MN AMA – Marketing to Women – Nine Essential Ways to Engage Her in Your Brand

shehivemarketingShe Hive Marketing (Betsy Perez and Sharon Carleton)   gave very interesting presentation  and useful points to consider immediately. Marketing to women – related statistics was quite curious.

Why target women?

83% of all consumer purchases are done by women, and over 90% are influenced by women, women as a category outspend every other category, women involved into 89% of all consumer electronics purchasing decisions, do 80% of health care decisions, have 7 million more credit cards, and involved into majority of business purchases.

91% of women believe advertisers don’t understand them.

marketing-to-womenRecommended book – Marketing to Women by Marti Barletta

People are the most interesting in women’s lives… it is important to concentrate on human benefits and the user, not the product.

Portraying the target market – “the 10 rule” – 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. Women can feel depressed if a woman on the picture looks too much close to herself. The image does not have to represent a beautiful woman, but a fit one.

Communication for men – facts. Communication for women – “scoop.” Example: Wii is explaining how to fit the activity that the product makes available into her life.

9 ways to engage a woman:

1. Ask her what she thinks. Women are not as comfortable disclosing their opinions in a group of strangers (that can be dominated by a strong personality). Smaller group of women where participants know each other could be more effective. Online possibilities: surveys, communities, rating and feedback sites.

Quarkbase – a free tool that allows evaluation of different websites, including number of links from social bookmarking sites.

2. Get into her conversations.

84% of women will tell friends when they receive a positive brand experience; brands with most conversations grow 4 times faster compared to an average brand.

Example – Charmin cleanest New York bathroom

Blogosphere is important for targeting women; Facebook is growing number of boomer women
Twitter: 64% of moms follow at least one brand, 48% of moms are willing to try product or service recommended on Twitter

But – women may not be comfortable receiving rewards for recommending something to their friends – charitable donations might work more effectively.

Caution about social media – it is important to understand the possible pitfalls; remember Motrin commercial mishap 

jackcards3. Don’t disappoint her online. Women are comparing your website to every great web site on earth. Yes, it is important to update content. Amazon is a good example for functionality and usability.

Example: Jack Cards  – a web site that helps remembering birthdays and other important event. The site allows selecting cards and dates and will send a card to the user in advance. It helps save time and maintain relationships.

momspanelExample: Moms panel from Disney World  women expect interaction and may not want to limit themselves to “brochure ware” web site with tips on trips and recommendations. Moms panel provides this experience.  

4. Go viral.

Caution from another presentation – viral can not be a strategy… it is not possible to plan for viral video – infamous Elf Yourself was one of 20 web sites produced

Though a classic viral marketing success, Elf Yourself was not connected to the brand enough and many of the users did not know what brand produced the site.

JC Penny viral video and site Beware of the Dog House

5. Market for the “thrift shift:

11% of women optimistic that the recession will end soon
39% of women consider their financial situation as “not good enough”

6. Be a need, not a want

More and more people are using lists when shopping

Wal-Mart: you can find you “wants” here too… on budget.
McCafe – luxuries without the guilt (women feel guilt too often)

7. Back to the basics. People are doing more activities themselves.

55% cook more meals at home, trips to grocery store are up, and gardening is up.
Landscaping companies offer to put in gardens instead of traditional landscaping.

8. Remember who has the money

Boomers are online and constitute 29,8% of US Internet users.
Millenials (eco-boomers) – most influenced by current economy (were laid off multiple times).

Cross-generational marketing (Wii Fit) – helps to keep the family together, what women find important.

9. Make her laugh.  Even sensitive topic can be presented with humor.

MN AMA – How Twitter Fits Into Today’s Business

twitterAnother great AMA event with Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press technology editor and author of “Twitter Means Business”

Julio’s book “Twitter Means Business” is the required reading for one of University of Minnesota classes…

Some notes from the event:

  • What is Twitter? Twitter is Web publishing…  Blogging is time consuming, twitter is not.
  •  Twitter is a big water cooler.
  • Twitter is good for meeting new people. Facebook is better to communicate with people you know.
  • Twitter is something new…

Companies on Twitter:twitter-book

  • Comcast is on twitter; the company scans the twits and contact people who are having difficulties with the service. Comcast is “helping itself.”
  • Sears is not on Twitter; unsatisfied customers are free to express their disappointment without any intervention from the company’s side. Sears is “blissfully unaware” about unhappy customers.

Separate Twitter account can be created specifically for press releases – interesting…  and very reasonable.

Company can set up Twitter account to do one thing, but the effort can morph into something completely different…(similar to blogs)

In a company, managing Twitter account has to be somebody’s job…

MN AMA – Building Digital Relationships

Building Digital Relationships – unexpectedly enlightening event. I was surprised to see less attendees on the event than last Marketing Mixer with the topic of creating career portfolios… From another side, more marketers are probably preoccupied now with career portfolios than with building digital relationships… Whatever the situation is, many of us who were lucky to attend the event left with a few ideas and discoveries.

Curious: the company changes its identity every 150 days… and believes it is necessary for the continuous evolution. Why 150 days? It is a time a little shorter than 6 months – and software is usually updated every 6 months. World is changing fast… Hm… I am feeling guilty for not posting anything on Twitter last week… 🙂

The current site has 4 versions (can be found after refresh).

Changing web site grows conversions…

“We build digital relationships by telling stories.”

Successful projects:
AMEX is concentrating on mobile (brand extension from web to mobile).
Discovered that high card value customers have i-Phones. Started small. Main question: is the content relevant for the mobile device? AMEX is moving core value to different platforms. Mobile device is used as an account management tool. i-Phone enrollment tripled.

Key messages:

  • test, test, test
  • start somewhere, even if small
  • make mistakes and evolve
  • there is no right way in mobile… yet.

Starz Entertainment

The company started to think about themselves as Starz 2.0 and needed a platform for the future growth. Flashy site, but with though about SEO. Company was happy that “we can do marketing again.” Old Flash-based site that was not searchable was limiting. Site traffic and engagement doubled.

Key messages:

  • continuous evolution on the web
  • measurable
  • cost effective
  • continuous (if built right)
  • get competitive gains FAST

Dairy Queen

The goal was to modernize into a more engaging site.
Site traffic increased 97%, use of store locator increased, number of leads increased 6 times, store locator is available on mobile device. Unexpected result: more people are applying to purchase the franchise – the application is easier to find. Also created children’s game that is comparable in time per visit to main twine sites.

Key messages:

  • even iconic brands have to change
  • sometimes dramatic change is needed

Industry is changing…
GM is now channeling 50% of marketing budget online.
Online starts the campaigns… and other channels follow

Space 150 extensively uses Google analytics for their clients (unless real-time data is needed), builds when warranted external sites on Sharepoint 2007 platform. The agency uses totally different approaches when presenting ideas to IT (from technology perspective) and Marketing (brand, brand, brand.

MIMA – Getting from Data to Design: Truly Practical Methods for Using Personas Every Day

Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product DesignMIMA educational event  was as spectacular as usual. This time the presenter, Tamara Adlin, not only delivered her valuable message, but also did it in an engaging manner, with amusing stories and hilarious (but very true) analogies.

I have all intentions to read The Persona Lifecycle : Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design – the book that the speaker co-authored.

What are personas?  Personas are translators and focusers. Personas help to communicate the vision of the executive team.

Know thy user.

When you are not customer focused:

  • too many different and unconnected sites
  • your company’s organizational structure shows on your web site (corporate underpants)
  • “It has to be on the home page!” Hippo rules – by Avinash Kaushik
  • Significant amount of information, no calls to actions

Data is not always usable!

Demographic data is useful to find out where to advertise
Personas help design products. You have a person and his goals. Personas used for design, not for targeting.

A precise persona aligns the whole team (IT, creative, etc. clearly understand who is the audience).

Often, personas are created but not used.
Persona’s life cycle:

  1. Family planning (what problems are you trying to solve; finding the data)
  2. Conception and gestation (turn data into personas)
  3. Birth and maturation (persona is introduced into the organization via an internal campaign)
  4. Adulthood (personas do their jobs)
  5. Achievement and retirement (using and reusing personas)

Personas help prioritize business efforts:
– based on persona’s needs
– based on business needs

Competitor review is not about collecting of features, but how the persona can satisfy his or her needs.

Important: create personas, and then ask the executive team to prioritize them. “ You have 100 points, give personas points based on the business objective.”  The prioritization is done individually, and then shared on the white board; usually, no two persons have the same number.

How to prioritize: “If we do the next successful release, which persona should be happy?”
At the feature meeting: “Would the most important persona like this feature?”

Then, features are evaluated how beneficial they are and how difficult are they to build. 

Design Map:
From the persona’s point of view what should happen?  Person wants: See x, find y, do z. Then, build it.

What you can do tomorrow?

  • Create ad-hoc personas (what are personas trying to do?)
  • Prioritize these personas
  • Review you site and competitor sites from the point of view of these personas

Start tiny! 

Location and food was great as usually.

MN AMA – Explore Minnesota—How to Rebrand and Market the State


As usually, very informative event for marketers not only in travel industry… Actually, the benefit from looking at other industries is significant: it opens the eyes to the possibilities not limited by the “home industry” perspective.  Check a great description of the project and the speaker on the MN AMA web site.

Interesting points from the event:

  • The start: research. What does the traveler want?  Where the traveler finds the information?
  • Traditional approach of sending brochures still has a place, but…
  • The research showed that the traveler prefers to receive the information from the internet; the traveler wants to be inspired, to be informed (in an authentic way), and to talk to other travelers.
  • Rebranding Minnesota concentrated on the web site with features that travelers wanted; all traditional advertisement lead prospects to the site
  • Consumer – generated content is used very successfully and seeded on other social media video sites
  • Most people love to view video, but not necessarily upload it

Examples of viral videos (very entertaining!!!) 🙂

The site owners try to make sure that videos are less than two minutes long.

The project of rebranding Minnesota exceeded more than twice its plan on web site traffic increase, and achieved significant increase in inquiries. The advertisement on the site was quickly sold out.

Interesting question from the audience: was the change initiated internally, or did it come from an agency’s advice? The realization that the change needed came internally; the RFP to search for agencies to execute the new direction included description of the new point of view.

The understanding of the change came from research.

MN AMA – Springboards for Innovation: Going Beyond the Product

MN AMA January Monthly Meeting was as exciting and thought provoking as anticipated.  

A new and very useful element of the meeting was a few minutes of “organized networking.” We were lucky to have a networking coach – Susan Stoen from Spoken Impact  – one of valued AMA sponsors. As a part of the “organized networking,” we had to produce our own “30 seconds commercial” for our neighbors at the table. 

Oops… I realized that I actually did not have one…  I was ready to pitch AMA or Toastmasters club, I was ready to discuss the industry, but I could not tell what I was actually doing at work… Great point!  Now I understand why some people from other departments at work don’t quite know what I am doing exactly besides serving as a passionate industry evangelist…

 FoodI will have something coherent by the next meeting…  But despite my self-promoting clumsiness, the “organized networking” provided me with more business cards of fellow AMA members than I ever managed to collect. Also, this part of the program kept me from the third plate of wonderful free food at the event. By the way, this is a picture of my second plate…yummmmm…  🙂

The innovation presentation and discussion was spectacular. Mary Poul, Business Development Manager, 3M Healthcare and Rita Shor, Shor Enterprises, LLC and former 3M Innovator demonstrated different approaches to innovation. It was very pleasant to see two leaders cooperating seamlessly in the process of the presentation. Mary and Rita seemed to know each other so well, that they could work together, rather than splitting the presentation into individually owned pieces. Attendees of the event also received the copy of the PowerPoint.

We not only looked at tools that can facilitate the innovation, but also tried a couple of examples from different industries. Unfortunately, my personal quirks limited any innovative ideas I could contribute. We were trying to innovate in the movie rental business and the wine industry (my family don’t own a TV, and we also don’t drink any alcohol) 🙂  However, it was very entertaining to follow the discussion at our table and hear “innovations” from other parts of the room.

Takeaways that we can use now:

  • Thinking about innovation as a business approach rather than only a product characteristic.  Doblin 10  – Ten types of innovation
  • Thinking about value innovation rather than just innovation.  Is the new feature valued by customers or just marginally useful for them?
  • Blue Ocean Strategy Thinking about innovation as a business approach that needs to look at the “big picture” and take market/competition into consideration. Blue Ocean Strategy Value curves suggests plotting principal factors of an industry on x axis and level of offering by the company on the y axis. To be innovative, the company’s offer must be different from “me too” approach in the industry, and the company’s offer also need to be valuable for the customers.
  • Thinking about “beyond the company” innovation. The resources available in the company may not be sufficient; the Internet allows tapping into the “long tail” of innovation by the industry. Interesting, though it was not mentioned at the presentation, a marketing idea web site was just released in January – BootB  It provides creative briefs in a dozen of languages, including two that I speak, and offers anybody to suggest a creative solution that can be used by companies. The “price tag” of each creative idea is also available – hey, we can try our marketing creativity!  🙂

Two books were mentioned at the meeting:

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

I am on the page 131!    This is probably one of “must read” for anybody interested in business.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
I just read an introduction…  This one is next. 🙂

The food at the event was absolutely magnificent – as you can see by my full second plate 🙂