Monthly Archives

November 2013

Online Shopping Sets the Sexes Apart

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The same male and female shopping habits that play out in malls and grocery stores across the U.S. also play out online, according to the ecommerce agency Redstage.

 

Women dominate online retail in nearly every category, spending 20 percent more time browsing shopping sites than men. Women also spend more money online in almost every area except sports, electronics and outdoor goods.

 

Guys, however, dominate mobile shopping. Armed with their smartphones, they tend to focus a singular shopping mission, delving deeply into product information. In contrast, women tend to scan and browse many products. “This often leads to more impulse purchases from women than from men.”

 

Other differences: Women are more likely to use coupons online (68 percent vs. 60 percent for men) and shop when there are sales (49 percent vs. 36 percent). Women are also more likely to share products on social networks.

 

What do these tendencies mean for ecommerce sites? Retailers catering to men should ensure their mobile site is dialed in, with detailed product information and customer-backed reviews. In contrast, retailers catering to women online should make it easy to browse many products, with the ability to filter and sort results and share finds with social networks.

 

Favorite Car Brands Reveal Gender Gap

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He’ll take a Lincoln, she’ll take a Volvo.

 

According to a study by Kelley Blue Book and reported in Autoblog, men buying new cars favor American luxury brands, while women are more likely to buy imports.

 

The top five car brands for men are Lincoln, Audi, Jaguar, Scion and Cadillac, according to the survey of more than 13,000 U.S. adults. For women, the list is Volvo, Infinity, FIAT, Acura and Nissan. Each brand was ranked by how much more likely one gender is to purchase it than the other.

 

“Like comparing apples to oranges, men and women have different factors of importance when choosing a vehicle,” said Diana Duque-Miranda, senior manager for Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence.

 

Exterior styling is much more important to men, which explains why Audi and Jaguar made the male top five. Older men admire brands with a rich heritage like Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz, said Arthur Henry, manager of Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence. Men of all ages are drawn to more rugged brands like GMC, which grabbed the tenth spot on the male list.

 

For women, it’s safety first—hence the Volvo. Three-quarters look for safety features in a new car, compared to 61 percent of men. Women also put more weight on fuel efficiency and an affordable price tag, which explains why Honda, Kia and Mazda made the top ten list for females.

Magazine Choices Divide Men & Women

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Admit it, men. You’ve read a women’s magazine or two at the doctor’s office. Women do it too—in fact, 20-30 percent of adults read magazines geared for the opposite gender, according to a survey of affluent U.S. adults and reported by Mediapost. But while he might flip through Better Homes and Gardens and she might peek at Maxim, the survey revealed that most magazine preferences display a gender divide.

 

“Men and women show comparable (and enthusiastic) media consumption patterns across platforms, but differ more strongly in content preferences,” Maria Cole writes for Mediapost.

 

More than half of women read titles in the categories of home and cuisine, compared to fewer than a quarter of men. Women are also much more likely to read magazines about fashion, beauty, fitness, health and entertainment. Meanwhile, men are twice as likely to read magazines about science, technology, sports and cars.

 

What’s interesting is that those content preferences translate to TV and the web. Women are much more likely to watch shows focused on entertainment, celebrities, family-friendly fare, and reality TV, and visit websites about cuisine, health and home. Men are more likely to watch shows about sports, science, documentary/history, action/adventure, and sci-fi, and go online for sports, cars, and business.

 

The survey asked about reading habits for 135 magazine titles. Women read more magazines overall, averaging 17 titles and eight issues, about 16 percent more than men. When it comes to travel and news magazines, the most popular genre, affluent men and women read about equally—54 percent.

 

The data has implications for advertisers targeting affluent U.S. adults, a group that is growing both in number and the size of their pocketbooks.

‘Manfluencers’ in the Grocery Store

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Today’s man is confidently doing the family shopping—he just wants a little guidance; brands should pay attention.

 

Nearly half of American men are responsible for the food shopping and meal preparation in their homes, and a quarter of them do all of the grocery shopping, according to Midan Marketing as reported in Supermarket News.

 

Because he’s new in the grocery-buying role, a man is more receptive to being guided and educated when it comes to getting food from grocery to table.

 

“Those retailers and brands that begin focusing on the fact that he’s in their store and looking for ideas and assistance are going to be winners in the long run,” said Michael Uetz, principal of Midan Marketing.

 

Guys tend to avoid aisles that don’t contain an item on their list. This means more brands are fighting for space outside their aisle, especially categories like snacks and beer where men make impulse purchases.

 

A simple store reorganization such as putting spices next to the meat counter will appeal to men. Or better yet, sell pre-marinated meat.

 

“He’s much more likely to look at the product and say, ‘OK, that’s a step that’s taken that I don’t need to do,’” Uetz said.

 

Men are also more likely to buy premium brands. When asked whether there’s a difference in quality between generic and name brands, 51 percent of men and 44 percent of women agreed. The numbers flip when asked whether they’re proud of how much money they saved buying store brands—64 percent of women say yes, versus 58 percent of men.

 

Premium brands can take advantage of this by intercepting men in high-traffic areas where impulse buys are more likely to occur, according to Brad Hanna a VP with the ad agency Barkley.

How Women Decide vs. Men

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Harvard Business Review write-up on a study by global consulting firm Deloitte on how men and women make decisions and internalize the results, indicates different techniques should be used when pitching business to women vs. men.

 

“Recognizing that the majority of our partners and managers, including those who were female, had honed their skills selling to men, and that a rapidly growing percentage of our potential clients were women, we realized it was time to reexamine our assumptions about how to explore opportunities and close deals,” said Deloitte.

 

It starts with our brains. Men are built to process information—they have six times more gray matter where this takes place. Women are built to make connections—they have nearly 10 times more white matter, the connective tissue that facilitates integrated thinking.

 

“Because of their cognitive strengths, men often attack problems by isolating components and optimizing point solutions, whereas the female brain’s integrative advantage can lead women toward maximizing solutions that aim for greater, more holistic outcomes,” the authors write.

 

The differences play out in the office. A big client meeting for a woman more likely means a chance to explore options with an expert resource. Men, rather, see it as narrowing down and choosing final options.

 

“When presenting to men, we find that they look for holes or weaknesses in our arguments. Again, it’s part of the winnowing process. But women continually seek a creative solution—listening for ideas, adjusting their understanding of what is important, and asking for relevant details.”

 

“If the approach you are using seems to be falling flat, stop, listen, and find your way to common ground,” the authors say.

Hunkvertising Sells Salad Dressing

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Call it hunkvertising.

 

The objectification of men in advertising (as with women) is not new. Consider icons like the Marlboro Man and Old Spice’s sexy pitchman Isaiah Mustafa. And yet, a disproportionate number of buff, often-shirtless studs are lately popping up in ads for everything from salad dressing to air freshener.

 

Many ad experts and social critics see the whole thing as a harmless turning of the tables following decades of bikini-clad babes in beer commercials.

 

“We’re all in on the gender-reversal joke,” explains Lisa Wade, associate professor of sociology at Occidental College. “It’s funny to us to think of women being lustful.”

 

Others argue that this trend bears as much scrutiny as advertisers using women as sex objects. One detractor is marketing and media critic Åsk Dabitch Wäppling, who maintains, “Studly Steve is as bad of a stereotype as Doofus Dad. When will we stop insulting people?”

 

On her Adland blog, Wäppling savages the poster boy of the trend, the hunky model Anderson Davis, best known for his shirtless (sometimes pantless) pitch for Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing. That campaign bowed this past April with an eye-popping spot casting Davis as a chef who adds Kraft Zesty Italian to a hot skillet. Ultimately, his shirt is singed right off his body, revealing a chiseled torso in all its glory.

 

Man candy proved a winning strategy. The clip garnered 2.5 million YouTube views and shot Davis and the brand into the chat-o-sphere.

 

But some took it quite seriously, most notably the group One Million Moms, which raised all kinds of heck about a Zesty Italian print ad that featured Davis sprawled with a picnic blanket covering his croutons.

 

Perhaps what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and does hunkvertising, in fact, amount to equality of the sexes?

 

“As women gain in education and the workplace and men take on more household and childcare responsibilities, there’s more gender parity,” offers Ann Mack, who follows popular culture as JWT’s director of trendspotting. “This trend is symbolic” of a more even playing field, she says.

 

Excerpted from Hunkvertising: The Objectification of Men in Advertising, AdWeek, October 13, 2013

 

Excuse Me, Where’s the Man Aisle?

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I’ve recently noticed a fair amount of media coverage on a supposed “phenomenon”—men who shop for groceries. Absurd, right?

The way most of the coverage is framed, you’d think it was 1942 again. It is inferred that women are the “breadwinners” so men are forced to shop and prepare meals. Never mind that men and women increasingly share household management duties. Or that men are single “heads of household” and single parents, too. And if they don’t get to the grocery store once in a while, they’ll starve.

 

We’ve tracked the increase in male shopping—and their growing interest in food—in our last five years of buyer surveys here at CBD. Our recent research points to a much more meaningful trend—that is, guys actually enjoy exploring the grocery aisles. Men are cooking more, they like to try new things and they are taking responsibility for what they eat.

Most retail environments and product manufacturers struggle with how to attract the male shopper. It’s funny to read about stores setting up a “man aisle” with beer, batteries and beef jerky. Seriously? Men are that stereotypical? Maybe so. But there are more meaningful ways to get their attention, such as product sampling. Men in our survey said they will often purchase a product they try at a store, regardless of price, if they like it. And once a man likes a product, his loyalty is far higher than that of his female counterpart’s.

Packaging and advertising may yet be other areas of opportunity. CPG companies and retailers have catered to women for so long, often portraying men as inept in the kitchen. Big mistake! In doing so, they have missed the opportunity to gain the loyalty of the second largest group of buyers.

Excerpted from Excuse me, can you tell me where the Man Aisle is?, by Lori Colman, CBD Marketing, January 24, 2013.

Step Into the Mind of the Fanboy

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Meet the Fanboy Millennial: passionate consumer of geek culture, dedicated gamer and extreme follower of whatever he’s into—be it Minecraft or his favorite movie. These 13-34 year old males take screen time to a whole new level, digesting every type of media at two to three times the rates of other men their age according to the Machinima Recon Attitudes and Usage Study.

 

“The Fanboy Millennials do more than just consume media, entertainment and technology; they live it” says the study. Compared to his peers, the Fanboy spends 200-300 percent more time playing video games, watches two more hours of TV and streams nearly three times the amount of music (14.6 hours) each week. While he prefers streaming shows and movies 40 percent more than the average Millennial male, he is also 50 percent more likely to see a movie in a theater.

 

Immersed in internet culture, Fanboys are rarely without their mobile phones. In fact, they’re always using them—to check status updates, sports scores and stream music and video, again at two to three times the rate of their peers. “More than just mobile users, they are power players and innovators with high value insight into the evolution of the mobile landscape.”

 

Their media consumption is unmatched, but savvy Fanboys see right through traditional marketing techniques. So how can advertisers reach them?

 

Ads that are seamless with the content fare the best with these guys, who don’t want their immersive digital experience interrupted. Fanboys also put a tremendous amount of weight on social networks, so generating buzz from inner circles and trusted influencers will go a long way. Marketers should create interactive campaigns where Fanboys can be the brand ambassadors without feeling like walking billboards.

Cyber Shopping Habits Differ Between the Sexes

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In stores, men prefer to be efficient shoppers—get in, buy it, get out. Women are more apt to price compare and take the time to find a bargain. But do those differences translate to online shopping? Some of them do, according to a recent Shopzilla poll that asked male and female shoppers about their most recent purchase online.

 

One major difference: women are much more likely to use coupons and buy items on sale. A third of women said they used a coupon for their most recent online purchase, compared to a quarter of men. And 71 percent of women bought that product on sale, versus 57 percent of men.

 

While guys aren’t as responsive to bargains, they are more likely to “showroom”—buy a product online after seeing it in person. Twelve percent of men viewed the last product they bought in a store before they bought it cheaper online, as compared to 9 percent of women who did this. Overall, though, the vast majority of men and women didn’t need to see the product in person before they bought it.

 

Women are also much more responsive to marketing emails. Nearly double the number of women surveyed (14 percent) discovered their most recent online purchase in an email, compared to 8 percent of men. Instead, men buy products while just “surfing around” online. One-third made their most recent online purchase this way, versus one-quarter of women.

 

If discounts and email marketing are less effective on men, how can product marketers target males? Small Business Trends suggests grabbing their attention with ads related to what they’re surfing. And to feed male shoppers’ desire for instant gratification, brick and mortar stores can bridge the digital gap by offering access to their own website in store to order items that aren’t in stock, or offering in-store pickup for purchases made online.

Men Giving Thanksgiving Advice?

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Turkey behemoth Butterball garnered headlines by announcing its campaign to find a man to give advice on its Turkey Talk Line this holiday season. The hotline, whose operators have been talking down frantic home cooks on Thanksgiving for 32 years, has traditionally been manned by women—not because of an explicit policy against men, but because “a man has never applied,” according to the director of the hotline. Now, the company is asking men to submit essays and videos in a competition to become the hotline’s first male spokesman.

 

So, is America ready to take turkey-cooking advice from a man? I mean, sure, last year food writer Sam Sifton published a whole book about Thanksgiving cooking. The year before that Cook’s Illustrated founder Christopher Kimball offered his turkey-roasting tips to NPR. And, granted, the year before that food science legend Harold McGee gave his “Top 10 Thanksgiving Tips” to Serious Eats. And I guess Jacques Pépin did air a Thanksgiving special in 2003. And Wolfgang Puck and Paul Prudhomme brought recipes to Morning Edition’s “Fantasy Thanksgiving Feast” back in 1993. Oh, and I guess Craig Claiborne offered Thanksgiving kitchen advice pretty regularly starting with “How an Expert Carves a Thanksgiving Day Turkey” back in 1957, the year he started editing the New York Times Dining section. Which was 13 years after James Beard published Fowl and Game Cookery, which contained a whole chapter on turkey.

 

But still! Men, giving cooking advice? Has Butterball become some kind of radical feminist advocacy group?

 

Setting my snark aside for a moment: Although Butterball’s PR gambit is about 70 years behind the times in its implications about gender roles, there is one way in which it’s pretty progressive: According to the eligibility requirements, applicants must “self-identify as a man,” which implies that the gender one was assigned at birth doesn’t matter. If Butterball hires a trans-man to be its new spokesperson, I will hail its progressive politics in all seriousness.

 

Excerpted from Is America Really Ready to Take Thanksgiving Cooking Advice from a Man? by L.V. Anderson, Slate.com, September 19, 2013.