"You Women Can't Drive Stick."
I Object!

Blogher Marketing to Women with Some Great Gals

It's Saturday morning and although I really hate writing on the laptop (have never gotten the hang of it, but think maybe I should get a laptop of my own and practice; this one is Tom's), I'm going to do a fast recap of the conference.Blogher08

There was a lot of estrogen floating around the Affinia - and they (the hotel) handled it well. I was impressed with the professionalism, with my very nice suite, and with the way the staff was always there to help. I will stay at this hotel again, in future visits to NY, even if it's not for Blogher.

For me, the wonder of this conference comes from mingling with so many professional women - and yes, bloggers are professionals. There was agency people here, and corporate gals, and bloggers of every level, but in the end...we were all women gathered together to find out how to better use and manage this new social media stuff. I use the word 'stuff' because it encompasses the many parts of social media, the blogging part, the twittering part, the facebook part, and the parts I am still in the dark about... as well as the parts being created in someone's dining room or garage, ala Guy Kawasaki.

I'm going to write about one of yesterday's sessions that has stayed with me. Lisa Stone, interviewer extraordinaire (why she hasn't been snatched up by a major TV talk show, I don't know), moderated a panel of experts on marketing to women. The session was titled: "How women are behaving online - pioneers in the space."

The panel consisted of Robin Wolaner - CEO of TeeBeeDee -- a community site for folks over 40. I have yet to join but I will. Second on the panel was Ellen Sminioff, a former Yahoo! executive, and now Chairman of Efficient Frontier. The third member of the panel was Maria T. Bailey, author, speaker and Founder/CEO of BSM Media which is all about marketing to Moms.

Maria is busy working on her next book, Women 3.0 which promises to address current issues around the whole modern marketing to women. But, a member of the audience was brave enough to point out that we are facing the same issues we have faced for years and years, more than 30 years, to be precise. We're asking the same questions and getting the same blank stares. Terry Gamer of Women's Media Group (the first woman newspaper publisher in the U.S. she told us) was the asker, and it was clear from the sound of her voice that she was beyond frustration.

The questions continue to revolve around the power of the purse. About how women do make the buying decisions for just about everything, in home and office, and that women have the power and influence (and cash to spend) but we are still marginalized in the advertising world and in the executive boardroom. There is no clear or quick answer, of course. But, it is troublesome. Especially in this day and age, when women are more connected than ever.

I could go on about that but let's cut to the meat of the panel discussion. Maria shared some insight into what Moms (and women in general) are doing and looking for online:

Video - yes, women are into video. So much so that Maria mentioned Baby.com where she says women are watching up to 15 videos at a sitting.

Maria also said women want choices (where have you heard that before...yes, right here on this blog), and she noted that women business owners are an underserved group - because too many people are after the top ten, and forgetting that the majority of women business owners are
SMALl business owners.

I was amused by a comment Robin made. She talked about advertising and community happening online and she said that the, "Print category is funded by dumb marketing dollars today." Hmm... where are you putting your dollars?

Ellen mentioned that doing online campaigns is a good option today. I think she may have been thinking blogger outreach programs and blog advertising, though she did not specify that. She said, in a down economy, you have to be "impactful." You can start small and not spend a lot of money.

She also said companies who approach non-Moms (those women who choose not to have children by choice) using the so-called Sex and the City stereotype, were way off base. I can't quote her verbatim cause I couldn't write fast enough, but this is what I heard in reference to the Sex and the City stereotype (Ellen, if you come by and want to correct me, please do),"Loser women just buying shoes."

Yahoo's new women's site, Shine, did not get high marks. I won't go into the negative remarks, sufficie it to say Yahoo doesn't get it when it comes to marketing to women. Hey, Yahoo... give me a call!

In the end, this panel was quite informative and instructive. Lots of stats -- 86% of all Moms do not live in major metropolitan areas. $2.1 trillion is spent each year by Moms. If you're after the Mom market (and I disagree with folks who say women without children are not Moms - maybe they don't have kids running around under foot but...they're aunts or sisters or relatives of women with kids, AND...some of them treat their pets like kids, so ALL women are Moms, to me)...anyway, if women are your market - and they should be - then get with the game and open up to them.

Engage your women customers. Don't treat all of us alike. Know what you want to accomplish up front and create trackable content. Which is way easier online, btw. While this isn't new...I've talked about it before, it bears repeating. Women like to tak to each other - we communicate. We complain loudly, and we praise profusely. Find out how to get us to do the right one.

Last bit of info...from Lisa Stone, 87% of Blogher traffic is from the U.S. 13% from other English speaking countries. They get amazing traffic from India and the Spanish speaking language countries are growing fast. Are you creating a worldwide focus when you market to women online? If not... why not?

More to come...tomorrow I'll share experiences at my panel discussion, which included Lena West.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Yvonne DiVita

Laura, thank you for stoping by. You make some interesting points. I wonder where "one child" decision-makers fall. One of my daughters has the one-child family (much to my disappointment) and there is a faction of Bill Cosby thinkers (he says if you only have one child you are not really a parent - all in jest, of course) who consider those families with one child - ones who have one child by CHOICE - as a whole separate category.

BTW, what do you think of the agreement with Blogher and NBC's iVillage for $5mill to reach Moms????

Laura Scott

I agree with Melanie (hi melanie, I was one of the "Women without Children" panel members--thanks for your contributions). I have spent the last 4-5 years researching and surveying the childless by choice in North America. Best guess is the childless by choice represent approx half of the childless population, so there are "premoms" who are actively postponing childbearing and others who have made the choice to live childfree. However, I have found a significant number of postponers in my survey (those who had initially anticipated parenthood for themselves and later decided not to have children) made the decision in their late 20's or in their 30's when they were, likely, still able to have children. I believe these women would not respond favorably to marketing designed for "premoms" (those anticipating parenthood for themselves). Instead they would look more favorably on marketing that targeted women who have embraced their childless or childfree status.
I also agree with Melanie that the "sex in the city" characterization of childfree women is way off the mark and in fact is offensive, perpetuating the stereotype of the materialistic and self-indulged DINK consumer. Many DINKs are postponers who will decide to have a child one day, and if they are buying expensive designer shoes, they will likely continue to buy designer duds for their kids.
A conspicuous consumer is a conspicuous consumer, kids or no kids.

Yvonne DiVita

Melanie, can't wait to get to Savvy Auntie...and share it with all the Aunties I know. I like the PreMom term... interesting, and true. Thanks for sharing. Always good to learn about new blogs and new sites and new words.

Melanie Notkin

Yvonne - First of all - great new design!

Secondly, thanks for giving us the low-down on some of the fascinating things that are coming out of Blogher Business for those of us who could not attend.

I want to specifically address what Ellen Sminioff mentioned with regard to the dumbing-down of online media to nonmoms. Just because we don't have kids, doesn't mean we live a barren lifestyle! She's right on the money! We're PANKs - Professional Aunts - No Kids (my term). And we are the fastest growing segment of American women. (Census reports we're over 45% of adult women!)

That's why I am launching SavvyAuntie.com - the first online community for nonmoms and premoms (although mommy-aunties are more than welcome). Sure, we may indulge ourselves once in a while, but we also indulge and completely adore the children in our lives, even though they are not our own. Plus, we have more spending power than moms (there aren't many stay-at-home aunties). We are buying homes, cars, and yes, even shoes - by ourselves and for ourselves (and often our husbands/partners.)

I also want to add that not all PANKs are nonmoms by choice. Some simply haven't gotten there yet as American women get married later and later and have children later in life - Premoms.

Thanks again for your notes. It reminds marketers and the media that it's not about Sex in the City. As I keep saying: It's Aunts in the City!

Melanie Notkin
Founder, SavvyAuntie.com

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)