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Marketers, 80 Percent of Pinterest Users Are Female. Is Your Brand There?

Pinterest, the incredibly popular online bulletin board/scrapbook/inspiration organizer now has more than 11 million unique monthly users. And according to recent numbers from Internet-monitoring firm comScore, it has more than doubled its audience over the past six months.

So, who’s using it? You guessed it. WOMEN. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are female and they are spending more time on there than Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ combined.

The rapid growth can certainly be attributed somewhat to a higher acceptance of social networks now. But keep in mind, there are thousands of new startups in the social arena. What makes Pinterest different? As noted in an article on Mashable, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann said, “the growth has been organic: People would join, become proud of their collections and show it to their friends.” (what women want)

And according to CNN Tech, Silberman said the site will soon roll out new profile pages that have been redesigned to look “more beautiful” and to display users’ influencers more prominently.

Women are flocking to Pinterest and the infographic below reveals just how powerful it is, but more importantly, the opportunities it offers brands. 

80% Pinterest Users are Women

Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for 
Holland + Holland Advertising,Birmingham, AL. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email
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The Top 6 Reasons That Businesses Must Embrace The Design Process To Effectively Market To Women.

I just watched the recently released documentary titled, Design the New Business. A big thanks, by the way, to BI watercooler for this great find!

Seven months in the making, Design the New Business,  is a collection of interviews with business and design strategists from around the world. In it, they deliberate the role that DESIGN will, or should play, as companies address today’s ever-changing and complex issues.

Want To Market To Women? This Video Is A Must See. 

Interestingly, what you won’t find in it, is the specific mention of women. But, what you will find are creative discussions and propositions that are dead on for effectively marketing to women through “creative design thinking.”

I often tout Apple™ as an example of a brand that has always done an excellent job marketing to women. Steve Jobs did not change the way we “do” things, he changed the way we “feel” about things. Through great design Apple™ appeals to our emotions.  And, I don’t believe it’s by accident that Apple™ is one of the top brands in the world, now worth more than Google and Microsoft combined, with products purchased by both women and men.

Jobs bought into the theory that uncompromised design yields value to business – long ago. For that matter, he may well have conceived it. At the very least, he has most prominently carried it out through every aspect of Apple’s business model from product development to advertising to the retail stores.

The New iPad

Throughout the entire recession, Apple™ has never succumbed to discounts, but instead continued to introduce beautifully designed products at premium prices.

So, while I don’t view design being considered in all areas of business as a “new” concept, I am more than encouraged to see international corporations discussing the implementation of “creative design thinking” into their business models.

This level of research, interpretation and emotion will get them that much closer to listening to and responding to the female audience, ultimately leading to increased revenues.

So, How Did We Get Here?

That is, why do we have to completely rethink linear business models that have been effectual in the past? I would suggest three primary causes for the multifaceted challenges that businesses face today.

  1. Web 2.0 – advancements in the Internet that have allowed for two-way conversation, giving individuals an incredibly loud voice through social networking sites that continue to explode.
  2. Female consumer – controlling or influencing 85% of all consumer brands, companies simply don’t know what to do with her and her new found voice.
  3. Economy – a recession of historical proportions that has lasted longer than anyone could have estimated leaving many industries unstable at best.

And, How Can Design Help? 

I purposely listed the economy last as a contributing factor because although the recession has certainly been devastating for business, it is expected that the market will eventually rebound.

But the new technologies within the digital world, such as social media, that have transformed and even eliminated types of businesses, are here to stay. And the female who has attained power  as a purchaser and wealth manager simply continues to strengthen.

So, even as the economy recovers, companies are still faced with the power that social media has bestowed upon people and more specifically, women. These are complex challenges, requiring non-traditional solutions.

These are the kinds of problems you cannot mange your way out of, you can only design your way out of them ~ Marty Neumeier, Director of Transformation, Liquid Agnecy

The design process is congruent with thinking like women. Such as, exploring all possibilities until discovering the perfect answer. Great design ignites an emotional state necessary to move shoppers to consumers. And if executed correctly, as we have seen with Apple,™ the men will bite too.

 

The Top 6 Reasons That Businesses Must Embrace The Design Process To Effectively Market To Women.

I encourage you to take 40 minutes to view the film in its entirety, but have extracted a few of the conversations as noted below.

1) PUSH MARKETING IS OVER

Brands can no longer just tell women what they want. Businesses must think creatively to gain the female’s trust through relationships and engagement.

I see a changing attitude towards companies in general. I have to say I look at where progressive movements are happening and there is, I’d almost say, there’s a bit of distrust when it comes to companies as organizations. It’s about credibility. It’s about being authentic. So, companies have a challenge to stay relevant in that mindset. You have to be very much aware of that type of mindset and come up with suggestions and solutions to provide value in that context. In traditional marketing speak, I think the day of push marketing is definitely over.

If you want to stay relevant, you have to be in the places where good conversations, where interactions between people is actually happening, where changes in interaction can be observed. It requires far more openness because the whole design trajectory is not as linear as it used to be. You can’t predict upfront what the end result is going to be. That is the new challenge.
Willem Boijens, Head of Research and Development, Océ

2) COMPANIES MUST LISTEN AND ADAPT

The female consumer is telling you what she wants. Businesses must think creatively to listen and interpret correctly to give it to her.

We have very close relationships with our clients and as a result we have grown to be quite adaptive. For example, we used to sell printers. Well, that’s not what they were asking for, so we started to sell prints, but that is not what they were asking for as well. So we started to give them the people who take care of their prints.

You can now go to the University of Amsterdam and see that we have a complete site of OcA, which takes care of the making and distribution of the readers that students are using. We got there by being adaptive.
Guido Stompff, Senior Product Designer, Océ

3) CONSUMERS HAVE SPECIFIC NEEDS AND LIFSTYLES

All women are not the same. Businesses must think creatively to no longer focus on her age, but instead her lifestage.

The car [Volkswagen] kind of became the symbol of a generation. But nowadays you see that more people are about having much more specific needs or lifestyles. You basically have many more different kinds of streams than you had previously. You have more and more people that are not alike anymore.”
Benjamin Schulz, Service Innovation, Volkswagen Group

We define design as something that has impact on business. We don’t look at market segments, but really try to find more patterns among several quite diverse people.”
Lukas Golyszny, Service Innovation, Volkswagen Group

4) WHAT GOT YOU THERE, WON’T GET YOU THERE

Traditional forms of reaching and connecting with women are not coming back. Business must think creatively to find and connect with her.

Big companies grow up usually with a business model that made them big. Now what is happening in a lot of industries is that those business models are expiring. The big mistake we’re making in large companies is we’re trying to use the same mindset that we applied to create our business, to create new business.”
Alexander Osterwalder, Co-Author, Business Model Generation

5) PEOPLE ARE IN CONTROL

Translation: Women are in control. Businesses must think creatively to develop relations and brand loyalty with her.

There’s been a big shift between the power to the brands to the power to the people. People today develop their own stories and publish them. The people are in control at the moment and that’s a big difference after the past few decades.

We are not in looking at a Return on Investment in a traditional way of value of money, but a Return of Investment in brand loyalty and in real connections with the audience.
Arno Wolterman, Managing Partner, Design Director, IN10

6) “SERVICE” DESIGN IS RAPIDLY BECOMING THE NEW “PRODUCT” DESIGN

Women have high expectations. Businesses must think creatively to better understand her needs and motivations to produce more user-friendly, competitive and relevant products.

The world is changing. Products and things have become all interconnected and people expect things to be interconnected. It’s not a standalone product anymore. Service design is an emerging competence that we all need to learn quicker and faster.

If you come to Philips Design five years from now, half of what we now call the product design effort is going to be reflected in at least half as much service design.
Ton Borshoom, Senior Director for New Business Development, Philips Design

The Design The New Business project was initiated and produced by Erik Roscam Abbing of the design thinking consultancy Zilver innovation and 6 students from all over the world, studying strategic design at the Delft University of Technology.

___________________________________________________________________________

Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising,Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Guys, Be Wary Of Blaming Your Declining Sales Solely On The Recession.

Nearly a year ago, I was chatting with the owner of a retail flooring store. He shared that one of the national flooring industry associations had conducted research which revealed “women were their market.” He went on to say that the findings suggested flooring retailers need to better understand and cater to the female audience.

I thought to myself, “This guy gets it.”

I questioned how he planned to appeal to women. “Simple,” he answered. He would require all of his salesmen (yes, his sales staff is all male) to wear a shirt and tie – preferably a suit.

Why, you ask? So did I. And the answer? “To show who’s in charge.” (His wife feels like a man is in control when he is dressed in a suit.)

Ummmm….. what!?!

Fast forward to now and sales have continued to drop. Probably the economy, right? Possibly. But I am guessing there is an even better chance that the female audience is inadvertently telling him who is in charge.

Guys, be careful not to blame all of your poor sales on the economy. If your competitor is thinking like this store owner, you have an opportunity to steal market share now more than ever. But, if your competitor not only realizes he must target the female, but decides to understand her as well – watch out. You could find yourself all dressed up with no where to go.


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Attention Male Marketers: Women Can Be Bought

Recently, I’ve received a rash of coupons in the mail. I’m not talking about the Val-Pak kind (although I do like those). I’m talking about serious discounts from specific retailers. The rundown:

Victoria’s Secret. Happy birthday to me! $10 off my in-store purchase.
Express.
$20 off my purchase. $30 if I spend $75.
Saks Fifth Avenue.
$25 dollars off my $100 purchase.

As a “recession-ista,” I’m not about to turn these discounts down. They mean I get stuff I may not have purchased otherwise. Here’s what I mean:

  • Underwear was not on my mind, but now that I can get the 5 for $25 deal for a mere $15, I decided to go ahead and make the purchase.
  • I haven’t shopped at Express in ages, but I need a new dress for the aforementioned birthday. Because of the discount, they will be my first stop. I may not buy from them, but I sure will try. I want to pay $45 for $75 worth of dress.
  • I need some MAC makeup. I had planned to go to the MAC store sometime this week, but now I’ll use the Saks coupon. I’ll probably buy more than I had intended because…well, it’s free-ish.

For the most part, I’m not altering my purchases, only WHERE and WHEN I make them. Some recent research supports my personal behavior:

Online. 68% of survey respondents said online coupons are a major factor in influencing purchases.

Mobile. 67% of heavy smart phone using women are interested in receiving mobile coupons or vouchers.

In-store. 81% percent of consumers say it’s fun to see how much they can save using a loyalty card or coupon.

Fun? That’s right, retailers. Saving has become a leisure sport.

This is a win-win situation. By offering women a coupon or discount, you are giving them a reason to visit your store. At the same time, you haven’t actually marked your merchandise down. The product retains its intrinsic value. You get more traffic and in turn build loyalty. Sunshine! Warm fuzzies all around! You get the idea.

So here’s the moral of the story: even after the Recession ends, women are going to be more cautious with their funds. As a retailer, you’d be wise to “buy” their loyalty.


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Brand vs. Discounts – Guys, For Women, It Is NOT All About Price

she-discountAccording to Chris Dickey, in a recent AdAge article, 2010 is the year for retailers to rethink pricing, discounts strategy and start rebuilding their brand value. He states:

Today many retailers find that their most immediate issue is working their way back out of discount-driven brand-price erosion.”

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Learning that consumers were seeking lower prices, many marketers hastily responded with what they “assumed” that meant to women. Companies simply offered discounts, coupons and slashed pricing with little regard to their brand, but more importantly with little understanding of women. As a result, companies have devalued their brands and will now have to spend a great deal of money to restore it.

They weren’t hearing what women were truly seeking – a friend or a partner who would empathize with them through the stressful and challenging recession. I am not suggesting that reduced pricing is not part of the solution, but brand value must be communicated consistently and how the savings are delivered creates the fine line between compromising your brand and winning the short-term purchase as well as the long-term trust and loyalty of women. A January 2009 Marketing Week study conducted by HPI about the effects of the Recession on women, revealed:

  • Brands need to communicate they are on women’s side
  • Brands need to balance messages with both optimism and empathy
  • If you’re a premium brand you can’t suddenly claim to be cheap, but you can make sure they understand the value you offer in terms of the quality of the brand

Highlights of Chris’ article including his suggested steps to slowly return to profitability are noted below. I would add: ALWAYS keep the female in mind. It could help you prevent discounting mistakes other companies have made, or even speed the brand rebuilding process.

Most companies did a fair amount of discounting damage in 2008 and 2009 to merely survive. While this strategy addressed an immediate, sometimes dire, business situation, brands also taught the consumer to wait for a discount. Many brands have set new low-bar expectations for the consumer on what a good price, good deal and good offer is. And while 2010 will certainly not be the year we “get back to normal,” it is the year that many brands have to rethink their discount and pricing strategy to slowly return to higher profitability.

Step 1 – Assess the damage.
For instance, your best consumers have changed their buying patterns in frequency and/or average ticket, eroding short-term and likely long-term lifetime value. You have probably lost some of your best consumers to lower-value competitors, and you’ve grown your base of deal seekers.

Step 2 – Determine where the opportunity is to retrain, reactivate or acquire.
There are five typical segments of consumers ripe for testing your way out of discounting.

  1. Loyal consumers
  2. New consumers
  3. Mid-level consumers
  4. Lapsed “best” consumers
  5. Prospects who look like best consumers

Step 3 – Develop a comprehensive testing plan to determine how best to increase profit margin and long-term value by segment.
Begin to test retraining these consumers by evolving the offer strategy to determine where the optimal point of response versus margin comes into play. Changing customer behavior takes some time and patience to achieve; be patient.

Step 4 – Learn, evaluate and optimize.
Make  sure you measure everything as you are testing different strategies.

Brands will need to rethink their offer strategy from one purely of discount to one of a price/value balance, with the emphasis on relevant value that will, in turn, justify a premium. It’s not a new challenge, but overcoming it after significant erosion will be a key lever to increased profitability. The good news is, it’s a strategy that can be tested, targeted and optimized — starting today.

For the complete AdAge article, click here.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Men, Women are Different Today. Marketing That Worked in the Past Will Not Work in the Future.

sheconomy_online_womenToday’s women are dramatically different. And their shift cannot be categorized by a simple comparison to their predecessors of the 50s, or the 90s or even the people they were at the turn of the millennium. Today’s women have changed from the consumers we recognized as recently as just one year ago. The economic crisis has radically altered how women think and feel. The concurrent phenomenon rapidly evolving within the 2.0 technologies of the Internet over the past few years has allowed women an enormous space to not only voice these opinions and emotions, but to act on and share them immediately.

“Women are moving from consumers to advisors, advocates, and activists.” ~ Laura Zalaznick, President of NBC Universal

Our world as we have always known it has changed suddenly. For the advertising industry, this is an understatement. Gone are the days of creating imagery and messages to be pushed onto women with the expectation of them accepting our claims or reacting to our offers. It is no longer about the sale. It is all about the relationship.

Forty-two million women in the U.S. are involved in social media weekly. This number continues to grow. Companies must build an online brand with social values, authenticity, useful solutions, experts and community. We must stop just managing brands and start focusing on relationships. The future is all about providing value and listening to what women have to say.” ~ Marketing to Women Conference, Chicago – April 2009

Herein lies a serious challenge for companies and marketers when attempting to effectively reach and connect with women in this swiftly evolving media environment. Relying solely on past—albeit proven—marketing strategies including traditional demographics and traditional media will leave companies flailing. That’s not to say that social media has replaced traditional media, but it is quickly becoming the heart of the campaign—the soul of one’s brand. There is opportunity for companies to connect with women authentically, building a relationship based on trust.

Traditional media will soon augment the marketing efforts of the social media plan. Although very enticing during these tough economic times, slipping back into the comfort level of doing what has worked in the past will only make it more difficult to effectively bond with women in the social space as it continues to crowd daily.

Those who begin unprepared will feel like they’re trying to hit an ever-moving target. But the companies who ready themselves by knowing who the female consumer of today is, believing she is reacting differently than men, understanding her,  knowing how to connect with her on the Internet, strategically meeting her there and finding out how we can make her life easier, will generate a much more purposeful connectivity with women which in turn leads to trusting relationships.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Men, Today Marketing to Women is About Lifestages, Not Ages.

sheconomy_lifestagesTraditional demographics are dead. There’s no longer a group that is simply female 25-54, so marketers need to focus on a woman’s life stage, not her age. One 40-year old female may have a toddler and another may have a student in college. While they are the same age, their life stages are significantly different.

Because of this shift, customer service is the new sales and women’s purchase patterns have evolved to a relational role. To accommodate their audiences, marketers need to develop daily relationships with today’s woman, a person who is dramatically different than she was even a year ago.

So, first, you must get to know her:

  • A Lifetime network survey reveals 83 percent of women say they’re busier today than they were a year ago.
  • Despite stress and being overly busy, women still do not want to give anything up.
  • Women do still want little luxuries. Comfort is in. The thrill is in the hunt. Green is good.
  • Single women are still spending in recession, while married women are cutting back.
  • Family values and frugal are the new urban chic.
  • Practicality is up. As a matter of fact, it has become a badge of honor for women.
  • Word of mouth is SO important, especially from trusted communities of friends.
  • Authenticity and transparency are key.

Information compiled from several speakers at the 2009 Marketing To Women Conference—Chicago

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email