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Marketing to Women Online: What Happened to Innovation?

This is a double post, sort of. It's a few tidbits on marketing to women online, and it's a question about innovation - since this is Wednesday and I have been trying to write about innovation on Wednesdays.

First, the marketing to women online news. Eileen over at Simply Juicy Travel sent me this article from the NY Times: "51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse". I find this article very interesting. It notes that in 2005 "married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time." While the author of the article, Sam Roberts, mentions that this will likely influence social trends going forward, and he cites experts noting that this is "a clear tipping point, reflecting the culmination of post-1960 trends associated with greater independence and more flexible lifestyles for women," I'm left wondering how many women he talked to.

Do you talk to the women you want to sell to? No, I mean really. Not just announcing new products or writing sales copy or mouthing off in your blog. Do you talk to your female customers on a regular basis? Do you have monthly events to which you invite customers - giving away 'free' stuff, including spa coupons, or dinner coupons, or mall coupons - and then create a conversation around a topic that is important to them? Do you do this? Or, do you read blogs and newspapers and magazines and think you have us figured out?

My next marketing to women article comes from MediaPost's Marketing Daily, where this heading caught my eye, "Infiniti To Boost Spending 20%, Focus On Women." They're after younger women - I guess because we baby boomer women don't appreciate luxury, or fine cars, or speed. Huh? How's this for a quote from the article, "Thompson said the brand recently finished an ethnographic study of women. "We found that women really want to understand the brand. If they don't know that, they may not be willing to take the time to search the brand out."

Oh please! "Understand the brand?" We want to understand what the car is going to do for us. We're surely willing to look at luxury cars, always thinking, "How will I look in this?" Or, "Is this cost-effective, safe, worth the money, the right color, something my friends will oooh and ahh over but not criticize?"

Infinit is smart to begin targeting women - but, they need to do some more research on that topic, first.

Personally, this article on chocolate fills me with more excitement. Wrigley didn't contact me toGirltalk_3   write about this. Hello....

[free subscription needed for some of these articles]

My last mention is from a really great newsletter I get called Adotas: where interactive advertising begins. This mention comes from Cindy Gallop and is my innovation comment for today. Cindy writes, "The New 'Net Commandments: Examining How Innovation Gets Old Real Quickly."

Just last night Tom and I were talking about innovation, and blogs, and people, and the whole concept of it. I still think it's that elusive butterfly - that it comes in all shapes and sizes, and that we have not, yet, figured out the correct 'language' for it. I guess you could cite Google, Squidoo, Digg, Yahoo! and all the new social networking tools with strange names as the precursors to an innovative language. But, we still have a long way to go.

Meanwhile, over at Adotas, Cindy quotes from Seth Godin. She's reading his book and raving about it - rightly so - I, too, believe it's a must read for anyone hoping to do business on the net. And, if you're not doing business on the net... what are you doing? Well, you're slowly fading away, that's what.

Back to Cindy and her Seth quote, in support of one of her commandments: "Functionality shall matter more than design and the majority of websites shall therefore look pretty much the same, i.e. a bit of a mess."

In his book, Seth writes, "Maybe I'm just in a visual mood, but I was struck as I surfed around today at how ugly many Web pages are (eBay's, for example." Ouch! And true. He goes on to say, "Once the vernacular was set for the early winners, everyone else followed. I wonder if we're about to get stuck here as well."

Not. Not stuck. Not us. Not me. Not you. We're cooking up new stuff in the basement and/or garage at this very moment! I hope. The message to me is that originality and creativity and not being afraid to be first, or second, or even third, is key to creating innovation that will change the world. And, that includes online. Have YOU changed your web presence lately?

As a final comment, aren't women all about change? Just watch all the award shows clogging up TV over the next couple of months. You won't see the women in the same outfit twice. Humph. My younger sister used to change her clothes several times a day!

Repeat after me: change is good. So, surprise us. Just make sure we're going to like the surprise. (oh come on, it's not that hard; just TALK to us!)


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Yvonne DiVita

Sean, your point is very interesting. My beef (if I may use that word) with Infiniti is that they aren't targeting the females with the money to buy their cars. The younger women you seem to be talking about are into American Idol - and can't afford much more than their fancy cell phone. The young women who can afford a luxury car are a small percentage of the buying public. Women of a certain age who can afford luxury are out there and eager to spend.

As for our "brand preference" having been established - don't bet on it, bucko. We ladies are out to pamper ourselves and so far, the world has not beat a path to our door. Infiniti has a chance to get us - now - before we latch on to another brand.

And, best of all, we still have influence with our daughters - so, if you don't get us, well... we can help you get the young women with the $$$. Bet on that!


If long term trending is any reflection of humanity, I might guess it's just a blip. An interesting, fun, welcome blip. But a blip nonetheless.

Anyway, what I wanted to suggest is that you may have misunderstood Infiniti. I thought you were too quick to attack them for belittling women.

In fact, I believe Infiniti has very much done its research and realizes they are woefully misunderstood by women.

But it was a poor word choice to say "women don't understand the brand." What the PR spinsters should have said was, "Infiniti has realized it's done a piss poor job of messaging to the young female demographic which is a key component to its long term branding strategy."

Women aren't dumb. And I think you didn't need to "fly off the handle." Okay, okay, you weren't that excited. But what I mean to say is that I believe Infiniti has realized precisely what you said.

The younger gals want a material object that their friends will drool over. Get those all important envy points.

So, apparently, Infiniti is going to try to pluck this jealousy string as a tactic for convincing young women to buy a car that will pamper them like the special angels they are, make them look like the sexy beasts they are, and make their friends look up to their coolness.

The attempt to get in on the male market has failed for Infiniti. Their ads about powerful speed, luxury refinements, and getting laid innuendo has not been able to compete with Mercedes and BMW.

So, they turn to the next market which is often underserved: the ladies. But they won't go for the mommy stationwagon bit, they wont appeal to the 20 year old tree hugger, they won't scramble after middle aged women who probably already have a brand preference that's been long established.

No, they'll go for the same sexy ploy formerly targeted at men, now apply it to young women and try for the "pepsi generation" approach that has worked so well for a number of brands.

Yeah, I think they did their research. And I think they have a strong chance to succeed. They just need to re-phrase things so they stop putting their collective foot into their mouth (or else, they will have ultimately failed in learn about women).

Yvonne DiVita

Derek, that's an excellent point - and one I was thinking about as I wrote the post, but... I got distracted. I often wonder about statistics - and although I quote them here, I expect readers to do due diligence and keep an open mind on all things with numbers - they can be so misleading!

That said, I do think young women today are less inclined to rush out and get married, or even move in with a significant other. And, I know, personally, that many women are opting to be single parents on purpose. Is it a sign or a trend or... just a blip on the timeline of human existence?

Derek Vanderlinde


The 51% statistic from The New York Times is misleading. If you dig down into the statistic I believe you will find it includes unmarried teen-age girls, women whose spouses are in the military and stationed elsewhere, women whose spouses are institutionalized, etc. .

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