Archive for August, 2009
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter
“…The average More reader makes about $93,000, around $30,000 more
than the average for Vogue, Allure or Harper’s Bazaar, according to
Mediamark Research and Intelligence. But More has hardly a luxury ad in
And they penalize the magazine
because its readers are female. The More reader makes a lot more than
the average reader of Esquire, at about $66,800, and GQ, at about
$75,100. But where GQ, Esquire, and the younger women’s magazines are
filled with ads for designer clothes, fragrances and expensive
accessories, the ads in More suggest that when rich women hit 40, they
yearn for cheap processed foods.”
Hmmm…I’m not big on luxury items, but I also don’t buy much processed food, cheap or otherwise. But – darn – I’m OLD, so I’m not the optimum target for most companies. Seems sometime in the 1950s ad agencies decided the best market was all those “young and stupid” boomers out there. We grew up; they didn’t.
Friday Fun Seque: For Craig Ferguson’s hilarious explanation of advertising, go here. And, while you’re over there, check out Michele Miller’s latest post on how we women are loving Tarantino’s latest flick. Seems neither she nor I are rushing to see The Time Travelers Wife (yawn) even though Michele DOES like the color pink (I forgive you Michele.)
…Back to our regular post…I subscribed to More when it first launched. Liked it; didn’t love it. Athough was more interesting than – say – Vogue – it was still heavy on how to look ab fab even when we’re OLD. (The best article back then was Jamie Lee Curtis “coming out” as a middle-aged woman and showing the magic that turned her into a cover girl. Now, that was fun and encouraging.)
So, after reading the NYT article, I visited the More web site. At first glance (and even second) – it was difficult to see how it’s really all that “different” in tone than any of the other femme fashion/sex/glam it up magazines. Articles include: “Cougar Bait, 32 Younger Men We Love,” “Lingerie Must-Haves For Fall,” and “How I Finally Got The Body I Wanted.” All of which could just as easily be in Cosmopolitan (one of my must-reads in college when all that stuff re sex and men seemed so NEW!)
Which bears out other research and I did enjoy the article (while
written for fun; it contains some good advice.) However, the article is
illustrated with a photo of what looks like a size zero model with a
can over her head (?!).
Now, I know it must be very difficult to publish a magazine…and keep it going for years…and the last couple of years have gotten pretty dire, with publishers scrambling for survival. But, desperation often leads to Plan P (for panic) in marketing which never works out well. The article ends with this depressing little bit:
“…So More is trying to get that average age a bit lower, by promoting
subscriptions online, where readers tend to be younger, and by reaching
businesswomen, for example, at airport newsstands.
“What would make it easier to sell advertisements is a younger age,” said Ms. Stanich, the publishing director…”
Sigh. In order to survive, the magazine wants to be – um - more like all the others? Too bad.
By contrast, Garden & Gun, (How’s that for a title?) after almost shutting down, seems to be on the upswing, including more ad pages. “With a total circulation of 220,000 and distribution in all fifty states, circulation has grown 130% since the premier issue in Spring 2007 and advertising is trending up.”
Should be noted that this a VERY niche-focused high-end gloss magazine; the target market is Affluent Southerners who buy things like $25,000 shotguns. Yes, I know the combination of Garden and Gun sounds bizarre, but it makes perfect sense to anyone from a Southern background. I subscribe (No, I don’t buy guns – even cheap ones.) Why? Because it’s very different AND because it has wonderful articles by people like Julia Reed.
Last – but not least – I love Holly Hunter’s work…but whenever I watch her show, “Saving Grace” I have to ponder – will this woman ever dress age-appropriate? Her character is a police detective in Oklahoma City but somehow I don’t think many policewomen wear skin-tight low-rider jeans and strappy little peekaboo tops to work…And, the hair, the hair…I applaud Ms. Hunter for being in such great shape and she is an actress, so have to cut her some slack. But, most real 51-year-old women (like me) don’t look good in those type of clothes. We don’t need to default to flowered mu-muus, but c’mon…
So, More? How about it? What if you really celebrated women 40+ – as you say in your masthead?
But, this recent invitation to attend a Social Media Marketing workshop, in Boston, misses the mark, big time. I’m a busy gal, as many of you know. I bet you’re all pretty busy, too. Yes? Well, when I receive an invitation to attend a business workshop (or any other kind of seminar/workshop), I want my information up front. I don’t want the sponsor or presenter or the group to waste my time by burying the relevant information somewhere at the bottom of the announcement.
This event sounded worthwhile to me. I’m a social media marketer – but I don’t know everything. So, I decided to check the invitation out by clicking the link. It took me to a page on Marketing Power, the AMA’s website, and gave me the location of the seminar, the time, and a note saying early registration ends at 12:00 a.m. on September 30th.
Ok, so far, yes? Well, no, not really. What do I get if I register early? A discount? A free white paper? Cheesecake? I don’t know. They don’t say. Oh, wait, it does say “register by…for early registration fee” – which is how much? It doesn’t say.
And…WHO, or is it WHOM?… is presenting this seminar? Instead of wowing me with the presenter’s bio and background up front, they made me dig through the brochure content – four dense paragraphs describing the workshop (cookie-cutter content, it could be cut and pasted from any and all social media events) and more information on who should attend (everyone), what I’ll learn (everything), and what I’ll leave with (the same information I will learn, I believe), to finally discover that Dave is giving this presentation. Now, isn’t that nice? I know Dave! He’s Tom’s brother. He doesn’t know anything about social media.
Oh, but this isn’t the Dave I know, although the AMA must think I know him because they do not reveal Dave’s surname. They do say he’s the author of a book – how nice! He’s worked with lots of brands. He “combines strategy and tactics with quantitative measurement” and he’s “been a featured speaker in the AMA ‘Hot Topics’ series on Social Media.”
I don’t know about other people, but the presenter of a workshop is important to me. Content is important, also, but in order to accept that the presenter can produce the right content, and that he or she is capable of teaching me – I need to know upfront who they are. Their credentials are all very nice, but I want to see their name at the top of the invitation. I want to nod my head and say, “I need to attend this because Toby Bloomberg is presenting. I’ve heard great things about her.” I’d like a quote from the presenter. I’d like a testimonial to see if anyone else I know has taken this workshop. I’d like something more personal – HINT: THAT’S WHAT SOCIAL MEANS!!!
When all I get is, “Dave this and Dave that and Dave will…” I’m left wondering – Dave who? And so, I click the link to the downloadable brochure – which takes forever to open – and I discover, on page 2, that my presenter is Dave Evans. And, I also learn that I can save $200 by registering early.
At this point, I still don’t know Dave Evans. Maybe I should. His book looks pretty solid. They say it was “a number one ranked title across multiple marketing and business categories in Amazon.” His blog is worth a visit – this post is a good one.
So, that’s it. In two days, Dave (Evans) is going to teach me everything I need to know about social media, according to the 12 bulleted points in the invitation. I mean, if I don’t know everything after learning those 12 points, it could only mean I slept through the workshop.
As you can guess, I’m not attending. The AMA convinced me that they’re after my money – they’re trying to wow me with broadcast content, not an invitation to participate in something worthwile. The content drones on and on. It’s overdone and mostly unnecessary. The page is ugly and uninviting. There is no courtship here. I’d really like to be courted. And, I’d like to SEE the presenter – I assume he does have a pic somewhere online. I accept that Dave’s a social media professional, but…I don’t want to attend his workshop because…it’s pitched to grab my wallet, not to build a relationship with me.
So 20th century.
Here’s a new user-generated promotional marketing contest that is for all of us dog lovers out there. I know we many of them that read this blog since Yvonne DiVita, our fearless Lipsticking leader, also writes the Scratchings & Sniffings pet blog which is sponsored by Purina.
Purina’s Alpo brand is inviting dog owners to enter their down-to-earth dogs in the Alpo Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is contest by writing an essay—in their dog’s own voice—describing his or her favorite “real dog” behavior. Winning submissions will be featured in the first ever Real Dogs Eat Meat Handbook, scheduled for publication in 2010, and the dog owner will also receive a year’s supply of ALPO brand dog food!
“You’ve got a Real Dog. Help him Tell It Like It Is. A dog. A voice. A way of life. And no funny dog clothes.” is what the promotional contest microsite tells visitors. “Real dogs drool and dig. They strut their stuff, mark their turf, chew things up and roll in dirt…It’s what we love about them. And we think they should be celebrated.”
“It’s time to let dogs be dogs again,” says Kilcommons in a release.
“they are happiest when they can express their true inner
dogness—instinctual behaviors including sniffing, digging, eating,
playing and sleeping that are in their DNA and define what it means to
enjoy a dog’s life.”
Essays can be uploaded on the contest website and need to describe “real dog” behaviors from the canine point of view in 300 words or less. A color photo of the dog exhibiting the “real dog” actions or mannerisms described
in the essay should also be uploaded. No more than one dog per photo and no humans allowed either. Purina’s is also requesting that entrants must actually own the dog they describe and can enter up to three essays per household.
After Monday Sept. 28, the entries received will be judged by dog expert and author Brian Kilcommons and an independent judging panel. Up to twenty winners will be selected based on originality and authentic “real dog” behavior.
Visitors to the website can now view the Gallery to see those dogs that have been submitted to the contest. As of today there are 28 pages in the Gallery, 12 to a page, so it appears as if there are already over 300 entries.
This is a great photo of our dog, Shadow, sitting behind the wheel of our old Toyota Land Cruiser. He jumps in the vehicle whenever he thinks we’re going someplace. I think I should write an essay on this. What do you think? I’m sure there’s a few good other dog stories out there as well.
by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia
I couldn’t resist sharing a portion of an article titled, “31 Ways of Looking at Power”, in the September 2009, issue of O Magazine. As the Founder of a company that provides social media strategy for dynamic women CEO’s (and the companies they lead), I could not think of a better way to use the space in my blog post this week than to share with you #18, as written and shared by Biological Anthropologist, Helen Fisher, from that list. As my friend, Donna, would say: please read it once for content and then a second time for clarity. It’s THAT deep. Enjoy.
“#18 – The Power of Web Thinking
Men and women are like two feet; they can help each other get ahead. And, in part, this is because they have different ways of thinking. Women, on average, collect more bits of data, assemble that data into more complex patterns, and weigh more options as they make decisions. Women tend to see the big picture; they generalize and synthesize as they consider webs of factors—what I call “web thinking.” Men, on the other hand, get to the point. Typically, they are more likely to focus on what they consider relevant, then ponder in a more linear progression: “step thinking.” Both approaches have merit. Each has been traced, respectively, to the hormones estrogen and testosterone. And each evolved millions of years ago as women did more multitasking to rear the young, while men spent more time zeroing in on one thing at a time—often hunting game.
Web thinking has its payoffs—among them women’s intuition, imagination, and natural aptitude for long-term planning and networking. No wonder we’re headed for a powerful role in the world.
Why? Because the world is coming around to our way of thinking. Communication itself has taken a weblike turn as social networking and collaborative enterprises like Wikipedia become part of our daily lives. Business has also begun to favor women’s strong suits. Globalization requires taking a broad contextual and long-term view. And with our growing concern over healthcare, poverty, and the state of the planet, creative thinking is currently in high demand.
Women, it turns out, are built to lead—particularly in the modern world.”
P.S. A friendly reminder that I could be presenting with Baat Enosh from @NCWIT at #SXSW next year! But, only if you vote for my panel here. (Hint: Just click the “thumbs up” button at the top. A 15-second registration is required before you vote!)
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter
The other day I was reading about Season Three of Mad Men. One of the actresses noted, “Women didn’t have much confidence back then.” Well, maybe not, but it wasn’t a natural condition for the entire sex (just ask my Mom.) Most confidence problems – real or perceived – were caused by society’s restraints. (Tough to charge ahead when you’re fired if you get married or have a baby. )
Then, as I was cleaning out a huge pile of old magazines, I ran across the article, Women Who Wandered, What Drove Victorian Ladies To Leave The Comforts of Home For The Dangers Of the Wilderness?
Hmmm…could it possibly have been to get away from the restraints of society?
The article was written by Jan Morris, who was born a man, James Morris. Which, as she notes, gives her a unique perspective on the courage of women. As Morris notes, “It was Eve, after all, who plucked the apple in the Garden of Eden.”
Further, she believes that female is “instinctively more adventurous than the male, and that when we read of women being especially daring – venturing alone into howling wilderness, crossing limitless seas, climbing mountains of ghastly inaccessibility -they are demonstrating the not the exception but the rule.”
Petticoats, corsets, hats, parasols and all…and tea was served promptly at four, even in the steaming jungle. I can’t imagine slogging through 100% humidity in “sweat-wicking” pants and state-of-the-art hiking boots, much less in four layers of “proper” clothing and tight high-button heels.
Of course, we’ve come a very long way, as evidenced by this blog. (Although the ad industry has some catching up to do.) However, we’ve still got a ways to go…
So, next time you’re faced with what seems an insurmountable obstacle…remember those Victorian ladies and forge ahead (parasols optional.
(P.S. Ad Industry? Looking good and charging ahead aren’t mutually exclusive activities.)
From the Special Section in the NY TIMES – "There’s a growing recognition among everyone from theWorld Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution." It’s good to see that the guys aren’t threatened in this scenario, in fact, they are embracing it. Read the full report here. "Nicholas D. Kristof…
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