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women cookingHectic schedules and tighter budgets have changed the way consumers cook, shop, and break bread, according to an audience trend report from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. The survey included 1,000 respondents over age 18.  Key findings include:

More Families Sitting Down for Meals at Home

  • 65 percent of those surveyed enjoy a sit-down dinner at least five times per week.
  • More than half the respondents sit down for breakfast at least five times per week.

Magazines, Websites, and TV Cooking Shows Primary Sources of Culinary Inspiration

  • When it comes to recipes, media are more influential than word-of-mouth recommendations. Respondents cited cookbooks, recipe websites, food-focused magazines, and TV cooking shows as their resources for recipes—ahead of suggestions from friends and family.
  • People are actively seeking mealtime ideas. More than one-third of respondents say they use recipes for inspiration more often than they used to.
  • Over 60 percent of respondents say health and efficiency are the most important factors when considering a recipe.

Time-Starved Families Sharing More Mealtime Responsibilities

  • Busy schedules have prompted families to divvy up everyday cooking responsibilities: 25 percent of women say cooking is shared among family members and that husbands are increasingly tying on the apron.
  • Prep time is changing, too: 48 percent of those surveyed cook in larger batches to save time.

Consumers Are Savvier About Products They Buy

  • Finding deals has become a source of satisfaction and even a passion: 81 percent of those surveyed say they are proud of budgeting.
  • Although supermarkets are the leading source for groceries, 55 percent say they shop at multiple retailers to get better deals.
  • Consumers are purchasing healthier products at the grocery store: 95 percent say they know what’s healthy for them, while 87 percent say they read food labels.
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Pink Soma BraSoma Intimates recently launched a nationwide bra drive to benefit women in need. Through July 28th, 2010, Soma Intimates is collecting new and gently used bras in over 100 Soma Intimates locations. “We’ve learned that thousands of women and girls across the country are in need of bras,” states Laurie Van Brunt, Soma Intimates’ brand president. “A bra is one of the least donated, but most needed items for the homeless and victims of domestic violence. While donating a bra may sound like a small thing, it makes a big difference to women who have to make the choice between putting food on the table and buying a bra.”

The gently used bras will be donated to local women’s shelters and breast cancer support groups. If a donated bra is not wearable, The Bra Recyclers, a textile recycling organization, will recycle the bra components to ensure that no bra ends up in a landfill.  In addition, Soma Intimates will donate more than 1,000 new bras to Dress for Success.  “Dress for Success is grateful for the generous support of Soma Intimates,” states Blair Badenhop, corporate contributions manager of Dress for Success Worldwide. “Hundreds of women will benefit from Soma’s incredible bra donation.”

Piplerlime ShoesPiperlime, the online shop for shoes, apparel, handbags and jewelry, is the newest retail sponsor of Lifetime’s Project Runway for season 8.  “Project Runway captures the heart of fashion lovers everywhere.  We cheer on the contestants, watch the celebrity judges and are inspired by the styles,” said Jennifer Gosselin, general manager of Piperlime.  “Piperlime is excited to be part of this celebration of creativity.”

As part of the collaboration, Piperlime has redesigned the series’ “Accessories Wall” by painting it their signature green and loading it with fashionable accessories for the designers to choose from to complete each challenge. They will also feature a shopable version of the “Piperlime Accessories Wall” on piperlime.com, giving customers a chance to buy the items featured on the show.  “We love shoes.  We adore accessories.  So it is especially meaningful that this partnership showcases that part of our brand’s heritage,” Gosselin continued.  Each week, Piperlime will also have exclusive video content from Project Runway, offering behind-the-scenes insight from each week’s challenge winner. The season’s winning designer will have a chance to design and sell an exclusive collection on piperlime.com.

The new season of Project Runway debuts on Thursday, July 29th on Lifetime.

Pitcher of Crystal Light LemonadeThis summer, Crystal Light is making a splash as a title sponsor of the 2010 Lilith Tour, the festival celebrating women in music that began its U.S. tour last weekend.  Crystal Light will be at all the tour stops sharing new Crystal Light Pure Fitness, a low-calorie fitness drink mix with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.  “Staying hydrated is important when heading to outdoor festivals like Lilith,” said Mary Garris, senior associate brand manager, Crystal Light, Kraft Foods. “Crystal Light is all about water – and the great flavor of Crystal Light drink mix helps women enjoy drinking the water they need.  We are excited to be a part of Lilith as a title sponsor and to share Crystal Light with concert-goers all summer long.”

At all U.S. tour stops, Crystal Light will be in Lilith Village bringing fans a “Refreshing Oasis” where they can get out of the sun to relax and rejuvenate with cooling mist and massage chairs.  Once there, they can also enjoy free samples of Crystal Light Pure Fitness.  In addition to offering a refreshing onsite experience to help concert-goers stay hydrated as they enjoy the show, Crystal Light is hosting pre-concert tailgating events in select cities where women can enjoy music, fun and prizes, and stock up on summer essentials for a day at Lilith or whatever they have planned.

Doctor consulting female patientHysterectomy is the second most frequent major surgical procedure among reproductive-aged women (after c-sections) and according to a new poll by HysterSisters, an online community providing woman-to-woman support for gynecological health issues/concerns, 53 percent of women who had hysterectomies did not seek second opinions before scheduling their surgeries.

To encourage women to seek second opinions before a hysterectomy or any life-changing surgery, HysterSisters founder Kathy Kelley created Give Me a Second, a new awareness campaign with an online video and website at givemeasecond.com. “Second opinions can do three important things for any woman facing a major decision about any surgery, not just hysterectomy,” says Kathy Kelley, who started HysterSisters in 1998 after her own hysterectomy. “They can give you new information, a new perspective or peace of mind. Every woman deserves a second opinion.”

Especially for women facing gynecological health concerns or disease, second opinions may result in fewer invasive surgeries, fewer hysterectomies, an increase in alternative treatments and improved quality of life for women. Kelley says by asking more questions and getting second opinions, women become respectful partners with their doctors and improve the quality of their care and their outcomes. “Give Me a Second wants women to know it’s okay to talk to more than one doctor,” she says. “In fact, it’s good for your health.”

Woman at computer reading emailA new study by ExactTarget finds women are more likely than men to subscribe to email marketing messages.  The findings are based on a survey of more than 1,500 consumers aimed at identifying consumers’ motivations for engaging with companies through email, Facebook and Twitter.  “Consumers are turning to Facebook and Twitter to show support for their favorite brands. However, when it comes to on-going deals, email remains the channel of choice,” says Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group.

Key findings of the research include:

  • Women are more likely than men to sign up for emails in order to obtain deals and promotions (67 percent compared to 57 percent).
  • Millennials (consumers age 15 to 24) are twice as likely to subscribe to email (56 percent) in search of on-going deals as they are to search for deals on Facebook (28 percent).
  • 88 percent of women indicate that promotions have motivated them to subscribe to email marketing messages, compared to 70 percent of men.
  • 65 percent of women have subscribed to email marketing messages in return for a “free” product, compared to 44 percent of men.

During the 6th Annual M2W®-The Marketing To Women Conference, SheSpeaks  CEO Aliza Freud shared some interesting insight from the agency’s latest Shopper Marketing Study—which was conducted jointly with iVillage—that showed engagement with women through online community websites, forums and message boards all had a dramatic influence on driving product preference, loyalty and ultimately, purchase.  According to the study, 77% of women say that they are more likely to look for a product in a store after reading a review about it on a community forum or message board and the majority, 67%, are also more likely to make an in-store purchase as a result of reading about it on a community forum or message board.

The study showed that while social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are valuable communications channels, with 51% of women actively following brands and retailers online, these channels were cited as relatively less influential in prompting purchases (19%). Other digital channels such as online coupons (68%), online product reviews by consumers (61%), emails from companies/brands (45%) and articles read online (41%) are much more influential.

“When it comes to building preference and motivating in-store sales, digital is emerging as a strong contender. If brands can motivate trusted customer recommendations and couple them with a “call to action” such as a coupon, it’s a powerful one-two punch that drives sales and advocacy,” says Freud.

Additional highlights from the study:

  • Digital communications have an impact on a variety of brand-related behaviors. Peer recommendations about products on message boards makes women more likely to look for a product in the store (77%), more favorable about the product while shopping (74%), more likely to choose the brand/product over others (70%) and more likely to purchase the product in the store (67%).
  • The influence of digital channels varies greatly. Although 51% of women are fans or followers of grocery, health/beauty or household products brands and the stores that carry them, consumer reviews on shopping sites are a top influence for 61% of respondents. Online articles, by comparison, are a top influence with 35% of respondents saying that reading online content (articles) is more influential now than one year ago. Blogs were also identified as an influence by 33% of respondents. Facebook and Twitter fall to the bottom of the list with only 19% saying that posts from friends and 11% saying that posts from brands, are top influencers.
  • Whether from online or offline sources, coupons and other consumers’ opinions are the top influencers of purchase decisions of food/beverage, health/beauty and household products. Online coupons (68%), store coupons (66%), consumer reviews on shopping sites (61%) and online recommendations from friends (59%) are the top influencers. Sixty percent also say that online coupons are more influential on their purchases now than one year ago and 51% say consumer recommendations on websites are more influential.
  • Women are using the Internet to make shopping decisions. 81% of women have visited a superstore website in the past month, 70% visited a food/beverage brand website and 69% visited a health/beauty brand website. They also actively read email newsletters they receive from companies (61% read emails from food/beverage brands, 55% from health and beauty brands and 53% from superstores).
  • Women spend between 6 and 60 minutes preparing for a shopping trip. This preparation includes doing product research online and offline, looking for coupons in multiple channels, reading email newsletters, etc. Although research channels used most vary by product category (ex: food/beverage vs. health/beauty), it is clear that brand marketers need to understand which are the most influential digital channels for their specific product.

The Executive Summary of The Shopper Marketing study can be found at http://www.shespeaks.com/digitalshoppers

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