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WOMEN RULE THE INTERNET. As A Male Marketer, Do You View This As Competition or Opportunity?

I recently read Why Women Rule The Internet on TechCrunch, by Aileen Lee, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

This is a GREAT article and chock full of statistics supporting the headline, some of which I have highlighted below. Aileen also made suggestions and asked some very poignant questions.

  • More female users will likely help your company grow 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?
  • 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.

The data is fresh and new yet continues to affirm there are beneficial rewards for companies that appeal to and connect with women effectively online. And Aileen’s thoughts are spot on.

So, why did this article strike such a competitive nerve with several men? (comments)

Did they miss the point? I think so. The findings overwhelmingly remind us that women are spending more and more time online. And those who develop products as well as advertise to meet her needs are going to swiftly move ahead.

As a male marketer or male business owner who needs to reach the female audience, it would be wise to view findings that reveal the power of the female consumer as opportunity, not offensive.

Does this mean you are going to benefit from listening to the female audience through the ears of  experienced female marketer? More than likely, yes. Because even if you don’t, someone else will.

A few of the findings:

  • 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;
  • According to Nielsen. mobile social network usage is 55% female
  • Brian Solis’s analysis shows females are the majority of visitors on the following sites:
    1. Twitter
    2. Facebook
    3. Deli.ci.ous
    4. Docstoc
    5. Flickr
    6. Myspace
    7. Ning
    8. Upcoming.org
    9. uStream
    10. Classmates.com
    11. Bebo
    12. Yelp
    13. The one site Brian notes where males are greater than females is Digg. (Didn’t I just read where founder, Kevin Rose resigned as CEO and that Digg is not doing well?)
  • More women use Twitter according to bloggers Dan Zarella and Darmesh Shaw’s analyses.
  • In e-commerce, female purchasing power is also pretty clear. Sites like those listed below are all driven by a majority of female customers.
  • 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)
    Diapers ($300m estimated revenue last year)
  • Further, 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.
  • 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 Lane, Plum District, Stella & Dot, Rent the Runway, Modcloth, BirchBox, Shoedazzle, Zazzle, Callaway Digital Arts, and Shopkick are just a few examples of companies leveraging “girl power.”  The majority of these companies were also founded by women.
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook said:
    1. 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.
    2. Women have 8% more Facebook friends on average than men, and spend more time on the site.
    3. 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.

For more insight and findings, view the article in it’s entirety 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
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Men, Hard Proof That Social Engagement Equals Higher Revenue.

We have talked many times here about how the way to connect with women is by understanding them, engaging them and developing authentic relationships. We also talk a good bit about how social media virtually converges with those pressure points through its multitude of channels categorized by social networking (Facebook), publishing (blogs), microblogging (Twitter), image and video sharing (FlickR, and YouTube), bookmarking (RSS) and collaborative tools (Forums).

So it only makes sense that as women flood to the Internet we strategically find ways to meet them there and not only make sure they are aware of our brands, but bond with them through conversations made possible with Web 2.0 technology. Right?

Well, for some… yes. But most male marketers still want to see the proof. That is, as with anything new, there are leaders and there are followers. And now a report, “Measuring the Social Engagement of The World’s Most Valuable Brands—Who’s Most Engaged?” provides great news for both: affirmation and reward for the leaders as well as evidence and direction for the followers.

According to this collaborative study conducted by Charlene Li of The Altimeter Group and Wet Paint, engagement can not only be measured, there is evidence that financial performance correlates with level of engagement. Meaning, it’s *not* just about starting a Facebook page. In fact, it’s all about the multi-channel, deep-and-wide engagement initiatives companies use to connect with women.

Research conducted on the world’s top 100 most valuable brands revealed a surprising conclusion: While much has been written questioning the value of social media, this landmark study conducted by the Altimeter Group and Wet Paint has found that the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social engagement. The relationship is apparent and significant: socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful.

Key Findings of the Study:

1) Depth of engagement can be measured.
As the number of channels increase, overall engagement increases at a faster rate. Engagement differs by industry.

2) Brands participating in the social space fall into one of four engagement profiles.

MAVENS – These brands are engaged in seven or more channels and have an above-average engagement score. Mavens not only have a robust strategy and dedicated teams focused on social media, but also make it a core part of their go-to-market strategy.

BUTTERFLIES – These brands are engaged in seven or more channels but have lower than average engagement scores. Butterflies have initiatives in many different channels, but tend to spread themselves too thin, investing in a few channels while letting others languish.

SELECTIVES – These brands are engaged in six or fewer channels and have higher than average engagement scores. Selectives have a very strong presence in just a few channels where they focus on engaging customers deeply when and where it matters most.

WALLFLOWERS – These brands are engaged in six or fewer channels and have below-average engagement scores. They are still trying to figure out social media by testing just a few channels. They are also cautious about the risks, uncertain about the benefits, and therefore engage only lightly in the channels where they are present.

EngagementChart

3) Financial performance correlates with engagement

  • The findings revealed that there is a financial correlation showing companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media, or MAVENS, surpass their peers in terms of both revenue and profit performance by a significant difference.

”The most socially engaged companies typically enjoyed revenue growth of 18% on average over the last 12 months, while the least socially engaged brands saw revenues fall 6%.”

  • The study also showed that social media reach alone may have a positive impact: BUTTERFLIES enjoyed significantly stronger revenue returns than SELECTIVES or WALLFLOWERS.

Why? Because more touch points can present a ripple effect, inducing viral marketing, boosting brand recognition and driving sales volume.

  • SELECTIVES delivered higher gross and net margins, suggesting that deep engagement in a few channels can be a rewarding and effective social media strategy. Focusing on depth over breadth present an opportunity to better understand the customer, react quickly to customer demand, and improve satisfaction – which in turn generates pricing power and drives business success.

Key Take-aways:

  • Engagement via social media IS important — and we CAN quantify it.
  • It pays in both revenue and profits to engage meaningfully in social media. Emphasize quality, not just quantity.
  • To scale engagement, make social media part of everyone’s job.
  • Doing it all may not be for you — but you must do something.
  • Find your sweet spot – it is better to be consistent and participate in fewer channels than to spread yourself too thin.

For more information check out ENGAGEMENTdb.

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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

Skittles Is Fully Committed to Social Media Marketing

skittles1I have read and heard many comments and opinions over the past week about Skittles’ edgy move with its new Web site that launched last Monday, but I have been most drawn to the debates from traditional marketers. Some still assume that Skittles plans to unveil its “real” site later. They think that this is merely a teaser campaign.

But the reality is, these marketers simply don’t get it. This is not using Social Media as a precursor to unveil a traditional marketing campaign. This IS the campaign. And while time will tell exactly how effective Skittles’ site will prove to be, one thing is for certain. They not only understand the power of Social Media Networking, they know that it is the way of the future.

Skittles is using Social Media to give complete control to consumers to tell the story of their brand. This possibly gives a whole new meaning to consumer-oriented advertising. The only thing the company is saying (or implying) is, “We are so confident with our product, we want everyone to tell how they really feel and if there is a problem, we want to know about it.” Skittles is not only embracing Social Media Networking, they are optimizing it to its fullest extent.

Stan Schroeder, IT journalist and Features Editor for Mashable, noted, “We won’t see all corporations do a complete social media makeover as Skittles did anytime soon, but we will see them give more and more importance to the various social channels out there.”

The longer you choose to rest in the comfortable world of traditional marketing, the further and further behind you will fall and the more difficult it will be to catch up with your competition.

If you are still unclear to the different outlets and tools available, Skittles’ site is a great learning ground. It provides insight to Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. According to Mars, the Skittles.com landing page will regularly change “depending upon what is currently in market.” Check it out.

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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