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February 2010
ADM logoShort But Sweet
February is the shortest month in the calendar--even in a Leap Year. But it is quite notable.
Most people observe Valentines Day--whether they want to or not. This holiday, whose origins are rather mysterious, commemorates a priest (or perhaps a bishop) of the third century who may have been martyred in a typically gruesome manner. Legend has it that he secretly married Christians in Rome, in spite of its being illegal (and deadly) to do so. Geoffrey Chaucer popularized his reputation for facilitating love and marriage, and the rest is history. Or legend.
February also marks the birth of Susan B. Anthony, mother of us all (ironic because she never had children of her own!) and the sinking of the Battleship Maine, which started the Spanish-American War. That pretty much covers the waterfront (LOL)!
Have a great V-Day, and a productive February!
Marketing To Women
It's Not Just Detergent
Marketing experts have identified the hottest new market, a population that is worth as much as $5 to $7 trillion a year--women.  What's new about that? Ever since the advent of modern advertising, women have been targeted for all kinds of products and services. However, there are some new wrinkles to the 21st century's women's market.
It is well known that nearly half the labor force is made up of women, today, even though they earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn (Institute For Women's Policy Research, Sept 2009). What is relevant to marketers is the range of products and services purchased by today's woman; according to
  • 92% of vacations
  • 91% of new homes
  • 89% of bank accounts
  • 80% of healthcare spending
  • 66% of personal computers
  • 65% of new cars 
Another source states that 40% of consumer electronics are bought by women; even more are influenced by women. The lion's share of apparel purchases--including men's and children's apparel--are purchased by women (80%). Nine out of ten women participate in decisions that affect household retirement and investment accounts. 
Even when it comes to the male bastion of professional sports, women have made inroads. Ogilvy & Mather found that nearly half of official NFL merchandise is bought by women (46%). They control 80% of sports apparel purchasing and comprise about one-third of the adult audience for ESPN sports programming (34%).
Has the women's movement finally triumphed? Have we reached full equality? Not so fast, pilgrim! Aside from the earnings inequity cited above, a lot of gender stereotyping continues in advertising. This suggests that the people creating ads--and the clients for whom the ads are created--are out of touch. In the decade between 1998 and 2008:
  • the percentage of women with a college degree increased from 28% to 41%
  • the proportion of single women 25-34 increased from 8% to 38%
  • the involvement of young women 18-24 in consumer electronics purchasing went from 69% to 91%.
With a delay in the age of first marriages, and an increased likelihood that young women will take jobs in distant cities (or countries!), they are becoming more informed about products and services that may have formerly been purchased (or influenced) by husbands and fathers. Many advertisers pay only lip service to the implications of these societal changes, but they should be aware that 91% of women say that advertisers do not understand them.
  • 84% say that investment marketers do not understand them
  • 74% feel misunderstood by automobile marketers
  • 66% say that healthcare marketers do not understand them
  • 59% do not feel understood by food marketers. 
These findings should be a wake-up call to marketers. The 21st century woman is NOT Betty Draper with a new hairdo and a job. In fact, she is far more independent and self-directed.
Many thanks to Carol Simas of Pinpoint Sage (, one of our network partners, for the secondary research findings included above. In fact, there was so much information, there will a follow-up next month on Working Moms. 
Target Marketing
Five Things You Need To KnowTarget cropped 
One of the first things marketers need to know is the audience (or audiences) for their products or services. Even a broadly used category like shampoo or telephony can be promoted in such a way as to appeal to one population segment or another. This makes marketing more efficient than trying to be all things to all people.  Target marketing is even more important when the marketer KNOWS the product/service does NOT have broad appeal.  Therefore, identifying the population segments (or business users for B-to-B products/services) that are most likely to buy is critical for success. Trying to fly blind is extremely risky.  Here are some basic things you need to know even before you begin developing a marketing strategy.          
  • Are there pre-requisites for buyers?
    Do they need to have a certain kind of knowledge (e.g., driving a car, working a computer, having an older technology in their businesses)?
    Do they need to be home owners?
  • How do demographics influence your targeting?
    Is this specifically gender-oriented (e.g., feminine hygiene products)?
    Is it age-oriented (e.g., children's apparel or toys)?
    Does it relate to a specific life-stage (brides, retirees)?
  • What are the features and utility of the product or service and how do they benefit the buyer?
    How does it solve a problem or improve a situation for the buyer?
  • What are the current societal trends or business trends that could impact purchasing your product or service?
    What is the impact of globalization?
  • What is the current economic environment and how could it impact the purchase of your product or service?
    Even in a down-turn, there are distinct opportunities for many companies.
It is important to keep an open mind about targets, as the process of answering these questions can uncover some surprises.  A few years ago, a food client discovered that its typical target (double-income families with children) was not the only market segment for its product. It turned out that young single men found it easy to make, quick, and inexpensive; a winning combination for that segment. Of course, that complicated their media and communications planning because they had to come up with a two-pronged approach to appeal to these diverse groups. On the other hand, it gave them two opportunities to increase sales.
When marketers know who is likely to buy and why they would be likely to buy, they can enter the marketplace ready to engage their public(s); engagement leads to relationships, which, under the right environment, can be long and productive.
Upcoming Events
February 9, 11:30am-1:30pm
The International Association of Business Communicators is featuring a very "hot" topic: "Emotional Thought In 'Rational Decision-Making'," featuring Dr. Carol S. Greenwald, Principal, Marketing Partners. The meeting will be at Blackstone's Restaurant, 10 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, 11:30am-1:30pm.  Visit for more information; you can also register at
February 10, 8:00-10:00am   

SMPS-LI has a very informative program for those in the Architecture, Engineering, and Contracting industry: "Getting Business From Public Agencies," led by Rick Santoro of VJ Associates. The meeting will be held at Milleridge Inn, Broadway and Jericho Turnpike, Jericho. Go to for more information and to register.
February 12, 1:00-4:30pm
The New York American Marketing Association is partnering with Fordham University on a half-day program, "The Persuasive Power of Language in Brand Communications." It is being held in the Lowenstein Building of Fordham at 113 W. 60th St., Rm. 614. For more information, go to:
This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:

Ann Middleman