Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category


Two Types of Marketers: Upstream and Downstream

16

In my industry interactions with marketers (both at startups and at large corporations) I’ve found there is a dichotomy between marketers, and the organizations which they serve, succinctly, I see two types of roles:

1) Downstream Marketers
This style of marketer is most common.  They are often marketing products which are handed to them from product teams, or remote engineering teams, even abroad in other countries.  They often have little say over what they will market, and are often measured on transactional measurements, often signups, leads, or total sales.   The downside for this marketer is they are often non-strategic, and focused on marketing tactics, but the upside is they’re role is often safe and secure for the short term.

2) Upstream Marketers
This role is less common, but often found if there’s a research, strategy, analyst, or intelligence group within the marketing unit.  This group often researchers and interacts with the market to define long term direction of where the market is, then brings in key product teams to define a roadmap based on future direction.  This group has challenges, as if they don’t tie their efforts to the point of transaction (signups, revenue), they’re efforts will not be considered grounded and their value to the company will be challenged.

In the end, a mature marketing organization will have elements of both to serve the brand they’re part of. Downstream marketers that want to develop upstream capabilities can do this by first reading secondary research in their market, then conducting research using surveys, online brand monitoring, and working with third parties who focus on the future of their market.

With the plethora of raw emerging from every direction and, consumer voices, marketers of both types have an opportunity to quickly be strategic and make sense out of this orginization and lead the company –not just push products down the channel.  Prior, I’ve discussed this on Facebook.

Not Just Moms: Untapped Opportunity for Brands, meet the ‘Savvy Auntie’ aka PANKs

20

Left image: Melanie Notkin, in middle, evangelist for Savvy Aunts, at her book launch in Manhattan NYC.

Sex in the City in real life? Professional working woman climbing the corporate ladder? Married women entrepreneurs holding their own? Yes to all.

I so often hear from brand marketers they want to reach the mother bloggers (thank you Moms!), and we’ve seen large industries emerge to serve these very powerful markets, and that’s great –yet what about the rest of the women? I had the pleasure of getting educated about this growing market, which potentially give brands to shift focus away from a saturated market.

Learning about PANKs:
I had an enlightening lunch in the center of Manhattan with Melanie Notkin, a former Marketer at L’Oreal, is the evangelist for this unserved market of Professional Aunts, with No-Kids to better understand this growing market with spending power, which she’s dubbed the Savvy Auntie, and she’s got a website, and company focused on serving these women. While I’ve helped a number of clients on research projects to understand moms, there’s a much broader market we could be looking at: professional women that may be alienated from “mom marketing” with disposable income, Melanie calls these “Savvy Aunties”, and her book with the same title, really brings this demographic to life.

Show me Numbers: Who are these Women?
First, by the numbers, how big is this market? Melanie provided me these numbers, and she’s uploaded a media kit to slideshare, her source is US Census / The White House Report: Women in America (March 2011), she summarizes these women as PANKs or Professional Aunts, No-Kids:

  • American women without children: 47%.
  • Here’s the “women without children” data, broken down by age range:
  • 15 to 19 years: 94.6%
    20 to 24 years: 70.5%
    25 to 29 years: 46.6%
    30 to 34 years: 29.7%
    35 to 39 years: 19.7%
    40 to 44 years: 18.8%

  • In fact, 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 (up from 10 percent in 35 years).  Thats nearly a fifth of all American women likely without child.
  • 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.

Marketing focused Q&A with Melanie Notkin
I also conducted an interview with Melanie I did a Q&A with Melanie to learn more about this under-served market, here’s what we discussed:

Question from Jeremiah: Can you tell me more about demographics and what brands have catered to them? Which brands are catering to these women?

Melanie: Until the launch of Savvy Auntie, there was little way to connect with the PANK. She’s not reading parenting mags, watching kid programming on TV and seeing commercials, and she’s not at the playground to learn what other aunties are talking about so even word of mouth wasn’t available.

Now, brands like: Disney, Hallmark, Yoplait Kids, Hasbro, Scholastic can reach aunts about gifts for their nieces and nephews. And brands like Tropicana, Schick, Yoplait Delights, BareNecessities.com and more can reach women with discretionary income relative to mom to spend on themselves.
While not a Savvy Auntie sponsor, in 2010 Sears aired a Mother’s Day commercial that honored all the mothers in your life, like your aunt and mom’s best friend. I spoke to their head of PR about this direction soon after:

The important thing to note here is the opportunity for brands to be at the top of the Zeitgeist. When you can reach women in one of the most heart-felt parts of their lifestyle – as aunts – and you have acknowledged their power and influence in the family village – and at the mall, airport or bank – then you probably have brand-loyalists for life.

To quote a Twitter reply when I announced Tropicana had become a Savvy Auntie sponsor because they “value the role of the aunt in the Family Village” – “I always knew their orange juice tasted better!”

Jeremiah: Why is this different from Mom bloggers?

Melanie: First of all, it’s not for moms (although some “Mommy-Aunties” do love it too) It’s for the nearly 50 percent of American woman who are not moms but love the children in their lives.

Savvy Auntie is a multiplatform media company and was never designed to be a digital-only platform. SavvyAuntie.com isn’t a blog; it’s an online community or online magazine. I don’t share publicly about my own nieces and nephews and it’s not a platform for my personal views on aunthood. It’s filled with Expert information and advice, Activity ideas, Gift ideas (I’m a toy expert) and Community. My book, SAVVY AUNTIE: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids (William Morrow/HarperCollins) is a WSJ Best-Seller. I founded Auntie’s Day in 2009 to acknowledge the aunts and godmothers in America every fourth Sunday in July. I also launched the Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards in 2009 to give aunts a list of holiday gift ideas that are sure to be winners

But as much as I build my own platforms, I leverage external platforms to support the Savvy Auntie brand. I’m one of the 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter. You can also find a very active and engaged “Auntourage” on Facebook. As of this writing, there are over 72,000 Fans there which rivals iVillage and Lucky Magazine – both decade-old women’s media brands. You can also find me on HuffingtonPost.com (my posts have gone so viral I ended up on CNN that week) and PsychologyToday.com. I appear on TV and on radio.

Jeremiah: What is their income? Tell me about their spending power, this is important to executive decision makers.

Melanie: There is no publicly released HH (Household) income data on women without children, per say. Here’s what I can tell you:
Whether single, married, or partnered, we PANKs pack a powerful punch. Especially during economically turbulent times, “there isn’t a business alive” that can afford to overlook our financial clout, says Mary Lou Quinlan, founder and CEO of the marketing firm Just Ask a Woman and author of What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It.

Here are some key stats that demonstrating the power of the PANKs’ collective purse.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 50 percent of single women own their own homes. They’re also the fastest-growing segment of new home buyers, second home buyers, car purchasers, new investors, and travelers. (Who hasn’t dreamed of taking the nieces and nephews on their first trip to Disney World?) Twenty-seven percent of American households are headed by women, a fourfold increase since 1950.

Of American women who draw annual incomes of $100,000 or more, nearly half don’t have children. In fact, the more a woman earns, the less likely she is to have kids.

Jeremiah: Who Do They influence? Are they socially active? Marketers want to know the benefits of engaging these Women.

Melanie: We’ve been told again and again that moms influence 85 percent of the HH purchases. But the stats usually refer to women – not moms exclusively. In my household, for instance, I am in control of 100 percent of buying decisions. Whether single, married or partnered, women without children have purchasing power like mom, only we may buy less milk and more pink cocktails. (Savvy Auntini anyone?).

They influence each other – and probably influence mom. After all, the ‘cool aunt’ may know the best lip gloss or latest trendy gym class to take.
They also influence their nieces and nephews and other children in their lives. From my book: “Simply being who we are is far too often regarded as “different”—which I put in quotes to emphasize how some people say that word as if being different is a bad thing. Here’s a great rebuttal: In his book The Forgotten Kin: Aunts and Uncles, author Robert M. Milardo, Ph.D., a professor of family relations at the University of Maine, writes, “Parents and nonparents, homosexuals and heterosexuals are valued as aunts and uncles in part because the social conventions that define aunting and uncling simply permit, and sometimes even encourage unconventionality.” The notion that our uniqueness is precisely what makes us such a highly valuable member of the American Family Village is one of the loveliest ideas I’ve ever heard.”

“Aunthood in and of itself has a profound and positive effect on our own personal development. Says Milardo, “The relationships aunts and uncles establish can provide personal satisfaction, opportunities for the development of lifelong friendships, a connection to family and community, a sense of place located in the convoy of generations and the opportunity to enact generative themes.” In other words, aunthood gives meaning to our lives today, and whether we wind up single, partnered or parenting, we give meaning to the generations to come.”


I appreciate the time Melanie spent to educate me on this market and providing me, and now armed with a new perspective, now that I think about it, I’m surrounded by PANKs and Savvy Aunties at work, at home, at family events, and at play.  Now, back to you, what brands do you see catering to this specific set of women?

Any Savvy Aunts out there? Tell us how brands can better serve your needs in the comments below, or on my Google+ thread.

The Peculiar Marketing Trends Among The Social Software Industry

31

The social software space has been conducting some interesting marketing techniques, and I’m here to comment on what I’ve seen.  Being an attendee at dozens of shows a year, also receiving more emails than I can count from these vendors, I wanted to provide a broader perspective, and then get your comments.

In addition to the usual forms of marketing from working with PR agencies, press releases, taking over SERP pages of a competitor,  brochures, white papers, case studies, webinars, and the lot, I’m seeing a few interesting trends in their marketing mix I wanted to highlight:

1) Social Software Vendors Ironically Invest in Airport Display Advertising. While I’ve heard about it, I saw it for the first time in Chicago airport this week, Buddy Media’s print advertising was prominantly displayed, here’s their blog post touting the campaign.  Given their hefty investment raise of $54 million a few bones tossed on display advertising seems like a small play.  Yet Andrew Jones, Altimeter Researcher heard first hand from brands we interviewed that they did not want to see a vendor they would hire invest in that way.  I’d argue that Chicago is ripe for brand managers, agencies and the lot, and because no other vendors are deploying on print, this is a smart play.   Marketing  is, after all, integrated, right?

2) In a bite-sized world, Infographics are the new White Paper. I’ve seen a number of changes as our attention span decreases (first of all, thank you for making it this far in my post) as vendors shift from long form white papers to shorter form content.  This trend?  I say we’re moving away from an appetite of content steak to shish kabob –yet the balance is frequently off.  The earliest pioneer in this space was Mint, which aggregated user data and published financial index data to compare young Gen X males to each other.  Lately, we’ve seen a heavy output of infographics from Eloqua (a client) which is used to reach influencers, tap into their egos, and get them to trigger discussions.  Proof? This Blog Tree infographic is such link bait, and yes Web Strategy blog is an orange leaf (but I ain’t fallin yet).   Their team tells me they show an increase in relevancy from these discussion, all tracking using their tool set, and they work with premium infographics firm Jess3 and DIY infographics for marketers from Visual.ly for the rest of us.  Up next?  eBooks are on the rise.  Wait for it.

3) Female Promotional Models Continue to Lure on Conference Floors. As one of the keynotes at a large software conference, I ventured onto the vendor show floor.  Surprisingly, I found many incumbent software and marketing software firms still hiring promotional models (also known as “booth babes” –which feels dirty even to write), do note that Salesforce doesn’t dictate what happens in these booths, it’s dependent on the vendor.  While these attract cameras, and a certain type of eager male, I hesitate on how this may limit bringing executives who don’t want to be seen near them in our always publishing twitpic world.  Furthermore, we know that many of the Corporate Social Strategists are women climbing in their career, I can’t imagine this would attract them to their booth.

4) Humanizing the Brand with Real World Mascots. Beyond just the cutsy logos of Seesmic, Placast, Hootsuite and beyond, we’re starting to see full costumed mascots appearing.  Yet, often, these mascots appear in the enterprise social space, such as Sassy and Chatty from Salesforce, and Get Satisfactions JarGon, an anti-mascot who highlights old school IVR. We’re also seeing street teams at Oracle and Salesforce conferences do battle over your attention, an old trend, not-unlike any local marketing effort.  While they are great for the conference TwitPic and comedic relief, to me this seems more than ironic as social software is to humanize the brand –so why don’t we use humans?

Now, I’d love to hear form you?  Do you think these four forms of marketing from the social software vendors are sufficient to cut through the noise?   Is airport advertising, infographics, promo models, and walking mascots the future of social software marketing?

The Three Types of Companies: Biggest, Better, and Different

20

I want to share with you, I’ve found there are only three types of companies. Once you understand the three variations, you’ll be a better consumer, marketer, or leader.

I take a lot of briefings from companies, in fact, hundreds every year. I also meet with many different corporations who are our clients for longer term engagements and have found a clear pattern in just about every industry. In fact this doesn’t just apply to the brand, but also the specific products within a market. And deep down, when you look carefully, you’ll find this applies to siblings too.

The Three Types of Companies:

1) Biggest.
This company or product, will always make the claim they are the biggest, largest, have the most customers. You’ve heard of how McDonalds’ has served billions of Hamburgers, or how Microsoft has sold the most software licenses, or how Ford was the first auto manufacture, or Coke is the top beverage brand on the planet.. You’ll also know these companies as they’ll tout their rankings on Fortune 100, or financial growth. Often, these companies are the standard, and all others measure up to them, “We are the largest, the first, the wealthiest”. We often find these products fit the masses, but may lack in other areas such as specialization or variety.

2) Better.
This company or product, is locked in a second place position against Biggest. For example, you’ve heard of how Burger King offers variety of their menu, or how Dell offered the customized on the web products over 10 years ago, or how Toyota challenge big cards during the gas crises decades ago, or how Pepsi wants you to take their taste challenge. They will differentiate by making their products better than the competitors, by changing variety, pricing, or customization, “We’re better than the other guys, who can’t serve everyone’s needs”. We often find these companies to offer premium alternatives, suiting for more than mainstream appetite.

3) Different.
This company or product will distinctly position themselves as an alternative to the the first two by offering a complete different option. Perhaps you’ve tried In-N-Out Burger, or seen how Apple wants you to think different with their products, or how Mini wants you to drive their unique cars, or how 7up positioned themselves as the UnCola. They will attack the primary model of the first two, and suggest they are only for a certain type of buyer. “be different, stand out, and we’re only for distinguished tastes”. These companies have specific offerings, that buck the trend, and will go out of their way to stand apart.

A few rules of the road: It goes without saving that multiple companies and products can all fit in one category, we often see multiple companies claiming to be the top dog. And also we should expect to see companies traverse these three different categories, and all of that is normal.

Now that you know the three types of companies, you can start to be a better buyer, marketer, and leader. Know where they fit in the your selection process, and know where you fit between Biggest, Better, and Different.