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Men: Want to Engage Moms? Go Online

T.V. is a part of most Americans life, especially for moms. Their children watch television, and consequently so do they.  In a blog on MediaPost, writer Petra Arbutina, asks a very good question: “Are these moms really engaged in the programming when they’re watching television with their families?” I would think that the answer is…no. As I mentioned in an earlier post, women are “multi-minders.” Though there may be something on the tv, it doesn’t mean that mom is paying the least bit of attention. More than likely, there are a million and one things running through her head and the commercial for a new soap scum remover that plays during her child’s afternoon show is just another distraction. As Ms. Arbutina says about her personal experience,

“Though my television may be on, there’s a good chance I lost the story line within five minutes of the show starting. And there’s even less chance that I’m going to catch the commercials.”

Ms. Arbutina also states that moms control $4 billion in annual ad spend, so it is absolutely critical to get their attention. But how do you get someone’s attention who’s concentration is likely to be split between so many things?

For the the blog, Ms. Arubutina and her associates at Media Post conducted research with over 400 moms who have children under the age of 12 living in their homes. They found that:

  • 75% of respondents watch certain shows with their children.
  • 50% of respondents indicated that they’re likely to be doing other things while watching television with their children. (This could mean that though they are watching the program, they aren’t engaging in it.)
  • Women with very small children indicated that it was “impossible for anyone to watch anything in the house when the kids are up.”
  • Women with older children experienced phases of “family TV viewing” where they watched shows targeted to their kids’ age group between ages 4-7.
  • Interestingly, as the kids get older, women become more engaged in the programming as they come to share favorite shows with their kids, such as “American Idol” and “Survivor.”
  • The respondents indicated that ultimately they can only truly engage in what’s on the television when their children aren’t present. (This was a consistent response among all respondents regardless of the age of the children.)
  • 81% of our survey respondents stated that they have “their shows” that they watch during what they deem to be their “me time.” This offers them an “escape” from the daily pressures of work and family.
  • Women are also prone to “time-shift” their preferred programming by DVRing their favorite shows or visiting On Demand, network websites and Hulu.com to re-watch shows or catch episodes they’ve missed.

What does this mean?

According to the research, if moms are watching TV with their children they are not probably not engaging with programs that their children are enjoying. I think its easy to conclude that if they aren’t engaging with the programs, they are definitely not engaging with the commercials. The research also shows that mom wants to watch TV during her “me-time” when interruptions from the kids are minimal. If you are advertising on television, try to get spots on more “grown-up” shows that mom will watch by hersef.

Unfortunately not every mom’s “me-time” is going to be the same. As stated in the last bullet point, mom is using technology such as DVR and websites such as HULU to make her favorite programing fall in line with her self-mandated “me-time.”

So how do you connect?

By going online. Moms are a huge part of the blogosphere and online world. By connecting with her online, you are going where she goes. You may want to gain her attention by advertising on websites where she goes to watch her programs.  If she is making time to go online and “engage” in her favorite programs, try to extend her engagement beyond the actual program. Ms. Arbutina suggests doing things such as online sweepstakes or interactive quizzes.

Bottom line…don’t assume that just because the TV is on mom is watching.

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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
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Is the Auto Industry a Woman’s Nation?

As you know, I closely followed Maria Shriver’s special report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything, on NBC this past week. Among other topics related to females, Shriver discussed how women’s purchasing power affects bottom line. Sounds like She-conomy, right?

Jody DeVere, who I met on Twitter and got to know even better at the 2009 Marketing to Women Conference in Chicago, created www.AskPatty.com, a safe environment for women to get automotive advice tailored to their needs. She’s been following California’s first lady too. In fact, Jody was invited to be on the panel of a live blogger podcast for the online launch of A Woman’s Nation. It’s a privilege to host her as a guest blogger.

jody-devere_webs300_4431Guest Blogger: Jody DeVere,  CEO and President of AskPatty.com

As a She-Conomy reader, I’m sure you know that women control 85 percent of all brand purchase decisions. Believe it or not, that number holds true when it comes to cars.

Women influence more than 85 percent of all automotive sales in U.S. households.

Beyond the initial purchase of a vehicle, women comprise 50-65 percent of the customer base at service centers and buy 60 percent of all passenger tires. According to the Yankelovich Monitor, even though females are the majority of the market, 74 percent say they feel misunderstood by automotive marketers.

Bottom line: women say the experience of visiting an automotive retailer is akin to having a tooth pulled. I’m convinced this is a result of the disproportionately low number of females who work in the auto industry.

For example, the promotion of Susan Docherty to General Motors’ top U.S. sales position last week marks the first time a woman has held that position in the automaker’s 101-year history. Docherty’s promotion means she will become the first and only woman on CEO Fritz Henderson’s newly formed nine-person executive committee. Susan is now the highest ranked woman working at an automaker. Congratulations, Susan! (It’s about time, GM!)

Although this is a reason to celebrate, Susan is only one of the 13 percent of women top executives in the auto industry. That statistic stands in staunch contrast to findings on overall employment listed in the Shriver report. “For the first time in our history, half of all U.S. workers are women. Mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families,” it states. So why are there so few females in leadership positions?

Unfortunately, in the past five years I have witnessed several top automaker executive women leave for non-automotive industries.

To combat their low representation, women’s automotive associations and organizations have sprung up or grown tremendously. Scholarships to fund programs for women seeking automotive careers in various roles are growing. Still, less than 1 percent of all National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certified technicians are women. In new car dealerships, women are about 20 percent of the overall employee count and only 7 percent are working in front-line management, sales or service advisor positions. Less than 7 percent of new car dealerships are woman-owned and operated.

Automotive retailers frequently ask me how they can find and hire more women.
They tell me women just aren’t applying for the positions and they want to hire more females. The answer is simple. It starts with creating a culture where women customers and potential employees feel safe and comfortable. Offering not only full time employment but flexible work place policies such as part time, work-at-home, team selling, job sharing for everyone not just women will increase your odds of hiring more women. After all, work/life balance is an issue for everyone.

To become an “Auto Industry Women’s Nation,” the high percentage of men at the helm need to grasp that women consumers hold the automotive purse strings. They need to work to create a culture that embraces female employees, create an environment where women feel comfortable spending their dollars and reach them with advertising campaigns that are “spot on.”

I strongly recommend automotive retailers address their female audience or lose market share to competitors who are speaking to the rapidly changing landscape and purchasing power of women. ~ Jody DeVere

Thank you so much Jody for your  helpful insight into these automotive related issues. And just to recap, I have highlighted several of the significant statistics below.

Female purchasers in the car industry:

  • Women influence more than 85 percent of all automotive sales in U.S. households
  • Women comprise 50-65 percent of the customer base at service centers
  • Women buy 60 percent of all passenger tires
  • 74 percent of women say they feel misunderstood by automotive marketers

Female employment:

  • For the first time in history, half of all U.S. workers are women
  • Only 13 percent of top executives in the auto industry are women
  • Less than 1 percent of all National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certified technicians are women
  • In new car dealerships, women account for about 20 percent of the overall employee count
  • Only 7 percent of those working in front-line management, sales or service advisor positions are women
  • Less than 7 percent of new car dealerships are woman-owned and operated
Data Sources: •M2W Fast Facts: http://m2w.biz/fast_facts.php •Road & Travel Female Buyer Study: http://www.roadandtravel.com/company/marketing/femaledemo.html •National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence http://www.ase.com/ •National Automobile Dealers Association http://www.nada.org/Publications/NADADATA/ •National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence http://www.ase.com/ •Tire Review Magazine http://tirereview.com/ •Forbes Auto ‘Most Influential Women in the Auto Industry’ http://www.askpatty.com/page.php?ID=1701Title=AskPatty

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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

Are Aunts the New Mom?

Although not mentioned in this iVillage article, which is a preview of next weeks’ coverage on NBC’s report about women’s buying power, I still remain hopeful that they plan to address one of the most overused stereotypes about women. Many male marketers assume that all women are moms. However, while all moms are women, not all women are moms. And there is no one more in tune to that than Melanie Notkin, CEO and founder of the very successful online community, Savvyauntie.com.

I met my friend Melanie on Twitter nearly a year ago and since then she’s been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, More Magazine, NBC, CBS and is a regular on FOX News Strategy Room.

I asked if she would enlighten my readers as a guest blogger and she kindly agreed. So, please read on as she provides incredibly valuable insight into an area where so many male marketers are  missing a huge opportunity.

Guest Blogger: Melanie Notkin, Savvyauntie.commelanie-notkin_founder-and-ceo_savvy-auntie

I’m not a mom. This fact seems inconsequential to most, until you look at many of my friends. They’re not moms either. And neither are their friends. In fact, nearly 50% of American women are not mothers.

So why are marketers so in love with Mom?

If you watch commercials for anything from laundry detergent to holiday gifting, it generally stars “mom.” Now it’s true that moms are part of the most influential segment of the economy – the segment that controls about 85% of household purchases. But non-moms do laundry too. And we also buy gifts. And we travel. We buy cars. We’re homeowners. In fact, we buy just about everything moms do, except for breast pumps. And mom jeans.

It’s not the moms who control and influence 85% of household purchases. It’s women as a whole. And in my household, I control 100% of the purchase decisions.

PANK is the new pink!
I’ve dubbed the other half of women who are not mothers, PANKs: Professional Aunts No Kids. We’re the consumers marketers should be focusing on because we have the time, money and influence they are looking for.

The 2006 US Census Report on Fertility reported that 45.1% of women through age 44 do not have kids. And that number has been steadily growing over the last couple of decades. It’s pretty remarkable. And when you take an even closer look at this segment, some other interesting data bubbles up.

Key PANK statistics:
The 2006 Census data states that even fewer women are having children than in 2004 – the date of the previous fertility report.  The data from a similar study done in 2004 stated that 44.6% of women did not have kids. This 2006 study reports that 45.1% did not have children, up 0.5% over those two years.

The big highlight of the report is shocking: “20 percent of women 40 to 44 were childless in 2006, twice as high as the level 30 years earlier.”

The Fertility Reports do not include data on women ‘post’ fertility who are less likely to ever have children – women 45 and over. That’s how we get to the “nearly 50%” number. In fact, it may be more.

Here’s the “women without children” Census data, broken down by age range:

  • 15 to 19 years 93.3%
  • 20 to 24 years 68.6%
  • 25 to 29 years 45.6%
  • 30 to 34 years 26.2%
  • 35 to 39 years 18.9%
  • 40 to 44 years 20.4%

Remove the teens from the equation, and 36% of women 20 – 44 don’t have kids. Again, this data does not include women 45+.  We are reluctant to exclude the teens because teens have huge spending clout and are very likely to indulge their little nieces and nephews, their little cousins, and their friends’ kids – and certainly themselves! And they are looking for ways to connect with the children in their lives, just like older women are. Just because they are less likely to have kids, doesn’t mean they are less likely to be loving aunts by relation, aunts by choice and godmothers to a child in their life.

Fewer women are having children. By choice. Not by choice. Some are childless. Some are childfree. Some are waiting. Some are undecided. Some are trying. Some are too young. Some feel too old. Some are too old. Some are gay and therefore we might assume less likely to have their own kids. Whatever the case, in the end, 45.1% of women 15-44, don’t have kids.

PANKs are Savvy Aunties.
In 2008, I responded by giving PANKs a community of our own:  SavvyAuntie.com, the first online community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids.  Twenty-three minutes after launch, I received an email from the media buyers for Hasbro. Two hours later, Sephora contacted me. Then came Warner Brothers, Disney, Turner’s TNT Network, PBS Sprout, BareNecessities.com, Beyondtherack.com, Scholastic and many more. After all, when it comes to products and services that enable Savvy Aunties to make their nieces and nephews happy as can be, aunts want to know about them. Plus, without kids of their own, aunts have more discretionary income and time than most moms. That’s why they are more likely to indulge themselves and the children in their lives.

Still, the overwhelming majority of marketing messages are focused on Mom and to Mom. It’s time marketers began focusing on PANKs. We’re powerful and we’re influential. And we’re growing year after year.

If only my mom were here to see it…

Thanks, Melanie. Well said!!

Melanie Notkin is a proud aunt and the Founder and CEO, SavvyAuntie.com. She’s been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, More Magazine, NBC, CBS and is a regular on FOX News Strategy Room. She can be reached at Twitter.com/SavvyAuntie.

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Melanie Notkin is a pround aunt and the Founder and CEO, SavvyAuntie.com. She’s been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, More Magazine, NBC, CBS and is a regular on FOX News Strategy Room. She can be reached at Twitter.com/SavvyAuntie.

Women With Children At Home Are More Likely To Use Social Media

mom1A recent study conducted by BIGresearch for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA), a division of the National Retail Federation, confirms there is advantage to connecting with women through social media and shows this advantage to be especially true for those longing to reach the “mom” market.

The study also noted that in an economy where price means everything, retailers who already have a presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are one step ahead of getting in front of these women.

  • Women with children at home are more likely to use Facebook (60.3%),  MySpace (42.4%) and Twitter (16.5%) than average adults (50.2%, 34.4%, 15.0%, respectively),
  • Additionally, 15.3 percent of moms maintain their own blog.

“Retailers who aren’t engaging customers through social media could be missing the boat,” said Mike Gatti, Executive Director for RAMA.

I would also add that when price means everything, it becomes even more imperative for companies to find their differentiation points as well as understand how women now define value. Engaging with women online is an excellent advantage. The many channels of social networking fulfill women’s needs for relationship and conversation and together converge with all five stages of the buying process per Marti Barletta: kick-off, research, purchase, ownership and word-of-mouth.

Other findings include:

  • These days, women with families will spend where they feel their money is best spent – it’s no longer strictly about loyalty, and quality and value are not as synonymous as they used to be. One brand of laundry detergent might be the best on the market and have the most reputable name, but if the other brand offers more washes in a smaller bottle—saving the planet at the same time—mom is going to pay attention.
  • When it comes to actually getting these busy women’s attention, there’s no guarantee that a piece of mail will end up in hands for which it was intended, and a coupon for 20% off any instore purchase could accidentally get thrown away or put in a pile and quickly forgotten. While TV is an important luxury for mom, the days of relying on television have given way to internet ads, paid search methods, Facebook and email campaigns.
  • Technology has played a large role in where mom eventually shops, what she buys and how much she spends on any one item. At the same time, these are the same women who are more likely to tell their friends about a good (or bad) shopping experience, if a certain product is on sale and whether they would recommend a certain restaurant.
  • It’s important for retailers to keep up with what these women want, because more than likely they are not only talking about it, they are tweeting about it, blogging about it and posting it as their Facebook status.

You can download a copy of the study as well as raw data 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