Are you being authentic?  That seemed to be the theme of the first official day of M2W®-The Marketing To Women Conference.  There seemed to be a time when—as marketers—we wanted to show women nothing but the aspirational.  Yet, according to Draftfcb’s Gigi Carroll, “Those brands that represent authentic value are still finding success” despite tough economic times.  Gigi reminded us all that it isn’t so much talking about a recession as it is talking about a rebirth, a renaissance, a “resetting of our socioeconomic thermostat.”  Isn’t that the truth.  Let’s face it—we are living in tough times.  And what I thought was so unbelievably refreshing about today’s speakers, was the simple fact they recognized the reality, but still gave us a practicality of hope.  That isn’t an easy task—but one they all managed to do and one we should do with our consumers.  “Women play an extraordinary role in driving today’s economy,” said Lauren Zalaznick, President of Women & Lifestyle Entertainment at Women@NBCU, Exclusive Presenting Sponsor of M2W®.  She continued, “Brands need to have the right message, at the right time, to the right segment.”    Here are some key quotes from today’s presentations (I just didn’t have time–or space–to put more than one per speaker.  So much great stuff!!):

Kelley Skoloda, Partner/Director, Global Brand Practice, Ketchum
“We all have dragon’s that blow smoke on our dreams, but you can eventually find your white horse.”

Caryn Carmer, Senior Vice President, Co-Practice Leader & Allyson Clarke, Vice President, Insight Creation, MS&L
“Digital is at the center of women’s conversations.  More than 8 in 10 women gather information from external sources and look for more info or online or they start online and take the information to their offline world.”

Wendy Joyce, Marketing Director, H.J. Heinz Co. & Aliza Freud, CEO, SheSpeaks
“We used WOM as a marketing tool, but found it was also a learning tool.”

Mary Lou Quinlan, Founder & CEO, Just Ask a Woman
“Marketers need to stop selling and start listening.”  

Emmy Berlind, Brand Manager, Clorox – Green Works & Diane MacEachern, Founder, Big Green Purse
“It’s a real struggle to say ‘it’s got be for something that’s perfect.’ There isn’t a perfect, but there’s better.”

Kelley Styring, Consumer Strategist & Principal, InsightFarm, Inc.
“We carry more stuff [in our cars] if we have more people around us and if we have more uncertainty in our day.”

Denise Waggoner, VP of Creative Research, Getty Images
“It’s the ‘Obama Effect’—thinking that hope that transcends everything we are going through.”

Melissa Read, Ph.D, VP, Research & Innovation, Engauge
“In addition to the makeup of our brains being different, men and women have different life experiences that drive our needs and behavior.  Boys and girls engage in different things and in different ways making women more relational.”  

Jory Des Jardins, co-Founder & President of BlogHer; Danielle Wiley, VP, Edelman; Jennifer Cisney, Chief Blogger, Eastman Kodak Co.; Susan Wassel, PR & Social Media Manager, Sharpie®; Tina Sharkey, Chairman, Global President, BabyCenter, LLC; Ian Wolfman, Partner, SVP, imc2
“Conversations are already happening before you show up [in social media].  Should we engage in social media has now been replaced by how much do we invest.”

It’s been a day packed with information, insight and fabulous networking—I have business cards falling out of my brief case and am eager to start implementing so many of the wonderful ideas shared during the presentations, workshops and networking sessions.   Can’t wait for tomorrow!  Keep following us on Twitter #M2W.