwerp is no longer the diamond cutting capital of the world, which city is the new one?
But we’re not told which city; we’re only strung along with the hint that it takes a 34-hour plane trip to get there. Must be an exotic place, right? The listener’s curiosity starts to itch. He wants to know where this mysterious place might be.
Then we’re told that to be allowed into this inner sanctum of diamond buyers –- a place out of reach to every other retailer in America — is to have access to prices lower than the competition can match. How much lower remains an open question, and so another loop is opened in the mind of the listener.
Finally, the ad closes by circling back to the 34-hour trip without ever closing (i.e., “paying off”) either the “how much lower” or the “which city was it” loops.
Now the itch to find out “where’d you fly to, Woody?” or to see just how great the prices are — well, those are the obvious parts of the ad, the ones everyone recognizes on a first listen.
But the added credibility achieved through set-up and payoff is really where this ad shines.
If Woody had just come out and claimed lower prices through access to some un-named, super-exclusive source of cut diamonds, we’d give him the old “Yeah, sure.”
But we’re not told that straight out, are we? No. Because that claim has to be set up.
So we’re told how difficult it is to get to this new diamond cutting capital of the world (it takes a 34-hour plane trip). And how many diamonds are cut there. And who normally does make that long, arduous trip (only the biggest diamond wholesalers).
Only after we’ve mentally put ourselves into that room –- after we’ve had the moment set up for us –- do we then get the claim of lower prices.
And at that point, we listeners may not quite swallow the claim whole, but we’re intrigued enough to put it to the test. We have enough faith to at least investigate Woody’s claim by coming into the store, if only to ask him where that 34-hour flight took him.

How open loops apply to content marketing

By now, you might be thinking that headlines are actually a form of open loop copywriting. Manyheadlines hook the reader by starting an intriguing thought — and implicitly promising to close the loop in the article or post itself.
This Copyblogger post, What a Drunk Swiss Guy Can Teach You About Handling Criticism, is a perfect example of that technique. It starts with a surprising headline and sets up an interesting story, then uses the payoff for that story to make a point.
And a more serious post used a headline as an open loop to lead into a post that told a striking story about one of our writers: Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants.
Articles and posts use this technique when they open with a dramatic scene or image, backtrack or diverge to another point, and finally circle around at the end to close the loop.
When you open a loop, when you set up an intriguing situation and leave the reader wanting to know more, you create momentum that carries the reader through the page. But as you might imagine, you can’t just open loops — you need to close them (to provide a payoff) as well.
Skilfully created set-ups and payoffs can create emotional power through narrative misdirection and symbols — giving you some of the satisfaction you get from watching a well-plotted action movie.
How, specifically, do you build that emotional power? Well actually, you’ll have to wait for part two to find out. Read the sequel to this post next week and find out.
About the Author: Jeff Sexton is a partner in the Wizard of Ads consulting firm, a well-known online copywriter and optimization expert, as well as a faculty member at Wizard Academy, where he co-teaches Writing for the Radio and the Internet. You can find him online

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Promoted Tweets: New Twitter Business Model,

Promoted Tweets Pleasing Moms?
By Maryanne Conlin Wednesday, March 9, 2011 from Media Post Publications

Along with a number of brands, I am participating in the Twitter Promoted Tweets beta test with one of my clients. We're reaching out to moms in a whole new way and learning as we go along, as we always do, from savvy moms.
Promoted Tweets, in case you haven't heard, is Twitter's answer to "how do we make money on this thing," a common tech start-up question. For the marketer, Promoted Tweets is, to some extent, "how do we do this thing?" You see, Promoted Tweets is perhaps the first online advertising platform that really requires a brand to have a very thorough understanding of how to be social.

Unlike Facebook or banner ads, Promoted Tweets are not ads. They are tweets that you develop in your own timeline that Twitter then pushes out to moms who are prospective followers based on keywords you select. So, while it is readily apparent that tweets in the program are "promoted" by a brand, as they are clearly marked, and targeted by specific keywords that Twitter moms easily catch onto, the rules of effective social media still apply: no hard sell.

Promoted tweets are about engagement. Rather than selling impressions, Twitter is selling engagement-retweets, clicks and replies. Your ability to engage directly impacts the number of retweets and mentions and so the ultimate number of impressions you generate. Your destiny is in the hands of your best social media copywriter ... the one that writes the best tweets.

Since often that copywriter is the social media specialist who handles your day-to-day interactions on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platforms in which your brand participates, his or her ability to speak to your core audience already determines your success as a brand in social media. But Promoted Tweets draws on his or her ability to connect withpotential customers. A wildly popular tweet with your core audience of brand advocates may not resonate quite so well with moms you are introducing to your brand.

So developing effective tweets takes some trial and error. Social media moms are savvy and may appreciate the introduction to new brands in a whimsical, humorous, informative or just engaging way. On the other hand, they may also feel that promoted tweets are intrusive ... which is, of course, our major fear as marketers.

But this isn't the 1990s. Social media users know that in order for their beloved platform to continue to exist, they need to find some way to make money and most seem to accept this. But here, more than for any other social media venture with which I have been involved, gathering feedback is crucial. While I am of course carefully monitoring my level of engagement( for which Twitter handily provides analytics), I'm also trolling the blogs, searching Twitter streams and collecting data that allow us to see just what moms think about Promoted Tweets in general and ours and other brands' tweets specifically.

As tempting as it is to think we know all there is to know about marketing to moms via social media, it's an ever-changing world. This beta test of Promoted Tweets is just one more reminder that sometimes we just think we do.

Small Business Rushes to Social Marketing From Center for Media Research

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today shared results of its quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey of over 8,500 small and local business owners across the U.S. The data reveals that local merchants, who have very limited time and money for marketing, are gravitating towards simple, low-cost online marketing methods such as Facebook and other social media, as well as towards tried-and-true methods such as search and email marketing. The research also demonstrates that while new marketing services such as mobile marketing and group buying are generating significant buzz in the media, local merchants have yet to tap these unproven marketing methods.

Darren Waddell, Vice President of marketing at MerchantCircle, says "Online marketing continues to be a challenge for most local businesses... merchants are working with very small budgets and almost no marketing resources...the marketing methods... gaining the most traction are... ones that offer merchants simplicity, low costs and immediate results."
More than half of local merchants are spending less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 60% have no plans to raise their budgets this year. As many merchants struggle to manage their existing programs, 37% say lack of time and resources is the top online marketing challenge to take advantage of new, unproven services.

With huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be a popular way for merchants to market their business, with 70% using the social network for marketing, up from 50% one year ago. 37% rate Facebook as one of their most effective tools, almost tied with Google search (40%) as one of their top three most effective marketing methods. 40% of local merchants say they use the twitter the microblogging platform to build awareness and community around their products and services.

Tried-and-true online methods trump new, unproven approaches. Three of the top marketing methods for local businesses, social, search and email, are cited as being the most effective, with 36% putting social networking in the top three, 40% citing search and 36% choosing email marketing.

Less than 15% of merchants report doing any sort of mobile marketing or advertising, and more than half have no plans to do so in the coming months. Lack of understanding remains a huge barrier to adoption, with 74% of merchants state that they don't have a good idea of how to reach consumers via mobile marketing.

Only 11% of local merchants have offered a "daily deal" using a service like Groupon or LivingSocial, with an additional 20% planning to do so in the coming months. Results of group buying have also been mixed and may be hindering growth, with  55% of people who have run a daily deal campaign said they would not do so again.

Over the course of 2010, use of print advertising dropped by 33% (from 40%), use of print Yellow Pages declined 18% (from 45%), and use of direct mail decreased 26% (from 39%).

Many of these methods, though, continue to deliver results for local merchants. 24% say that coupons or direct mail are still one of their top three most effective marketing tactics, 23% say print Yellow Pages are a top three tactic, and 20% put print newspaper ads in the top three as well.

Concluding that there is no letup in effort to increase new tactics within small businesses, the report says that 51% of local merchants get at least one online marketing sales call a week, with 10% getting called almost on a daily basis, often with a direct sales force making cold calls.

Almost concurrent to this report, BIA/Kelsey launched Social Local Media (SLM), an advisory service dedicated to cover the growing and dynamic social media ecosystem. SLM was created to address the rapidly developing social segment of what the firm estimates will be a $23 billion digital advertising market in 2011.

Confirmation of the significance of social platforms for local media and advertising comes from the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey's Local Commerce Monitor. LCM reveals intense use of social media by SMBs, as 48% of respondents said they are using Facebook for advertising or promoting their business. Among those surveyed, 40% said they have a Facebook page specifically for their business. Additional findings indicate that among respondents, 25% use other social networks, 22% use a blog and 19% use Twitter to promote their business.

Neal Polachek, president, BIA/Kelsey, observes that "... social local media, as a marketing, customer-care and content agent, has crossed the mainstream threshold... "

For more about the MerchantCircle study, please visit here, and to view charts and graphs from the BIA/Kelsey study, go here.