PR 101 Lesson #130 The ROI of Social Media

I was at meeting last Wednesday of a group called StartUp Milwaukee. During the meeting the question of the ROI of Social Media marketing arose.

For those of you not familiar with the acronym, ROI stands for Return On Investment.

At any rate, StartUp Milwaukee hosted a meeting of people who are in the early stages of starting a company. A panel of four social media experts spent about 90 minutes fielding questions about how to use social media, why it’s effective, and what direction in which it might be headed.

One of the persistent questions was how does one measure social media’s ROI. Understandably these newly minted entrepreneurs wanted to know what it was going to cost to market their company or product. I had the impression many of them had just discovered what it costs to start a company.

An Expert Speaks

“That’s been a standing joke in marketing for a long time, measuring the ROI of social media,” panel member Aaron Biebert said. Biebert owns Attention Era Media, a Milwaukee-based visual media company. “Ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t do it.”

Biebert is a social media expert. To quote his company’s website: “Attention Era Media is a small creative group dedicated to helping remarkable companies, brands, and people earn attention in this new era.  Primarily, we do this through the use of visual media like video, photography, or graphic design.  We produce videos, brand films, event highlights, commercials, web videos, and just about any other way you could use video or photography to get your message across.  Then we use the power of social media to help distribute our creations.”

I agree with Biebert. I take it one step further. Not doing social media means removing a major tool from your marketing efforts.

Measurement Is Not That Hard

As for measuring ROI, that’s simple. The measurement of ROI comes from increased sales and profits that tracks back to a marketing campaign that included social media.

Now, you are going to hear about all of kinds of different ways to measure ROI from so-called Social Media experts. Some will tell you that clicks on your website is a good way to measure it. Others will tell you can measure by the number of people who read your blog or subscribe to your RSS feed. You are going to hear a lot of other definitions. They’re all nonsense.

Don’t Be Distracted

As I just said the only real measure of ROI is increased sales and profits. After all, you are not marketing your company or product simply for entertainment value.

Let me give you an example of that. Sometimes I will have clients who want to do a television campaign. Television campaigns are incredibly expensive and not that effective. They do have a place, but there are better, more cost effective alternatives.

At any rate, a client will ask my thoughts on television advertising. I will ask the client what is their favorite television commercial? They will give me answer of something they like. It is usually based on the entertainment value of the ad.

Then I ask them, would you buy whatever product is advertised based on that commercial? Almost invariably, the answer is no. Then the light bulb goes on for them. I know it’s anecdotal, but in my opinion that shows the lack of ROI from such an effort.

As I said, unless a marketing effort is generating revenue, what’s the point?

 

PR 101 Weekly Rant #78 Is It Flattery – Or Laziness?

I don’t if you’ve noticed, but lately it seems a lot of commercials look remarkably the same. Is this one of creatives flattering their rivals, or they just being lazy? I think it shows a marked lack of creativity.

There is a third option: a client saw a competitor’s campaign and demanded their agency copy it. If that’s happening, someone should be slapping the executive on the account, his or her boss and the creative team. We are supposed to be counseling our clients on what marketing works best.

Compare these commercials for the Chevy Cruz and the Volkswagen Passat.

See the similarities here? Talk about copycats.

This is just one example. There is a lot more of this going on. It’s not a smart thing to do. For instance

I think all it does is confuse the consumer and depress ROI. It confuses the consumer because after seeing each ad three or four times, they are going confuse the products. You can see how return on investment gets depressed.

To me is also makes the point that traditional advertising is getting tired. A truly compelling is on that stops a view from heading to the kitchen to get beer. It should not elicit the response of “hey, I seen that somewhere before.”

It is just another argument for social media.

PR 101 Lesson #129 Back To Basics

The Maine-based shoemaker G.H. Bass Co. recently stated in an email to customers that it is getting back to basics by making the “very best shoe,” in the words of Bass President Kristin Kohler Burrows.

I think this was a very smart move. They are being proactive, which can translate into increased customer trust and eventually sales.

 What the shoe company is doing seems to be a rising trend among consumer companies. The most notable example has been Chrysler Motors Corporation that kicked off its return to basics with the notable 2011 commercial featuring Detroit rapper Eminem.

 “Our founder, George Henry Bass, was a man on a simple mission ‘to make the very shoe,’” Burrows said in the email. “Like our founder, we believe in consistently delivering our customer quality product at the right price – each season taking one step forward to meet your needs.

(One thing I should note: Burrows should have used a copy editor. Now, I know I am one to talk, but the sentence should have read “like our founder, we believe in consistently delivering to our customers  quality products at the right price.”)

“We unfortunately lost our way in the last few years – and simply did not deliver against your needs.” (I think she meant to your needs.)

The email goes on to say that due to customer feedback the company is going back to go forward.  It promises a return to quality at the “right price.” It also says the company is going back to using the G.H Bass & Co. name because that acknowledges all of the work done by the company’s employees.

Here’s the entire email:

20130508_25off_MessageFromKristin_07

 

I am Bass customer. At this time, I own three pairs of their shoes. Yet, I have seen little reported anywhere about the shoe company’s efforts to change its image. In fact, I have to say I didn’t know there was a problem with its image.

Which brings me to my first question. If most people don’t know there is a problem with the brand, is it wise to announce it? Why tell the world about something that might never get out?

Frankly, I think the answer is yes. When I do crisis communications, I always urge clients to get out in front of the issue. It is always better for the company having a problem to make the announcement. In that way, the chances of controlling the narrative are much, much better.

Letting a company critic tell the world about a problem first is a huge mistake. In first you do that, you have lost control of the conversation. You are going to be playing catch-up for the rest of the crisis. As any baseball team will tell you, it’s much harder to play when you are down a couple three runs.

To put simply, it is always better to be proactive than reactive. The landscape is littered with companies that didn’t get out in front of the crisis. Those companies saw their reputation slip, lost sales and usually lost revenue.

I should note one thing about G.H Bass & Co. It is not an independent company. It is part of a corporation called PVH. PVH also owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. It has a group it calls Heritage Brands that is the umbrella for Bass, Izod, Arrow and Van Heusen.

So there is no way to tell if the Bass letter came from Bass or from corporate headquarters. Still that’s a small point. The important one is that someone was paying attention to a company’s reputation. That’s one of the most important factors in keeping a company going.

 

PR 101 Weekly Rant #77 People Hate Bad Ads – Well Duh!

People hate bad ads, a recent study has found. Yes, my first reaction was just as the headline said: “well duh.” Of course they do, I thought. We all do.

 Then I started thinking a little deeper. Once again I realized that running a poorly conceived campaign could kill a product, or even an entire brand, very quickly.

 “According to InsightsOne, with Harris Interactive, (the report) Americans Are Fed Up With Bad Ads, 87 percent of American adults 18 and over are putting their foot down on the number of irrelevant ads they are willing to see before they ignore a company completely,” according to a research brief from the Center for Media Research. “Twenty-three percent of Americans say they will do so after seeing just one spam email or online ad, and 43 percent say they will ignore a company completely after seeing as many as two.”

Consumers Are Tired of a Lack Of Respect

 Think about that for a moment. One bad ad, one email sent that the receiver views as spam and the brand is kaput in that person’s eyes. That’s not a good thing at all.

 “The American people are tired of companies that appear to not respect or understand their needs,” said Waqar Hasan, CEO of InsightsOne. “The results of the study show that consumers have a real limit on what they’re willing to put up with, and this very real problem [that] will have a negative impact on a company’s income statement if they don’t do something about it.”

 What amazes me is many companies just don’t seem to get that. Their internal marketing teams and their agencies act like it’s 1960. They seem to think that just like 60 years ago, they can bombard a consumer with messages and that consumer will respond in a positive.

 I always tell my clients you never want to anger your customers. They have too many other choices nowadays. That’s true where the company sells directly to consumers or to other businesses (my specialty.)

A Lot Of Campaigns Are Annoying and That’s Dangerous

 The study reported that “overall, more Americans get annoyed by irrelevant pop-up ads and lottery scams (both 70 percent) than get annoyed by:

  •  Male enhancement ads – 66 percent.
  • Emails from deceased African leaders who have left them money – 64 percent. (A personal note: based on the amount of money offered to me by people from Nigeria, I now own that entire country.)
  • Ads for products and services they do not need – 58 percent.
  • Female enhancement ads – 54 percent.

It is a very interesting study. It reinforces what I have been saying for a decade: today consumers have all the power. The days when a brand or an agency could throw out a bunch of ideas and assume they would work on gone. Consumers will decide what works and what doesn’t work. As the study shows, cross them and say bye bye to your sales and possibly your brand.

Consumers Will Wield Their Power

Some of the study’s other results are:

  •  “Annoying ads are pervasive, with 91 percent of Americans reporting they see them. While email spam and junk mail tend to get the most attention, it was surprising to discover that almost as many Americans are annoyed by website ad spam (52 percent) as are annoyed by email spam/sidebar ads (55 percent). Postal junk mail (37 percent) actually ranked fifth, behind television ads (60 percent), email spam/sidebar ads, website ads and ads on social media (37 percent).”
  • “The results may create challenges for ecommerce companies that advertise and sell over the web. In fact, 88 percent of Americans say they have even been “flooded” with online ad spam, and 91 percent of those say they take action when it occurs.  Thirty-six percent of those who have ever been flooded with online ad spam say they would leave a website because of too many irrelevant ads, and many more would begin to feel that the company doing the advertising doesn’t respect their time (26 percent).  For email, 60 percent will unsubscribe from future messages, but a surprising 45 percent will simply ignore future communications.

The bottom line on all this is people are getting more and more fed up with a lot of today’s marketing. Companies and agencies need to have that idea drilled in their brains. If they don’t, which means they won’t change, they will fade away.

PR 101 Lesson #128 A Failure To Communicate

In the classic movie “Cool Hand Luke,” prison guard Strother Martin says to inmate Paul Newman “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” The same thing seems to be happening to General Motors Cadillac division.

I made the connection the other day when I heard a radio commercial from a Milwaukee-area Cadillac dealer. He was urging all of the snowbirds (those who go to warmer climes to escape Wisconsin’s winters) to bring their Cadillacs in for service now they are back home.

It’s no secret that average snowbird is retired and probably in their late 60s at the youngest. That has been Cadillac’s demographic for as long as I can remember.

A Failure To Communicate

The problem this commercial causes for Cadillac is that Cadillac is trying mightily to appeal to a much younger buyer. Sending different messages can kill a brand. Consumers don’t like confusion. If the messages are mixed, the average consumer will go elsewhere.

“Despite more than a decade of furious rethinking, heroic redesign, massive drivetrain redevelopment and intense infotainment updates, Cadillac’s cars still appeal mainly to older men with incomes lower than those of buyers of German competitors,” USA Today reported in March.

2013-cadillac-xts

A 2013 Cadillac CTS

Mixed Messages

This is where the failure to communicate enters the picture. Now, I can understand why the dealer is doing what he is doing. He has an existing customer base that he wants to serve. The economy is tough and he’s not about to walk away from the income.

On the other hand, the parent company doesn’t seem to want those customers anymore. I understand why. Younger buyers have not yet developed any brand loyalty. The idea is to get them young. Once a company has them, the belief is that they will remain customers for life.

I could go on about how that’s not true anymore, but that’s another blog.

I have no idea what kind of memo went out to dealers from GM corporate about easing away from the over 65-year-old buyers. But I am sure something went out. Look at Cadillac’s recent campaigns. It shows younger drivers testing cars in extreme conditions. Those campaigns talk about Blue Tooth connections and Pandora descriptions. That campaign is designed to appeal to younger buyers.

Those are the buyers Cadillac wants. Not the ones that are buying them now.

WHO BUYS TODAY’S CADILLACS?

Gender and largest age groups of buyers for Cadillac cars:

ATS, the $33,990-up compact sedan on sale since September, 2011

  •   Male — 65.7%
  • Ages 55-64 — 24.4%
  • Ages 45-54 — 20.9%
  • Ages 65-74 — 17.8%

XTS, the $44,995-up large sedan on sale since June

  • Male — 72.8%
  • Ages 55-64 — 19.3%
  • Ages 65-74 — 30.7%
  • Ages 75 and older — 28.9%

CTS $39,990-up midsize sedan being replaced this fall

  • Male — 64.1%
  • Ages 45-54 — 20%
  • Ages 55-64 — 24.5%
  • Ages 65-74 — 21.7%

Source: USA Today

 

A New Customer Base

Now, why is Cadillac walking away from older buyers? Because to be blunt, they are not going to be buying many more cars in their lifetimes. General Motors wants customers who can be counted to buy their cars for the next 40 or 50 years.

As USA Today put it: “A dollar from them (buyers over 65) is worth the same as a dollar from a middle-aged executive or a young entrepreneur. But those buyers have more years of luxury-car-buying ahead before taking that last ride in a big Caddy. That makes them more important to automakers.”

A note: before someone accuses me age discrimination, I am a lot closer in age to the snowbirds than the demographic Cadillac would like to attract. I have a draft number from the Vietnam War. That should give you a clue about how old I am.

The surest way to scare away those potential younger buyers is to have them think this the car their grandparents are driving. They will run for the nearest Lexus, Acura, Audi or some other foreign luxury car.

So that’s where the failure to communicate comes into the picture. The powers that be in Detroit would apparently like their current buyers to go elsewhere. But the dealers are not about to ignore an existing revenue stream. Unless corporate and the dealers get on the same page, something is going to crash and burn.

 

 

 

PR 101 Weekly Rant #76 These Things Really Irritate Me

I spend a lot of time on the Web. It is necessary for what I do – marketing. But lately, there are more and more things that are irritating me as I cruise the Net. So, I decided to see if these are things that also bug you. Feel free to comment and add to this list.

 So, in no particular order, are some of the things that really frost me:

  • Facebook allowing people to add me to groups without my permission. If I want to join the Tulips for Tippy group I will make the decision. When I get added against my will, I leave the group, block and report it as a spammer
  • Along those lines, people who invite me to join a group or site to which I already belong. I have belonged to Twitter for six years, Facebook for four or five, Linked since shortly after it was founded and a host of other groups also. I am not that hard to find. So look before you invite.
  • The increasing number of social media sites that are just copies of existing sites. For every Pinterest that comes along, there are 10 Facebook or LinkedIn copies. Why would I join something that is just like a site to which I already belong?
  • “Social Media marketers” who aren’t. Sending me an invite for a social media app or webinar followed by “you only have 30 seconds to sign up” is not social media marketing. The very premise of social media marketing is not to try to pressure someone into making a quick decision.
  •  Online surveys that start out with something like “this will only take five minutes.” Twenty minutes and a hundred questions in, I simply stop and delete it. Most people don’t have that kind of time.
  •  LinkedIn contacts that ask me to fill out a survey saying out how great they are. I have a very firm rule of only endorsing people I know and have worked with. Anything else wouldn’t be accurate.
  • Webinars that claim to be informational, but turn out to be sales tools. What particularly bothers me about this tactic is how the presenter will leave a key piece of information. The only way to get that information is to buy whatever is being sold.
  • This last one is not really a complaint – it is more a puzzle to me. I am active on Four Square and Yelp. Frankly, I like the discounts and the chance to meet with up friends. But what I don’t understand is why people from London or Mumbai or Tokyo want to be my friends on either site? Are they coming to Milwaukee? Are my tips that interesting? I don’t get it.

 

These are some of my top complaints. If you have any of your own, post them in the comment section. If I receive enough, I will do another blog listing all of yours.

 

PR 101 Lesson # 127 Five Mistakes that Quash Corporate Innovation

‘You Can’t Read the Label While Inside the Jar,’ Say Fortune 100 Consultants

Guest Blog by 

Maria Ferrante-Schepis & G. Michael Maddock

The biggest breakthroughs in the history of business – and the history of the world – are never the result of conventional thinking, says Maria Ferrante-Schepis, a veteran in the insurance and financial services industry who now consults Fortune 100 companies such as GE with innovation agent Maddock Douglas, Inc.

“To echo Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt back in 1960, ‘In every case, the reason growth (in business) is threatened, slowed or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.’ Many of the world’s biggest companies are simply riding on inertia,” says Ferrante-Schepis, author of “Flirting with the Uninterested,” (www.flirtingwiththeuninterested.com), coauthored by G. Michael Maddock, which explores innovation opportunity through the lens of the insurance industry.


Maria Book Cover

“There’s a great saying in the South: ‘You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar,’ ” says Maddock, CEO of Maddock Douglas. “It’s hard to see a need and invent a way to fill that need when you’ve been inside one business or industry for a long time.”

Recognizing those needs requires stepping outside of the jar and viewing things from the outside, adds Ferrante-Schepis.

“You can’t innovate from inside the jar, and if you aren’t innovating, you’re just waiting for the expiration date on your business,” she says.

Ferrante-Schepis and Maddock bust five myths relating to corporate innovation:

  •  The preference of four out of five dentists doesn’t necessarily matter: Many years ago, when the Maddock Douglas firm consulted with P&G to develop new oral health care products, Crest was recommended by most dentists. However, it turns out the market had shifted; consumers became more interested in bright smiles than healthy gums. Many industries make the mistake of getting their insights from their own experts rather than asking the consumer.
  •  Giving all your love to those who already love you: In the interest of preserving customer morale, too many companies focus on those who already love their service. But that’s not what companies need to work on; they need to focus on what’s not working in order to improve. The haters very often offer well-targeted insights that can tremendously improve products, customer service, and/or operations.
  • “We tried that idea. It didn’t work.” What idea, exactly? People who are in the jar interpret new ideas based on how they last saw them. You may think you’ve tried or tested an idea, but if you applied it in a conventional way, the way it’s always been used, you haven’t really tried it. Consider the term “auction” — in-the-jar thinkers envision Sotheby’s and not the more practical and innovative eBay.
  •  Trying to impress with insider jargon: Communication is a huge part of innovation. Policies in the health-insurance industry, for example, include language that may make sense to insiders, but say nothing to the average middle-class customer, which is prohibitive. Be very careful about the language you use. In this case, “voice of the customer” should be taken literally. Customers recognize, respond to and build from their own words more than from yours.
  •   Staying at your desk and in the office: Doubling down on what already has not worked for you is not innovative. Get outside your office and act like an anthropologist. Spend time with your customers and bring an expert interpreter and a couple members of your team. Compare notes; you’ll be shocked at how differently you all see the situation.

 

About Maria Ferrante-Schepis & G. Michael Maddock

Maria Ferrante-Schepis is the managing principal of insurance and financial services at Maddock Douglas, Inc, an agency of innovation focused on helping large brands bring new ideas to market. After more than 20 years as an executive in the insurance and financial services industry, she has joined the Maddock Douglas team to focus on the opportunities for innovation in the insurance and financial services industry, recognizing the significant public and government demand for change. Ferrante-Schepis holds a bachelor’s in marketing and an MBA in management. 

G. Michael Maddock is the founding partner and CEO of leading innovation agency Maddock Douglas, which has helped more than 25 percent of Fortune 100 companies invent, brand and launch new products, services and business models. A serial entrepreneur, Maddock has launched four successful businesses and co-chairs the Gathering of Titans Entrepreneurial Conclave at MIT.

PR 101 Lesson #126 Sometimes It Is Too Late

Recently I was at a Social Media Club Milwaukee where an event promoter asked for the club’s help in publicizing a June event in Milwaukee. He wanted us to put together a social media marketing effort to publicize an event that is approximately six weeks away. He came to us too late.

I didn’t say anything at the meeting. Perhaps I should of because what he is asking cannot be done in the time allotted. Very few brands can build an audience in that short of a time. As I always tell clients, it takes at least six months to build a solid audience who can be converted to customers or clients. To really solidify such an effort takes almost a year.

 Contrast that promoter’s effort with what Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Motor Co. has been doing for its 110th anniversary celebration. Every five years the motorcycle maker on Labor Day weekend celebrates the company’s 1903 founding. Hundreds of thousands of riders descend on our city.

1936-harley-davidson

 

Now granted Harley is an iconic brand with fiercely loyal customers. Still, it takes nothing for granted. It wants to keep those customers buying Hogs. It also wants to keep building on that customer base. It understands that things can change very quickly.

 Harley got a lesson in 2003 when it had Elton John playing at the celebration concert. While I am Elton John fan, that was a not a good choice for 50,000 or so Harley riders. That was one unhappy group of men and women.

 Very smart people run the company though. They learned from that mistake. That’s why Harley has been making announcements for at least six months about who will be playing. It knows how to build enthusiasm for the upcoming event.

 Harley has been doing the right way. They know it takes time and a variety of tactics to build an audience.

 Now I can you shaking your head and saying: “but that’s Harley-Davidson. Everybody knows about Harley. It’s easy for them. My brand doesn’t have the kind of cache. It won’t work for me.”

 Ah, but it will – if you invest the time and make the effort.

 I will probably be blogging more about how to do this later on. But, I am going to stick with my fishing metaphor that I seem to be so fond of. You need patience.

 As Ewan McGregor noted in “Salmon Fishing in Yemen” noted it sometimes takes a long time for a salmon to rise to the fly. You have to be patient. It is not something that can be rushed.

 The same holds true for marketing.

 

 

PR 101 Lesson #125 Social Media Marketing Works – If Done Right

A study done by beverage maker Coca-Cola says that online buzz, i.e. social media marketing has little effect on the company’s sales. That’s an amazing statement for a company that 61.5 million Facebook fans. That’s the most of any company on Facebook.

But even as Coke was releasing the study results at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:think 2013 conference in New York City, a senior executive was tap dancing about the study’s results. Eric Schmidt, senior manager-marketing strategy and insights at Coca-Cola, noted the study only covers buzz. It did not look at sharing, video, or any other part of social media.

Coca-Cola Indonesia

“We didn’t see any statistically significant relationship between our buzz and our short-term sales,” Advertising Age reported Schmidt said. “Is that the end of the story? I would say no. This is one study on a set of brands in a particular company within a certain segment of the consumer-packaged-goods industry. It is by no means a generalized result that applies to all industries.”
What amazes me about this is that marketing giant Coca-Cola cannot seem to get it right. What is also amazing is that they apparently have no plans to change their tactics.
Online advertising is almost as successful at television advertising, Schmidt did note.
The problem Coke is having is that they are confusing buzz with sales. Buzz is akin to a fish nibbling on a line. The line jerks, but the fish isn’t hooked yet. All you know is that you have attracted the fish’s attention. You have to work to set that hook. Only after that happens will you be able to reel in dinner.
So I decided to see what Coke’s great rival Pepsi is doing in social media.
“Pepsi, selected by U.S. News as one of America’s Most Connected Companies for its ambitious social media strategy, understands that cyberspace is fertile ground for building relationships with customers who might not be reachable through print or television advertising,” U.S. News and World Report said 11 months ago.
“Pepsi is learning, as every business in learning, that if you want to remain relevant with this new type of consumer, you have to be where they are, you have to talk their language,” and you have to connect with them in a way that “keeps them feeling like they want to be part of your brand,” says Brian Solis, a principal analyst at the Altimeter Group and author of The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution. Connected consumers, he adds, are “getting groomed and conditioned to expect the world to come to them.”

pepsi_can

In other words, Pepsi gets it. Social media has given consumers all of the power. You want to sell to them you have to go where they live. For 18-to-35-year-olds, that’s online.
When Pepsi detects buzz around their brand, they work hard to set the hook.
“That’s the motivation behind Pepsi’s April 30 (2012) launch of a digital dashboard featuring lots of sugary references to pop culture, which the company hopes will resonate with its core audience of 18- to 35-year-olds,” U.S. News reported. “The content, found at Pepsi.com, is part of the beverage giant’s new ‘Live for Now’ marketing campaign.”
Yes, Coke still dominates the soda market in the United States. But that’s a function of age I think. As more and more younger consumers take up Pepsi’s social media bait, I would be surprised to see Pepsi pass Coke.

There’s a lesson here for Coke. It was first taught to another dominant company almost a century ago. For the early part of the 20th century, Ford Motor Company was the dominant U.S. car manufacturer. But Ford refused to change its product line to give consumers what they wanted. Ford has now learned it’s lesson and is nipping at GM’s heels.

Finally: A personal note: Diabetes is a growing scourge. Worldwide 347 million people have it. In the U.S., it has afflicted more than 20 million people. That number is growing. It can cause blindness, heart attack, stroke, amputations, and a host of other problems. It is a hidden disease because people with Diabetes look like they are okay. They are not. Many of my friends and family members have been affected. Every year to fight this disease I participate in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure bicycle ride in Wisconsin. . I am asking for your help by donating money to support me in the ride. The vast majority of the money raised goes to fund research. So please click on this link and donate whatever you can afford. Thank you.

A final note: This is my 200th blog. I would like to thank all of you for reading them.

PR 101 Rant #75 We Need More Women Executives

Before I start, a personal note: Diabetes is a growing scourge. Worldwide 347 million people have it. In the U.S., it has afflicted more than 20 million people. That number is growing. It can cause blindness, heart attack, stroke, amputations, and a host of other problems. It is a hidden disease because people with Diabetes look like they are okay. They are not. Many of my friends and family members have been affected. Every year to fight this disease I participate in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure bicycle ride in Wisconsin. I am asking for your help by donating money to support me in the ride. The vast majority of the money raised goes to fund research. So please click on this link and donate whatever you can afford. Thank you.

The marketing world needs more women executives. I cannot say it anymore directly than that.

The Key Reason Why

“Women who sit on corporate boards are more likely to “rock the boat” and be more open to new ideas than their male counterparts — skills that often translate into better decisions and financial success for the company, according to a new study,” Huff Post Business Canada reported. “The survey, recently published in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, found that of the 624 board directors polled in Canada, women were more likely to use ‘co-operation, collaboration and consensus building’ when dealing with complex decisions.”

Co-operation, collaboration and consensus building are to me three most of the important things to do in creating a successful company. I know a lot of men though to whom those words represent weakness. It’s their company dammit and they are going to run as they see fit – even if it’s into the ground.

Let’s look at some numbers

According to the website Infoplease:

  • In 2011, there were 158.3 million women living in the United States. That compares to 153.3 million men. I think the spread is wider now.
  • Currently 57.7 percent of women 16 and older who participate in the labor force, representing about 72.6 million women in 2012.
  • In addition 41.7 percent of women 16 and older worked in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 35.1 percent of employed males in December 2012.
  • The median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year-round, full time in 2011 was $37,118. In comparison, the median annual earnings of men were $48,202. The female-to-male earnings ratio in 2011 was 0.77. That’s just wrong.

A Huge Market

Therefore woman are increasingly dominating many aspects of society. This is a market to which the old ways of doing things won’t work. I would like to think the sex of people designing the campaigns to reach this market didn’t matter. But I would be very wrong.

A lot of companies still seem to think that using half clad women in their marketing efforts is the way to sell their product. Most women I know are insulted and frustrated by those commercials. Why do companies do something that is going to anger more than half the country? I don’t understand it.

Look at the recent Dr. Pepper soda commercials. The actor specifically says Dr. Pepper is not for women. Let me get this straight: a company wants to tell more than half the public not to buy their product? Women in this country still do the majority of grocery shopping. And where is most soda sold – you guessed it – the grocery store.

I have to believe that if a woman had running that campaign, she would have to Dr. Pepper and said: “what are you, @#@#$%^& crazy? You want to remain a minority brand?”

Yes, before you bring it up, there are campaigns directed at women that are sensitive. I have to credit Dove soap for working hard to kill the stereotypical and incorrect picture most advertisers have of women. But, that soap is a women-specific product.

I do have to give Ford Motor Company credit. Their commercials seem to be mostly gender neutral. I am waiting though for a commercial for the F-150 pickup truck that features a woman driving the truck

I hope that, and a lot of other changes, happen soon.