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Guys, Knowing That Women Are Your Market Is Only Half The Battle. Now, The Race Is On To Figure Out How To Connect With Her Effectively.

Video excerpt: Holland+Holland partnered with Porsche® to discuss marketing to women

Female car buyers are making up a larger customer base for some of the top domestic auto brands, but none approach the gains that Porsche has made with women this past year.

Of all automakers Porsche® has made the largest relative market share gains among women nationwide over the past year, according to an analysis from Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. From January through August 2011 23 percent of Porsche buyers were female, compared to 19 percent during the same period last year. The growth accounts for a 21.1 percent proportional change, year over year.

Knowing that the female is your market is only half the battle and Porsche® Cars of America understands that.

Responding with effective product and marketing changes is what places them at the top. They get that all women are not alike.

Porsche® has not only added the Cayenne SUV and Panamera 4-door sedan models, they know that some women love their sports cars, too.

I was very fortunate for the opportunity to participate in creating one of the sales training modules titled, “Demystifying the Female Market,”  for the launch of the 2012 911 Carrera S. With more than 200 dealers across the nation on board to better understand the female consumer, Porsche® is most likely going to continue to speed past the competition when connecting with women.

And, since “Cars” ranked 2nd highest of product categories in which women are most dissatisfied, (according to to a 2009 study published in the book Women Want More by Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre,) the automotive industry has vast opportunity to drive revenues up by marketing to women.

 But beware. It is not simply knowing that the female is your market that counts. You must listen to her before you can meet her needs.


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

John Carter Goes to Mars. But Don’t Tell The Women

Below is an excerpt from an article in Newsweek & The Daily Beast titled, “Disney’s Quarter-Billion-Dollar Movie Fiasco.” In it, Chris Lee, examines marketing missteps for the not yet released movie, JOHN CARTER – originally titled, John Carter of Mars™.

“Although the character has been known as “John Carter of Mars” and was envisioned as a movie trilogy under that name, Disney marketers dropped the “of Mars” part because of industry-think holding that female movie fans are more likely to be turned off by such overtly sci-fi elements.” 

Right…… and I’m sure I won’t even notice the crater-like topography or the elusive Martians running around by the thousands, either.

According to an article by Nikki Finke in yesterday’s issue of DEADLINE:

Hollywood is in a tizzy over the early tracking which just came online this morning for Walt Disney Studios’ John Carter opening March 9th. “Not good. 2 unaided, 53 aware, 27 definitely interested, 3 first choice,” per an email from a senior exec at a rival studio.

This of course has led to plenty of finger pointing, talk of heads rolling and reportedly jobs already lost. But, the negativity has not been aimed at the movie itself.

The movie is actually getting rave reviews.

As a matter of fact, an early viewing for the press held in Arizona this past weekend has revealed accolades for the movie on Twitter. Disney had initially placed an embargo on tweets (SERIOUSLY?!) by the press attending the screening, but they lifted it yesterday–most likely in hopes of offsetting the lack of enthusiasm generated by poor advertising. (we can chat about the Twitter faux pas another day)

So, why the low tracking numbers?

Disney has revamped the marketing of the film from the name of the movie to the promotional trailer in a quest to appeal to the female audience – and failed. You might ask why they are chasing women with this sci-fi, comic book, super-hero, action-packed motion picture film in the first place. Because they need to sell lots of tickets.

And they know that women purchased 55% of movie tickets in 2009 and 49% in 2010. The also know that the number of tickets that “moms” control or influnce, increases that percentage substantially.

What they obviously do not know is how to connect with “her.”

According to Finke, another source revealed,

“It just came out. Women of all ages have flat out rejected the film.”

Of course what they mean is that women have rejected the advertising and trailer for the film. But if the trailer doesn’t sell, it means the same thing.

This is a text book case of marketers looking at women through stereotypical lenses. Which, as we have discussed, can be even more dangerous than not targeting them at all. In a botched attempt to engage women, Disney marketers have abandoned the fundamental significance of the creative concept of the movie, further alienating even the most loyal of fans.

They claim that women do not like “overtly sci-fi elements.” So, they solve this by taking the words “of Mars” out of the title? Okay, to begin with: It’s. A. Martian. Movie. Not to mention, it’s considered one of the landmarks of science fiction. Yet, they have decided to “hide” this to dumb-it-down for women? Taking “of Mars” out of the title degrades the creative genius of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the rich history of the John Carter of Mars™ series. Facts that would actually make it even more interesting to women by the way. A former Disney executive summed it up well when speaking with Lee:

“You take out ‘of Mars,’ you don’t tell where he came from? That’s what makes it unique!” a former Disney executive said. “They choose to ignore that, and the whole campaign ends up meaning nothing. It’s boiled down to something no one wants to see.”

And, what’s the deal with the trailer(s?)

Well, there are actually three trailers now, all listed and explained below. I would love for you to take a peek at them all and vote below on which one would entice YOU to go see the movie, John Carter (of Mars.)

1) The original Disney trailer released in July of 2011 

I understood it. It was engaging. The opening scene in the streets of Virginia, obviously in the early 1900’s, made the characters feel real. You discover John Carter has died. Or has he? No, he’s been transported into another time, an unknown place. Or is it? No, it’s Mars. You know, one of those little planets you learned about in grade school (even the girls.) He takes you on a journey, sometimes whimsical, often times dangerous but obviously heart-felt. A tired story of good vs. evil brought to life with imaginative characters, packed with action and adventure, love and fighting, winning and losing – all illuminated with spectacular special effects.

2) The new Disney trailer released in December, 2011

 This is the stripped down version of the original trailer that shows a lot and says very little. One can only assume so women wouldn’t know they were going to a sci-fi movie.

3) The trailer created by a fan posted February 2012

This trailer is fan-made in hopes of helping Disney sell the movie. It was tweeted by Andrew Stanton, John Carter’s Director and is now my personal favorite.


My advice to marketers? Take heed.

Transparency and authenticity are a must when marketing to women. To to dumb-it-down or to attempt  to trick her will most likely backfire in more ways than one.


My advice to Disney? Change the trailer. Today.

To get to Mars just might require taking a step back to go by way of Venus.

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

Is Marketing To Women All Fun and Games?

Social games have become serious business. In 2011, the total market in North America increased from $1 billion to $1.4 billion, an overall growth of 35%. And of the 13 hours each week that gamers spend on social networks, they play social games for an average of 9.5 hours (study conducted by RockYou® and Interpret, LLC) That is more than one full work day.

So who is the average social gamer? According to this recent Infographic created by Flowtown it is 43-year old females.

A few other facts:

  • 54% of social gamers are women
  • 43% are college graduates
  • 43% make $50,000+ income

The study by Interpret, also revealed:

  • 42% of game players say they are more motivated by social games that offer coupons, or gift cards, or other real-world rewards
  • 24% of players claim they have clicked on an in-game ad to make a purchase.

With the top two reasons for playing social games being friendly competition and interaction, it should be no real surprise that women dominate. But it is the growing trend, the amount of time spent and willingness to click ads that make social games especially appealing to brands. SHE is not playing around.

Who Are Social Gamers?
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

Sheconomy is Speaking at the 2011 MIMA Summit

I am honored to have been asked to be a featured speaker at the 2011 Annual MIMA Summit. The theme is Celebrating the Digital Decade with a focus on consumer insights. Keynote speakers are Avinash Kaushik, the analytics evangelist for Google and Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. A complete line up of speakers can be found here.

I will be presenting on the power of the female consumer in a session titled: Why and How to Effectively Market to Women in Today’s Economic Climate. Are there any topics or questions you feel should be addressed? Also, I would love to know who’s planning to be there!


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

Is Facebook vs. Google+ Similar to Microsoft vs. Apple?

The radical impact Google is making within the social space has reminded me a bit of the early days with Microsoft vs. Apple. Today it’s Facebook vs Google Plus. Much like Microsoft, Facebook captured the bulk of the market early on and rapidly grew on a worldwide basis. And even though Facebook, much like Microsoft has been somewhat discombobulated, they both fulfilled an untapped need. Microsoft redefined productivity in the business world. Facebook revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Both achieved what needed to be done on a functional level.

Apple on the other hand offered equal functionality yet with simplicity and clean sleek design. I admit I am biased as I have always been an Apple person, but as I have played around with Google Plus, I am feeling the same differentiating factors. Google+ is simple  and smoother in design. Good friend, Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa, recently shared a comment referring to the Aspen Ideas Festival:

Design is changing the way we talk to each other.

So true! And I believe Facebook is about to find that out. Facebook is functional and meets a need. But by incorporating thoughtful and logical design, Google+ takes the social experience to a different level.

So who wins? The consumer. I doubt Facebook is going away, but much like Microsoft, they are no longer the only ones playing and will have to step it up. Good competition means choices and ultimately better products for consumers. Google has been trying to get into the social space for quite awhile with little success. But with Google+, I think they have finally created not only something to compete with Facebook (and yes, Twitter,) but something that might even cause a switch.

For example, take a look at Chris Brogan’s (social media extraordinaire) new profile picture on Facebook. I was a bit amused, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg did not feel the same.

What does all of this have to do with marketing to women? Everything. Women want to share, connect and build relationships. And Facebook has met that need. But they also want simple, clean and sleek. And it appears that Google+ has been listening.

As marketers, you need to know social is not a fad or a trend. It is now a way of life and will simply continue to be improved upon – attracting even more women!

Are you prepared to connect with the female market?


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

Pink Done Right Equals PANK® And Male Marketers Should Pay Attention

The segment of women who do not have children is growing and so too is their voice thanks to Melanie Notkin, founder and CEO of SavvyAuntie.com. Notkin has coined the name PANKs® (Professional Aunts No Kids) as well as created this online community to provide a place for aunts to share their passion and love for their nieces and nephews. Membership, in the thousands, continues to boom and some companies are listening.

I asked Melanie to write a guest post providing more insight into this unrecognized and misunderstood market. Boy, did she deliver!

Read on for updated stats, how Sears and others have responded with new ad messages as well as info on the April 26th (that’s tomorrow!) release of her NEW book titled none other than Savvy Auntie.

Bottomline? As marketers, you would be wise NOT to mistake these women for moms. 

From Melanie Notkin: ___________________________________________

This is the time of year when I feel invisible.

Mother’s Day is approaching and my inbox is already dripping with Mother’s Day messaging. And in a few weeks, on that Sunday marked with brunches and beautiful bobbles for mom, I’ll be wished a Happy Mother’s Day too.

Only I’m not a mother. (I do wish I were.)

At 42, I’m part of the new generation of women who could choose to wait for love (like in my case), could choose to love someone of the same gender, could choose not to have children (for whatever valid reason) or could be suffering from a biological issue which challenges fertility (not uncommon as women have their first child later than ever before.)

And it’s a pretty powerful generation. The US Census reports that 46 percent of American women are not mothers. And that’s just through age 44. For all we know, there are more non-moms than moms in America today.

Yet the assumption is that we’re all moms.  Often the labels “woman” and “mom” are interchanged so as to attribute data for women to moms. For instance, if 85 percent of household purchases are made by women, marketers target moms. Well in my household, 100 percent of purchasing decisions are made by me.

Which is why this time of year can make millions of women feel invisible. For marketers to disenfranchise nearly 50 percent of US women is unfortunate. Especially since just about every woman has a child in her life who she loves and adores. Whether we are Aunties by Relation, Aunties by Choice, Godmothers… or just a woman who sprinkles magic to all the children she knows, and/or children around the world (think Oprah!) we’re aunts. And we have the discretionary income and time relative to moms to spend on the children in our lives, and on ourselves.

I’ve dubbed this new segment of modern American women: PANKs® (Professional Aunts No Kids), and it’s growing year after year.  In 1976 only 35 percent of American women didn’t have children.

Just last month, The White House Report:Women in America stated the following:

  • More women than in the past have never had a child.
  • In 2008, about 18 percent of women age 40–44 have never had a child, almost double that in 1976 (10 percent).
  • There has been a steep rise in the share of women age 25–29 who have not had a child, rising from 31 percent in 1976 to about 46 percent in 2008.
  • And we’re childless, longer:
    – The likelihood of a woman having her first child at age 30 or older increased roughly six-fold from about 4 percent of all first-time mothers
    in the 1970s to 24 percent in 2007.
    – 14 percent of first-time moms are age 35 or older.

But still, marketers selling fragrance and flowers on Mother’s Day will throw a wide net trying to catch all those who may be buying gifts for their mother, flooding our inboxes, mail, media and in-store messaging  with “Happy Mother’s Day!” as if all women are moms.

What’s so bad about wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day? Or sending me “Dear Mom” emails?

Marketers are turning off women who are not mothers, cannot be mothers, and have chosen not to be mothers. Not only is it an ineffective use of marketing dollars, it’s pushing away valuable consumer dollars.

Last year, Sears did a fantastic job including all women in their Mother’s Day campaign. Its  :30 second national spot was called “Other Mother’s Day” and it featured all the women in a child’s life, like the child’s aunt and mom’s best friend.

It was a genius commercial that was inclusive, stood out, and made me reconsider Sears as a place to spend my consumer dollars- on Mother’s Day and every day. And I’m not the only one. Here’s some feedback Sears received for their spot:

“I just wanted to say how touched I was by your “Other Moms” Mother’s Day commercial. As a cool aunt to my sister’s kids and the one who lets her best friend’s kids do anything, it was nice to be remembered. I’m proud to be a loyal Sears customer. I’ll be by to pick up a new dishwasher in a few weeks 🙂 Thanks!”

Robert Raible, Sears Vice President of Integrated Marketing, realized he was onto something big when he told me this: “We acknowledge the women like the segment term you’ve taught us, ‘PANKs’ who are not mothers. We’re going to want to continue to be meaningful to this segment too and they will absolutely continue to be important whether we choose to talk to them directly like in this Mother’s Day spot or in other ways. Now that we’ve tapped into it with success, we’re looking for more opportunities.”

Good for Sears and good for brands like PepsiCo, Hallmark and Disney who’ve already invested in this segment through Savvy Auntie.  Whether marketers need better targeting or to be more inclusive of the nearly 50 percent of American women who are not mothers, there’s a real opportunity here to win loyal consumers.

And all it takes is to not wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.


Savvy Auntie, the book: “You’ll be blown away by Melanie Notkin’s expertise on America’s cool aunts, who are over-loved yet overlooked by marketers. If you want to gain the hearts and dollars of these kid-loving, high-spending women, SAVVY AUNTIE is a must read.” Mary Lou Quinlan, CEO, Just Ask a Woman, author, What She’s Not Telling You

Thank you, Melanie!!

Melanie Notkin is the founder of SavvyAuntie.com and author, SAVVY AUNTIE: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids (Morrow/HarperCollins).  Melanie invites you to join the Savvy Auntourage at Facebook.com/SavvyAuntie or find her on Twitter @SavvyAuntie


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

Male Marketers, Don’t Forget to Target the Single Woman

I was honored to be interviewed by Ashley Milne-Tyte for a story on American Public Radio’sMarket Place® radio show. The focus was on the lack of attention and respect that advertisers show single women.

Guys, simply knowing that women are your market is not enough. You must understand WHO she is to connect with her effectively. You must think in terms of lifestages, not ages. You must listen to her. Engaging the single woman is completely different than engaging moms or even married women without children.

The transcript from the show is below or you are welcome to listen here. Thanks, Ashley, Tracy and Melanie. Great story!

No Advertising Love For Single Women

Marketplace®, American Public Radio™

Kai Ryssdal: The Census Bureau says women control something like 80 percent of all the household spending in this country. Retailers and marketers being fairly quick on the uptake, they have geared a healthy proportion of the ads we all see to women. Ads that are pretty heavy on images of motherhood, family and happy couples. Unless, of course, they are cat food commercials, which seem to be almost entirely the province of the single woman. Thing is, more women are single now — getting married later, if at all, or becoming single again later in life. Ashley Milne-Tyte would sure like to know why more marketers haven’t caught on to that.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: I was watching TV the other night when this Lowe’s commercial came on. It shows a bubbly, 30-something woman in her gleaming new home… alone. No handsome husband or adorable kids in sight. She’s discussing her to-do list.

LOWE’S AD: Somehow, updating the bathroom, it just hasn’t gotten crossed off. I’m a grown woman, and I was scared of my own bathroom. Until I went…

OK, I won’t admit to being scared of my bathroom. But I will admit to enjoying the ad. I felt a little glow of pleasure at the thought of that woman happily laying tiles and spreading grout. So how did a cynic like me get gooey over a home improvement commercial?

Melanie Notkin says I finally felt included. She’s CEO of SavvyAuntie.com, a Web site for women who don’t have children.

MELANIE NOTKIN: America seems to talk to all grown-ups as we’re part of an intimate family of a mom, a dad and kids. Single people tend not to be spoken to or tend not to be part of the conversation.

Notkin says most advertisers actually have no idea how to talk to single women.

NOTKIN: When they want the visceral feeling to be happiness, they’re going to show what we qualify as a happy lifestyle, which is family. And people often assume that women who are not married are terribly unhappy.

That’s what was nice about the Lowe’s commercial. The woman was excited about her home, happy and independent. Given how many single women there are, I wondered why so few ads are aimed at us — 44 percent of women over 18 are single, 2 percent more than 10 years ago.

Tracy Chapman directs strategic planning at consultancy firm Just Ask A Woman. She says advertisers want to pitch their products to a broad audience without offending anyone.

TRACY CHAPMAN: They need to justify why they would go after this specific target. I think they want to reach as many women as possible with the amount of money that they have.

But ad industry veteran Stephanie Holland says that’s misguided. She’s executive creative director at Holland and Holland Advertising. She says instead of going for one-size-fits-all, advertisers need to target different types of women or they’re wasting their money. So why don’t they? Because, Holland says, so many decision makers at brands and ad agencies are men.

STEPHANIE HOLLAND: Men have a difficult time distinguishing even among moms, much less coming in and understanding the single female.

She says marketers are missing a big opportunity to target people like me. She says they just need to work on making that connection.

HOLLAND: An understanding of where you are in life as well as tons of other people as single women, and making you feel good about it. And that’s what’s gonna make you feel good about the product.

Take this upbeat approach from Chevrolet. A young woman, fresh from a first date, is picked up by a friend who whisks her away in a bright red Chevy Malibu. They hit the open road.

CHEVROLET AD: He said he was a professional student. No! Of life. Oh, I’m so sorry. Single lane ahead. I’ll be in that lane.

In other words, girlfriends rule. At least for now. I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace. Ashley Milne-Tyte



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