It's late. Past noon, already. We apologize for being so tardy today. Jane has been running hither and yon, all for business, none for pleasure. We do see a light at the end of the tunnel, however. And no, it's not a train coming the other way!
Let's get into some small talk, today. Several interesting items have come across Jane's desk over the last few weeks. Items supporting small business entrepreneurs, and, especially, women.
Jane heard from Catherine Carlson this week, regarding an article in Businessweekonline. The article, by Erin Chambers, discusses women start-ups:
In the article, Chambers cites stats from the Center for Women's Business Research, showing that women are topping the scales for entrepreneurship, but, most interestingly-- "...the number of businesses owned by minority women, long the smallest segment of entrepreneurship in the U.S., is growing at six times the rate of all private companies."
What exciting news! This quote, from Harvard Business School professor, Myra Hart, who is the chairman of the Center, says it all, ""This is a positive sign for the entire country. At this crucial time for the economy, we're seeing that greater participation in entrepreneurship among women from a variety of backgrounds is playing an important role in facilitating economic growth."
Truthfully, though, marketing to women takes many forms. From Publisher's Weekly, Jane learned of the "Women & Children First: Fun and a Fund" out of Chicago. Two outstanding women, Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon, who co-own Chicago's Women & Children First Bookstore, celebrated their 25th anniversary in November, which convinced Mayor Richard Daley to proclaim November 10th, "Women & Children First Bookstore Day," in Chicago.
There's a marketing opportunity to reach women--everywhere. Remember, every woman who participated in that celebration, and every woman who visits that store, has a mother, a sister, a daughter, a niece, a husband, boyfriend, cousin, sister-in-law, father, and on and on and on...all people she thinks about on a daily basis. People who are important to her. People she cherishes...people who need gifts. Like the products or services you sell?
We also uncovered this story, amongst a pile of other reports, from IRNewslink noting that 74% of American adults (as of Sept. 2004) have Internet access (this from a study by Harris Interactive, right here in Jane's hometown). The article discusses "multi-channel" marketing, a concept that is vital to marketing online, today.
Essentially, multi-channel marketing incorporates the web with store shopping, mall shopping, and catalog shopping. Women are not truly committed to any one of these shopping opportunities--on the contrary! We love them all...and at any given moment, we may be using one or more of them.
Yes, we can shop online and then run out the to store. Or, we can buy online and return offline. Or, we can browse a catalog but click into the website to order.
The article recommends "an incremental approach." Embrace the different ways women (and men) shop in a digital society by slowly adding different elements of different kinds of marketing, to your budget and your focus. For instance, "one approach," it says, "might be to allow store associates to use the web to special order items in the store." I.E.: order one place, pick it up another.
The most important point we think this article makes, is: make new friends, but keep the old. Those are silver, these are gold.
What's not to like about that?