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Woman using computerAccording to a new comScore study, Women on the Web:  How Women are Shaping the Internet, social networking sites reach a higher percentage of women than men globally, with 75.8 percent of all women online visiting a social networking site in May 2010 versus 69.7 percent of men.  Additionally, women demonstrate higher levels of engagement with social networking sites than men. Although women account for 47.9 percent of total unique visitors to the social networking category, they consume 57 percent of pages and account for nearly 57 percent of total minutes spent on these sites. Women spend significantly more time on social networking sites, averaging 5.5 hours per month, demonstrating the strong engagement that women across the globe share with social sites.

Additional highlights from the study:

  • Although men are in the majority across the global Internet, women spend about 8 percent more time online, averaging 25 hours per month on the Web.
  • Globally, women spend 20 percent more time on Retail sites overall than men.
  • In the U.S., women are more avid online buyers than men, with 12.5 percent of female Internet users making an online purchase in February 2010, compared to 9.3 percent of men.
  • Health sites show some of the largest overall differences in reach between female and male, with a nearly 6-point gap between global women and men.
  • In both the U.S. and Europe, smartphone usage is dominated by men with both markets experiencing close to a 60/40 split in smartphone adoption between the genders.

As our summer days make way for the brisk fall air, we asked Doris Walsh, owner of Paramount Market Publishing, Inc., to give us three must-read marketing books we need to add to our end-of-summer reading list.  “These books are fun and evocative,” says Walsh.

The Art of the IdeaThe Art of the Idea and How It Can Change Your Life, John Hunt
The Art of the Idea provides a toolbox for achieving excellence and offers a new way of defining your world. By illustrating how to create space so ideas can breathe, it provides a lifeline to those who find themselves stuck in a rut. This creating thinking insight is accompanied by 20 original paintings and collages by the internationally acclaimed South African artist Sam Nhlengethwa. The Art of the Idea grants permission to trust your instincts, endure initial ridicule, and practice thinking as a team sport.

BrandAboutBrandAbout:  A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants, Andrea Syverson
BrandAbout is an experiential, do-it-yourself, creative playbook for energizing brands and their product lines and/or services. With 10 practical lessons based on more than 25 years of hands-on, in-the-trenches merchandising and marketing experience, BrandAbout provides companies of all sizes—from startups to Fortune 500s—with more than 40 creative homework exercises that can be customized to their unique needs and applied over and over again.

Refocusing Focus Groups:  A Practical Guide, Robert Morais
A quick, but seriously helpful guide to the best practices for planning, designing, conducting and interpreting focus groups that draws upon techniques from psychology and anthropology.

Hyperion and Glamour magazine have entered into a strategic publishing partnership that draws on each company’s promotional and marketing strengths to reach and cater to women readers.  This collaboration begins with three books to be published in 2011 and 2012—both Hyperion and Glamour will support the books with multi-tiered publicity and marketing campaigns.  “I’m excited to be launching Glamour‘s first multi-book partnership, and even more excited to be doing it with Ellen Archer and her smart, fast-moving Hyperion team,” says Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief, Glamour.  “We see real potential in our partnership — and with the range of these three books, which cover food, love, relationships, self-esteem, and so many of the other building blocks of young women’s lives.”

Hyperion and Glamour plan to promote the books with targeted campaigns, utilizing both traditional and new media and marketing methods including national media, regional tours, strategic partnerships, advertising, contests, videos, social networking, and other digital initiatives.

Social media has taken word of mouth marketing to an entirely new level and is changing the way women communicate with each other about the brands and products they love and those that fail to impress.  Gearing up for his upcoming M2W® presentation, “Are you spread-worthy?”  The New Dynamics of WOM marketing in a Social (Media) World”, we caught up with Jeff Weiss, ‘The Crusader’ aka President of Harbinger Communications (Associate Sponsor of this year’s M2W®), to get the inside scoop on how word of mouth marketing works in a social media kind of world.

Q:  Jeff, not to give too much away regarding your M2W® presentation, but in what ways has social media changed WOM marketing?

A: There are several different ways in which social media has changed WOM marketing:

  • Social media has allowed women to tap into existing and larger networks of women who have defined shared interests.  These interests could be in products or lifestage-specific interests like parenting or where to get the latest fashion accessories.
  • Social media has encouraged women to share their opinions (and have a voice) where they might have felt reluctant to do so before (i.e., due to a specific social setting or where they wanted anonymity).
  • Social media has magnified the capacity to get and spread information more quickly, from more sources, in more places, at more times, with more people (which ultimately has an empowering effect).
  • Social media has also altered the approach that successful companies are taking to inform the consumer — this means not just giving product information but providing a forum for sharing and becoming a facilitator for discussion.
  • Social media has resulted in a more magnified consumer voice that companies must hear, take notice of and (often) take action on

Q:  We realize not all women use social media in the same way.  What affects how women social media as it relates to WOM marketing?

A: Until we get the results of our research, we can only speculate at this point.  We can surmise that lifestage will affect the tools used to get and spread information, as well as the type of information sought, reasons for using the technology (i.e., to keep in touch, to get information, etc.) as well as the priority/mix placed on offline and online methods.   Factors such as general use of technology impact the tools used to get and spread information. For example, ‘Singletons’ are more likely to use mobile technology and applications while ‘New Moms’ may rely more on websites and blogs to keep in touch and share opinions on common interests.

Lifestage (vs. Age) will also impact the types of products or subjects being investigated or discussed.  For example, ‘New Moms’ are likely looking for reassurance about products, ‘Singletons’ are looking for fashion trends and ‘Experienced Moms’ are looking for ideas and/or products to support their families.  Based on these different needs, women in different lifestages will look to different social media tools in order to get information or share ideas.

Q:  That completely makes sense, but it certainly does add an additional layer of complexity to a brand’s WOM marketing strategies.  That is why we are so looking forward to your M2W® presentation.  Along with your colleague Deborah Adams, you will be able to help brands navigate these new WOM marketing waters.

So tell me, what are you most looking forward to during this year’s M2W®?

A: Since we are focused on marketing to women, we are (selfishly) looking forward to networking and ideally doing business with companies and brands who ‘get it’ when it comes to marketing to women.  We are also really looking forward to learning from companies and brands who are doing it well.  We want to see what they are doing, how they are implementing programs and how they are getting buy-in at senior levels within their companies.

Thanks, Jeff.  We will soon see you in Chicago!

“Brand marketers feel the ground shifting beneath their feet,” asserted Tim Rumpler, imc2‘s VP Marketing, in a preview of his upcoming presentation at the 6th Annual M2W® – The Marketing to Women Conference, April 21 & 22 in Chicago’s Cultural Center.

“As consumers gain unparalleled access to and influence over brands through social media and new communications channels which are ‘always-on’,” he explained, “they form new expectations about brand relationships. My session will show brand leaders how to adapt from a campaign-driven paradigm to an “always-on” marketing ecosystem. Today’s marketers can prosper using social media to build always-on relationships with consumers that generate both high levels of consumer transaction and trust.”

Hershey’s Kisses Chocolate’s Holiday Cookie Exchange is a case study that clearly illustrates how to build high levels of ‘always-on’ consumer transaction and trust. Presented by Jonni Hegenderfer, CEO of JSH&A, “This all-encompassing 360° promotion program details how integrating social media, traditional media, experiential and word-of-mouth combined to construct an award winning, always-on marketing to women benchmark.”

M2W® will be attended by marketing executives from brands as diverse as GM, iVillage, Brown-Forman, Kodak, Mary Kay, MasterCard, P&G, LifeScript, Aetna, Memorex, Estee Lauder, Genworth Financial and Ubisoft.  “Smart brands attend because they know understanding women is not an option. It is an imperative,” according to Nan McCann, producer of M2W®.  “Women control or influence 85% of consumer purchasing in almost every single product category — from autos to electronics to pharmaceuticals and everything in between”.

Rumpler and Hegenderfer will be joined by more than 20 other marketing to women experts, notably Amanda Stevens of Splash Consulting, Kelley Skoloda of Ketchum, Aliza Freud of SheSpeaks, Bridget Brennan of Female Factor, Garry Rosenfeldt of Midas International, Miriam Muley of 85% Niche, Jeff Weiss of Harbinger, Heidi Dangelmaier of GirlApproved, Fara Warner author of Power Of The Purse, Kevin Hochman of P&G, Marti Barletta of The TrendSight Group and Matthew Egol of Booz & Co.

M2W® is sponsored by Associate Sponsors: Barkley, JSH&A, Harbinger, Booz & Co., Ketchum, imc2, and SheSpeaks; Workshop Sponsors: Jane Out Of the Box, Affina and Shutterfly; Showcase Sponsors: Carolina Pad, Bee Leaf Bags, Refreshing Ideas, Just Ask A Woman and Win/Win Radio; Video Journalism Resource: Snippies; Affiliate Sponsor: Chicago AMA.

For complete conference schedule and information visit: or call 860.724.2649 x15. M2W® is produced by PME Enterprises LLC, 216 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06106.

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