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Tania Haigh

Tania Haigh

Marketing executive Tania Haigh, most recently the lead for women and moms marketing initiatives at McDonald’s USA, today announced the launch of Magnolia Insights, Inc., a marketing strategy firm specializing in marketing to women and moms. A 15-year marketing industry veteran with a decade of insight gleaned from various roles at McDonald’s USA, Haigh aims to better position brands by addressing the lag in effective marketing to women and moms.

Haigh, along with her co-presenters Julie Wenger of McDonald’s and Sweta Kannan of DDB, won the Take The Cake Best Speaker award at the 2014 M2W® – The Marketing to Women Conference, for their session “W.O.W. Winning Over Women at McDonald’s”.

Magnolia will have a dynamic offering, focusing on support for brands as well as media and publishing companies, and providing thought leadership in the industry. The firm will cater to consumer brands in the technology, food/beverage, entertainment, health and fashion/home segments. A multi-cultural and multi-lingual woman herself, and with experience in ethnic marketing, Tania Haigh founded Magnolia to elevate cross cultural applications across all of its practices.

“I launched Magnolia with the intention of keeping the woman and mom consumer at the center of marketing planning,” said Haigh. “Women hold major purchasing power but too often brands do not nurture this consumer segment by developing plans that establish a meaningful emotional connection.”

Magnolia Insights’ portfolio of services includes integrated marketing campaign development, brand management and positioning, consumer insights across age/life stage of product, message architecture and mapping, content marketing planning, marketing and PR integration, blogger/publishing brand integration, as well as workshops and public speaking, for both local and national clients.

Magnolia’s current client roster includes Crowdtap, the leading social influence marketing platform, ROWDYDOW bbQ as well as Better Retail and its associated brands.

In 2014, Haigh was named a “Top 40 Under 40 Marketer” in the Midwest by Brand Innovators, an industry trade organization.

“Magnolia Insights is great partner when it comes to providing expertise around the unique habits and behaviors of moms,” said Anna Kassoway, CMO of Crowdtap, The People-Powered Marketing Platform.

Magnolia Insights will be headquartered in Chicago’s West Loop, opening in first quarter 2015.


During last year’s M2W®, Jeff Weiss and Deborah Adams of Harbinger Communications gave us insight into how the dynamics of word-of-mouth marketing have changed in the ‘real’ and digital worlds and how the lifestage of a woman affects the way she gets and spreads information.  Now, Harbinger has released findings from their latest study that suggests that not only does the lifestage of a woman affect how she uses off and online forms of word-of-mouth, but product category also plays a vital role in how women seek and spread the word about brands.  So which categories are most word-of-mouth worthy?  The study found women are most likely to share information about restaurants (78%), automotive (74%) and entertainment (72%) and are least likely to share their preferences about fashion jewelry and accessories (30%).  Other interesting nuggets:

  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of women rely on friends and family when exploring restaurants, but only 41% rely on them when deciding about clothing or fashion.
  • Half (51%) of ‘Singeltons’ (defined by Harbinger as women who are single, usually under the age of 45 without children), but only a third (34%) of ‘Career Graduates’ (women who are no longer working fulltime; over the age of 50, without children living at home) rely on family and friends when making choices about home furnishings.
  • ‘New Moms’ are the most likely to go online first for product information before turning to family and friends to finalize their choice while members of the ‘Back to Me’ lifestage (women with children who have all left home) are most likely to look to family and friends first for information before going online to finalize their choice.

”Marketers need to be aware of how product category and lifestage impact the decision-making process so they can provide women with relevant, useful information where they prefer to find it,” said M2W® speaker Deborah Adams, SVP, Harbinger.  “Our study has provided a general roadmap for reaching women at different lifestages with category-specific messages.”

The Coca-Cola Company, a brand that often sends executives to M2W® and whose SVP Wendy Clark was named the Take the Cake Award winner for favorite speaker during last year’s M2Moms®, has pledged to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout Coca-Cola’s global business system by 2020.  The pledge builds upon a commitment made by the company in 2008 to grow its Micro Distribution Centers (MDCs) in Africa.  MDC’s are an independent network of entrepreneurs who distribute Coca-Cola beverage products to retailers.  “Our experience on the great continent of Africa and the model of our existing MDC program provides an expanded platform to empower an additional five million women worldwide over the next ten years. We need to increase awareness that better societies can be created as a result of empowering women,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive of The Coca-Cola Company.   Research conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School and engagement with local stakeholders on Coca-Cola’s MDC business in Africa indicates that women face three main barriers to success: 1) Lack of access to finance; 2) Lack of business skills training; and 3) Lack of access to mentors and networks of peers. The Company plans to conduct further research with potential partners to better understand how to empower women across its global system.   “Enhancing economic opportunities for women in the Coca-Cola value chain will result in increased incomes, enhanced skills in business, increased stature within the community, and improved potential for communities,” adds Kent.

Author Fara Warner agrees.  “Women are the global growth engine—not China, India or the Internet,” said Warner during her 2008 M2W® presentation on the global power of women.  “The fastest way to grow your economy is to educate a girl, give a woman the right to vote, give her equal rights and give her access to capital.”

According to a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll, if women could be granted one wish to change something about themselves they would choose to be richer or thinner.  In this poll, American adults were asked if they would most want to be richer, thinner, smarter, or younger, a large plurality (43%) professed that they would want to be richer, according to a recent Adweek Media/Harris Poll.  However, it appears men and women view these traits slightly differently.  Although just 14% of both men and women say they would choose to be smarter, that’s the only characteristic they agree on. More men say that they would choose to be richer (46%, compared to 41% of women), while 29% of women say that they would most want to be thinner, compared to just 14% of men who say the same. And while women may have the stereotype of lying about their age, 16% of men say they would most want to be younger, compared to just 8% of women who say the same.

Mary Lou Quinlan, CEO and Jen Drexler, Principal of Just Ask a Woman and co-authors of the recent book What She’s Not Telling You, see these results as evidence of women’s Half-Truth telling—a topic the Just Ask a Woman team spoke about during last year’s M2W®.  Quinlan observes, “While in public most women might claim the Half Truth that they’d prefer brains to money, the Whole Truth (especially in this economy), is that they’d like to be richer. With a little extra cash, they can always study their way to smarter or buy their way to thinner. It’s not politically correct but it’s honest.” Drexler weighs in, “Likewise, we’re not surprised that women chose being thinner above younger. Gen Y, X and Boomer women don’t necessarily want to “be” younger or sacrifice the wisdom that comes with age. They want to “feel” and “look” younger which is often equated to a mythical or real time when they felt happiest with their weight. Leave it to women to find a way to have their cake and eat it too!”

SheKnows, an agency that often sends its executives to M2W® and is a sponsor of this year’s M2Moms®-The Marketing To Moms Conference, has announced the launch of a new online video series called SheKnows ChatPack.  The show’s panel consists of four women discussing different aspects of their lives and giving advice to viewers about the latest topics on parenting, finance, health and more. The ChatPackers will be joined by an expert in the field relevant to each week’s topic, such as beauty, fitness, travel, love & romance, and will give first-hand tips and advice in regard to services and products that are in the audience’s best interest.   To give SheKnows users the chance to get to know the ChatPack women and experts on a more personal level, the ChatPack hub will have profiles pages for each individual consisting of bios and photo galleries. The SheKnows ChatPack hub will also feature content relevant to the video topics and offer giveaways for its viewers.   “The goal of the SheKnows ChatPack series is to create a conversation among these four women for the audience to connect with on a personal level,” said Kyle Cox, vice president, general manager of SheKnows. “This video series, coupled with the site’s extensive supplemental articles and bios, will make the ChatPackers tastemakers among women for everything relating to parenting, finance and health, and more.”

The ChatPack series went live with three episodes on August 12th and will debut two more to follow every other week after. Each episode will be approximately between three to six minutes in length and users will be able to comment on each video and share them with their friends.

Stephanie OCongratulations to one of last year’s M2W®-HC™ speakers, Stephanie Ouyoumjian, for being promoted to executive vice president of Publicis Dallas.  Recognized as a leading expert on marketing to women, Stephanie won great praise from the audiences of both M2W®-HC™ and M2W® regarding her presentation on creating a ‘passion brand’—showing us the perfect equation for turning consumer attitudes into action.  Stephanie joined Publicis Dallas in 2006 and successfully guided strategies planning and research for some of the best-known, worldwide brands.  She will continue to direct strategy for all Publicis Dallas clients, but will now also be part of the executive team leading and managing the integrated marketing communications office.

Many of us at M2W® are big fans of AMC’s Mad Men, a popular show that depicts life inside (and outside) of a New York-based ad agency in the 1960’s.  While we love to watch the storylines unfold and witness what life must have been like for female executives in the 60’s ad world, we can’t help but wonder, has the industry really changed all that much from the scenes we see on TV?

We asked some of today’s top female ad executives to share their thoughts on how the industry has changed since the days of Mad Men and how those changes have helped brands better connect with consumers—not just female consumers, but all consumers.

Q:  How are the ad agencies of today different than the one we see each week on Mad Men?

Sophie KellySophie Kelly, Partner and Managing Director, StrawberryFrog:
The advancement of women in executive roles in advertising today versus the 1960s reflects the cultural changes in America.  In the Mad Men era of the early 1960s, women made up less than 33% of the workforce. There were few female role models in the business and political worlds, and not a single female CEO of a major US corporation. The same was true in advertising; there were few women employed in non-secretarial positions and the few that did had to claw their way through the glass ceiling like Peggy Olson.  As one of those very few female junior copywriter’s at JWT in the early 60s recounts, ‘I had to wear a hat and gloves to distinguish myself from the secretarial pool. I never took that hat off, even in the bathroom.”

Obviously, our cultural situation is radically different now.  There are more women in the US workforce than men, the number of women in graduate school exceed the number of men and we have women running for president and running major Fortune 500 companies like Indira Nooiye the CEO of Pepsi Co, one of our clients at StrawberryFrog.  Women today are not just consumers of advertising, like they were in the Mad Men days. 66% of women today are part of the working world of commerce. Women are not just consuming products, they are creating them.

In terms of advertising, the industry reflects the same cultural changes.  We have a greater number of women executives and clients at the highest level.  Male advertisers in the Mad Men age often patronized their female target or put her under pressures of the male concept and ideal of beauty, femininity and motherhood. Today, we have a situation of women speaking and marketing to fellow women.  In fact, you could say the tables have turned in advertising. If you take the 2010 Super Bowl spots as an example, many of the commercials could be said to be offensive to men, as many of them featured men, masculinity and male behavior as the butt of the jokes.

Another big change since Mad Men is the arrival of the digital era, which turned the tables in favor of consumers.  Mad Men need to listen to their consumers now. Brands are no longer just controlled by marketers and advertisers; consumers in social media and the digital space can ‘talk back’ to brands and challenge the advertisers.  For example, our client’s product is Pampers and the large and influential mom blogging community.  If Don Draper were around today, he would be unable to sit in his ivory tower and dictate product messaging. He’d be held accountable to his women consumers and have to engage in a dialogue with them.

Helayne SpivakHelayne Spivak, EVP, Chief Creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness:
My Top 10 list:
1-Madison Avenue is in Soho.
2-Casual Fridays killed the impeccably dressed executive.
3-Men’s hair product has gotten much better.
4-Ash trays now make great candy dishes.
5-Admin’s salaries do not cover one-bedroom apartments.
6-Women certainly WILL worry their pretty little heads about it.
7-Men who look like John Hamm do not run advertising agencies.  (Well, not since Alex Bogusky left the business last week)
8-Getting pregnant is not a bad career move.
9-Office parties are able to be viewed on youtube.
10-Clients no longer have the final say on work.  (Oh wait, that hasn’t changed at all)

Kathy DelaneyKathy Delaney, Chief Creative Officer of North America, SapientNitro:
The advertising industry in 2010 consists of many more women in positions of authority and power than was the rule in the 60’s shown on Mad Men.  Also, with all of the technology and connectivity we have in the office space now, there is a lot more productivity and less wastefulness–and a lot less affairs and 3-hour martini lunches.

Sharon NapierSharon Napier, CEO, Partners + Napier:

  • Women have a seat at the table. We’re not just the secretaries or mistresses anymore, we’re agency leaders.  We have very senior clients who are women. Still not enough, but we’re getting there!
  • Getting ahead and being successful takes listening, collaborating, and open-mindedness. Good ideas aren’t shot down by scotch-wielding executives reclining on office couches. Peggy shows us that great ideas can, and often do, come from the most unexpected places.

  • There are much fewer drinks had, if any. Creative directors and account executives aren’t reaching for the mini-bar every time a challenge presents itself.
  • Today, power isn’t measured by the size of your office or by the looks of your secretary. It’s measured by the creativity of your ideas, the strength of your relationships, and the client results you drive. You have to be accountable.
  • We’re still style conscious like Joan Holloway and think guys like Don Draper are dreamy. It’s just that our clothes are feminine and professional, and men are our coworkers and teammates, not the gatekeepers to our careers.

Q:  How have changes in the industry actually improved the way brands market to consumers—not only female consumers, but all consumers?

Sophie Kelly: The Mad Men era was hierarchical, traditional and linear in its approach to developing communication.  It was the era of the one-way ‘broadcast’ messaging, where advertisers would ‘interrogate the product until it confesses’ its ‘unique selling point’ and then push it out to consumers.  That hyper-rational, one-way relationship with consumers is gone.

Unlike the 1960’s when there were few choices and limited media channels, consumers today have 1,000s of brands to choose from and 3,000 messages targeted at them every day.  These days it is about finding a belief or a point of view that brands can stand for and putting that to market in a way that starts a movement amongst consumers. A movement that consumers want to associate themselves with, that spreads the advocacy for that brand.  It’s all about listening to and engaging with your consumers in a way that aligns them to your brand values.  Social media is a huge force in media today and we need to connect with consumers about more than just product superiority claims. In fact, peer-to-peer recommendations and brand advocacy are greater influences on brand choices than traditional advertising. Nobody wants to talk about your ‘superior dryness’; consumers are adopting brands and products because they find the brand’s asserted point of view in line with a way of living or views on the world, which they hold as ideal.  You need to create content that people want to engage with and share in popular culture. And you have to live these brand values in the real world; in the digital age people can uncover the truth about your brand in an instant.

This shift from rational to emotional messaging is very relevant to the way men and women process information and arrive at a decision. Men try to find the answer and make a decision. Women are far more about an emotional attachment. As Faith Popcorn once said “ Women don’t buy brands. They join them”. Perhaps that makes women more equipped to create breakthrough and relevant content and experiences for today’s consumers.

Helayne Spivak: When it was acknowledged that women were not simply the legal companions of men (a/k/a wives) a lot of thinking changed.  If not all women were the same, perhaps not all men were the same.  Maybe you have to have insight into how people think before you waste time and marketing to mass stereotypes.  I think we’ve learned that by trying talk to everyone, you talk to no one.  But, when you talk to one person with clear understanding of what he or she needs, you reach exactly who you need to reach.

Kathy Delaney: The influx of technology has changed the way offices work internally and the way ad agencies speak to and interact with consumers.  In the 60’s, you basically had a couple of choices.  TV, print, outdoor, radio.  Now, between mobile, digital, interactive avenues, there are more ways to reach the right consumers at the right times where they are engaged and interested.  This has changed the terms of engagement entirely.  You are able to pinpoint and have a much more intimate and successful ongoing dialogue with a consumer that is night and day from the communications of the Mad Men era.  Also, in Peggy Olsen’s time, she would’ve been engaged to market women’s products to other women.  But we’ve come a long way since then.

Insights about consumers often come from diverse places – looking like the consumer target on paper doesn’t mean you’ll have the insight to market that brand to the mass consumer.  We have female copywriters working on sporting brands that target young males and we have male strategists working on consumer goods for mothers now.  It’s much more of a meritocracy now than it used to be, with good ideas coming from anywhere.

Sharon Napier: The ad industry attracts a wider pool of smart talent because ideas are the power currency. There are more women, a broader range of backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities – you name it. This brings broader thinking, which helps drive ideas that are better for consumers.

We actually care about listening to consumers, tapping into our resources, and making sure we know the mindset of the audience.  Assumptions and sweeping generalizations have no place in coming up with brilliant campaigns.

The agencies of the sixties operated in silos, restricting the free flow of ideas. Without the barriers erected by a hierarchical, pecking-order world, we can embrace the fluidity of the idea, allowing us to do great work.

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 “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.”

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

At this year’s M2W®-The Marketing To Women Conference, attendees had the opportunity to share their personal reasons for why they market to women as they visited the booth of conference Showcase Sponsor BigTent.  “We wanted to show how we apply a creative approach to connect brands with our audience of women, and do it real time at the conference,” says Donna Novitsky, CEO, BigTent.  “Our social marketing experiment was engaging and fun for the attendees – like any good social campaign should be.  These personal insights on why we market to women are a great accent to the analytical data presented by many of the speakers.”

So, what did conference attendees have to say?  Below are some of their responses.  Click here to view an entire list of all responses from this year’s attendees, presenters and sponsors.

“I make $$$ targeting women”
–Jeff W., Harbinger

“Women know how to buy and influence 90% of decisions!”
–Mary G., Kraft

“Because they decide how to entertain the household”
–Scott S., Ubisoft

“Women are and have the true power”
–Alba C.R., Ford

“Young girls need good role models riding Harleys”
–Leslie P., Harley-Davidson Motor Company

“They are the majority of our shoppers”
–Kelly B., Walgreens

“They keep family memories alive”
–Susan S., Kodak

“We have products to make life easier and more enjoyable”
–Jill S., Whirlpool

“They lead the world”
–Lisa L., AOL

–Mihaela Z., Wells Fargo

Now, let’s hear from you—tell us why you market to women!

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