Marketers Should Take Women Seriously As Consumers

As if we needed another reason to respect women and the value they represent.

Women are by far the dominant purchasers of nutritional supplements and natural products in addition to other household spending categories.

Women are the driving force behind the restoration economy that is arising out of the domains of eating, food, nutrition and health. The values women express across these market categories are unlimited in their variety.

The power to impact or transform these markets comes from the leverage  well educated, savvy, loyal, repeat consumers bring to a market.

Savvy marketers understand that their return on investment occurs when they deliver a rewarding experience for women.

A rewarding experience involves relevance, relationships, and revenue.

The study reports that five years ago the most hated category by women included health care.

Five years later it’s physicians and hospitals. That tells us something about how much more discerning women consumers are becoming It tells us they are well versed enough to know what’s missing for them in a rewarding experience, they can point to physicians and hospitals rather than the more genera,l health care category.

This level of education and engagement is showing up everywhere women have a say about what they’re willing to  purchase.

That’s good news for any marketer playing the “Is It Healthy?” Game.

See Related:A Woman's Heart Is Not Like A Man's

Nutrition News Women’s Health Series

Marketers Should Take Women Seriously As Consumers

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Women are bringing in a bigger and bigger slice of the household income pie. Marketing firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) says the gap between what men and women earn is closing by 1% per year, with 60% of women in the U.S. active in the work force.

Women are forecast to add $6 trillion in additional earned income

over the next five years.

The firm, however, finds that marketers aren’t taking that growing buying power too seriously. It has come out with its first global examination since 2009 of women as consumers. “Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market” is the study’s baroque title, but women are anything but, per the study’s data. The firm notes that women are forecast to add $6 trillion in additional earned income over the next five years.

But consumer-facing companies just aren’t acting on the obvious: women spend are not only becoming better educated than men, but are also spending like it. So marketers might want to add a dash of this data to their marketing mix: over the next five years, working women will drive an increase in earned income globally from $12.5 trillion to $18.5 trillion. The global average of female earned income is expected to rise by about $8,000 during this period, per the study.

Michael J. Silverstein, a BCG senior partner, says women’s increasing economic influence is driven by several trends: they are the majority of undergraduates worldwide (57% of students in college or higher education in the U.S. are women); younger women are entering the workforce “with no limits on their ambition,” said Silverstein; they are increasingly well off and very profitable customers; they are willing to pay more across many categories for products and services; as they become increasingly time constrained, they will trade money for time savings.

The 10 categories women are most dissatisfied with are, starting with the worst, home remodeling, work clothes, home cleaning, physicians, lingerie, hospitals, cars, insurance, formal attire, and cosmetics. Five years ago at the bottom of the barrel were financial services, health care, and consumer durables (including cars.) Women cite poor product design for women; clumsy sales and marketing; inability to address need for time-saving solutions; inability to provide meaningful hook and differentiation and failure to develop community.

The study also notes that women — like men — are stuck in a time management bog with demands like household and finances dragging them away from time for themselves. Here’s a shocker (not): worldwide, 40% of men rarely or never help their wives with home chores. It’s a shocker because the number is probably closer to 98%. Brazil tops out at 63%. The United States and United Kingdom both are at the lower end of the spectrum, with 41%.

Silverstein argues that companies that have figured out what women want have grown sales, loyalty, and category dominance. Baby brand Gerber, he notes, has done well by expanding its product line based on research into what mothers want for their young children; Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer makes floor work faster and less labor intensive; Victoria’s Secret continually changes its undergarment line. The Limited also gets a kudos in the study.

“Women are still burdened by having to manage the family finances, with not enough money, not enough time, and too much stress. Winning companies will address their dissatisfactions with bull’s-eye responses and gain the lead in both current female-controlled spending and incremental spending,” he says.

“Young Mother with Baby and Tablet” photo from Shutterstock.

11 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Getting Media Coverage

A basic understanding of the process and where the story goes are keys to getting media coverage. Making it easy, engaging and effective for media professionals to work with you is often an after thought. A thought after thinking all about you and your product instead of how you want the media to think about it.

11 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Getting Media Coverage


Getting the media to cover your story and products can be a game-changer, but dealing with the media isn’t quite like anything else marketers do. How can you not only get their attention, but convince the media your story is worth covering? Here are 11 tips to increase your odds of making the right kind of news.

1. Be Prepared
Don’t start reaching out to the media until your campaign is ready to go. Have a website that you are proud of and clearly represents your story. Have sample inventory (if applicable), clean photographs (preferably shot on a white background) and a digital media kit that includes product information, images, bios and company info. Everything else can follow with time, but before you even think about picking up the phone to call a journalist, have all of these ready to go when they ask!


2. Define Your Message
Chances are you’ve developed a good bit of literature and collateral for the project. Be sure that the way you are promoting it to the media is consistent with the rest of the message. Nothing is more confusing to consumers than getting mixed messages—all touch points should look and feel the same.


3. Know Who Your Spokesperson Will Be
Are you camera shy? Do you freeze on interviews or fumble with words? One person should be the go-to for all interviews/quotes. Decide who that person will be and make sure they’re always available. Be sure they are well versed in all of the messaging you are trying to convey.


4. Drop Everything When the Phone Rings
If a reporter calls you, you need to call them back within hours—minutes if possible. The same goes for an email. Do not expect a journalist to sit around and wait for your call back. They are always on urgent deadlines, and if you don’t call back immediately, they will find someone else (probably a competitor) who will. Fulfill all information and interview requests within 48 hours as a general rule of thumb.

5. Don’t Ever Try to Sell the Media
You aren’t trying to get the media to BUY your promotion, you simply want to inform them about why it’s better or different than what’s already out there. Avoid flashy sales-like buzzwords and stick to the facts. If your product/service is that exceptional, they’ll be able to see that based on the information alone.

6. Be Timely and Relevant
The launch of a new product or campaign is always newsworthy when it’s about to happen. But eight months after the launch, it’s old news. Be creative to keep your campaign relevant and constantly come out with new ideas or ways to grab the media’s attention.


7. Know Who You’re Pitching
The best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with the publications or TV programs you are trying to pitch. Journalists are only going to cover topics that are relevant to their content. Be smart about whom you are pitching and what you are pitching! If they’re not covering your competitors, chances are they’re probably not going to cover you either.


8. Quality, Not Quantity
Where are your customers hanging out? What magazines are they reading? What TV shows are they watching? Make a Top 20 list and pitch each one differently, targeted to their readership/viewership. What good are 5,000 media placements if no one you’re trying to reach is reading those magazines?


9. Know How to Pitch a Journalist
If you can’t sum up what you’re trying to say in three or four sentences, you are definitely going to lose interest. Reporters barely make it past your first sentence. If you are lucky and they’re still interested, they will read on. But do not pitch a three-page expose about your client, their history, family, future plans, etc. Keep it short and to the point. If you get a bite, the reporter will definitely ask for more information.


10. Press Releases
Press releases are great for providing the meat of the story. They should include the key figures, spokespeople and who/what/when/where/why. Do not use press releases to blind copy 500 reporters on an email that starts, “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”


11. Follow Up
This is probably the most important thing to do, and also the one item that needs to be handled most carefully. Journalists are getting hundreds of emails every day. Chances are yours may have slipped through the cracks. Don’t call 20 minutes after you send the email and ask, “Did you get my email?” It’s okay to send a follow up email if you haven’t heard back within a week of sending the initial email. After that, you can probably assume they’re not interested.

Taryn Scher  is “The Sparkle Boss” at Greenville, S.C.-based boutique public relations firm TK PR.Opens in a new window Reach her at


New Research Defines Buyer’s Journey to 3 Steps

Recognizing how buyers navigate through their purchase process gives sellers the insight to improve their process management for fun and profit.

  |  September 12, 2013   |

Buyers Journey Starts OnlineI’ve heard the term “buyer’s journey” more than ever over the past year and a half. Marketers have been talking about understanding the buyer’s journey for some time now, but I haven’t seen any hard data to define what exactly this term means. I decided to research the buyer’s journey concept to better understand how to leverage it in modern marketing. To understand the buyer’s journey concept, I surveyed 400 B2B buyers and compiled their answers to create the first definitive guide to the modern buyer’s journey.

Why I Surveyed Buyers Instead of CMOs

I’m tired of reading surveys from chief marketing officers (CMOs) when the average CMO only drives a 5 percent click-though rate on emails. That means most CMOs fail 95 percent of the time when trying to drive engagement in the buyer’s journey. So to understand the buyer’s journey, I knew I had to survey the real buyers – not CMOs – if I wanted to get to the bottom of things.

What I Found

When asking buyers, I wanted to really understand their habits and their process much better. From understanding habits and processes, we can then map our marketing to those two behaviors and increase our engagement. So my questioning started with understanding how they research. Understanding research is the key to understanding the buyer’s cycle, because every buyer’s cycle starts with research.

  • The buyer’s journey starts online. The buyer’s journey begins with research, and 76 percent of my respondents said that they start with Google. In contrast, 15 percent of people said that they ask their peer groups first, but they still engage with search at some point in their buyer’s journey. A stunning 99 percent of respondents agreed that their search terms change as their research deepens.
  • The buyer’s journey has three steps. The next question I asked was aimed toward respondents who said that they begin their search on Google: How many times after the initial search do you go back to Google and search again during your research process? Seventy-two percent of respondents returned to Google two to three times during their buyer’s journey. Putting the journey in that context allows us to then craft content appropriate to each stage in the buyer’s journey. This is key because 77 percent of respondents also said they want different content at each stage of their journey.
  • Buyers prefer shorter content. If buyer’s want different content at each stage, let’s talk about the type of content we should be creating. I also asked their preferred size of content. Seventy percent of respondents said they prefer content under five pages long.

If you take these three fundamental understandings of the buyer’s journey, you can easily increase your engagement rates with targeted content and emails and ultimately convert more prospects into leads for your company.

Three Ways to Use This Information

  1. Define the three stages of your marketing cycle. Break your marketing cycle into three stages of interest. Then craft your content to fit each stage. Research shows that you need three stages, and people want different content at each stage. Tailor your content to each stage for increased engagement.
  2. Keep your content short and stage-specific. Make sure your content is targeted to each stage, and under five pages in length. The majority of content out there is generalized and applicable to any or all stages in the buying cycle. If you find that this is the case for your content, try breaking it down into shorter, more easily digestible sections, then separate them out and tailor them to the appropriate stage. This gives you more run out of your efforts, and it gives your buyers a better experience – one that matches the way they want to consume.
  3. Match your SEO terms and SEM buys to your three stages. Ninety-nine percent of people are going to search for a different term at each stage. Understanding this basic truth, and knowing that most buyers like getting different content at each stage, will help you to better match your search marketing with the correct content and relevant calls-to-action.

You can watch me present this data here. Also, please leave me messages in the comments section below or ping me on Twitter @msweezey if you have any questions on this research or how to implement these ideas.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

This column was originally published on July 30, 2013.

Online Content Has Significant Impact On Buying

Content marketing professionals reaffirm that relevance plus relationships lead to results. If either includes being easy and engaging, effective is inevitable in the majority of cases.

CMO Council finds online content has significant impact on buying

The Chief Marketing Officer Council finds online content has significant impact on buying decisions. By Kate Maddox. June 10, 2013 – 6:01 am EDT 

Online Content Has Significant Impact On BuyingThe vast majority of b2b buyers find online content a valuable resource when researching products and services, according to a study released last week by the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

The study, “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field,” was based on an online survey of more than 400 b2b buyers, conducted in April in partnership with NetLine Corp. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said online content has either a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection.

Content Process“Most companies spend at least 25% of their marketing budgets on content creation and distribution on digital channels,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, pointing to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute. “Our focus [with the CMO Council study] was to see how effective is that spend, to what degree are companies producing content that is meaningful and useful to buyers, and what are the nuances around how people are utilizing and sharing that content with their peers.”


According to the study, the most valuable sources of online content in shaping purchase decisions are:

  • professional associations, online communities (cited by 47%);
  • industry organizations and groups (46%);
  • online trade publications (41%);
  • seminars and workshops (41%); and
  • trade shows (35%).


 Relevance – Relationships – Results

Relevance, Relationships, Results“Clearly, what we’re seeing is that people want peer-based content,” Neale-May said. “Those are the most trusted sources—professional affinity groups where buyers can get feedback or advice, industry groups and professional associations.”

The specific types of content b2b buyers value most when making purchase decisions include:

  • professional association research reports and white papers (cited by 67%),
  • industry group research reports and white papers (50%),
  • customer case studies (48%),
  • analyst reports and white papers (44%), and
  • product reviews (40%).

“Content should be created and deployed to take customers through the various procurement phases and upsell and cross-sell opportunities, not just [to] acquire a lead,” Neale-May said. “In qualitative interviews, we found that people are much more cognizant of content being a requirement across the entire customer life cycle.”

B2b buyers said the characteristics they most value in online content are

  • breadth and depth of information (cited by 47%);
  • ease of access, understanding and readability (44%); and
  • originality of thinking and ideas (39%).

The content characteristics buyers most dislike include

  • too many requirements for downloading (50%),
  • blatantly promotional and self-serving (43%) and
  • non-substantive and uninformed (34%).

Easy, Engaging, Effective“I don’t think marketers are necessarily getting it,” Neale-May said. “Part of the problem is that a lot of content gets produced by product people—not content strategists—so it is more self-serving. Marketers are wasting a lot of money putting out content that people are not interested in or responding to.”




The survey also found that 59% of buyers share online content

with more than 25 people.

“These findings suggest that the value of a [content] download is probably greater than you think,” Neale-May said. “Marketers need to rethink and be more adept at tracking where and how content gets shared. Despite all the talk about social networks and collaborative networks, the primary way for sharing content is still through email.”

The survey also found that

  • 41% of b2b buyers use smartphones to access content, and
  • 30% use tablets.
  • Desktop computers are still the most widely used method of accessing content (68%).

“Our goal is to try to get marketers to create better content and track consumption and use of content across the entire customer life cycle,” Neale-May said. “We find that a lot of companies don’t have content strategies, don’t evaluate the performance of the content, don’t have strong advocacy themes and content performance isn’t what it should be.”

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