Archive for the ‘social issues and new media’ Category


Gentlemen: Start your (search) engines…

In Demographics,newspapers,social issues and new media on October 21, 2009 by gingercatmom

A recent study shows that men are more willing than women to incorporate digital media as replacements for traditional media. Whether they want news, music or entertainment — guys prefer finding it online. BrandWeek reported last week on a TargetCast:tcm study of 895 adults between the ages of 18-64. The survey, conducted in September, finds that it’s more common for men than women to say they’ve replaced their newspapers and magazines with versions on the Internet, or now pay for an online subscription to TV programs with limited advertising.

What else do the guys have to say about alternative digital sources of news? Men are more likely than women to say:
• Print newspapers are not as relevant to them since there are many other sources for news and information.
• The Internet has replaced their need to read a printed newspaper.
• They would rather get news online.
• They are willing to pay for online newspapers.

Men have similar feelings about radio. They’re more likely than women to say that they would rather listen to music online or on a mobile device than over traditional radio. Men are more rapidly looking at TV and video content online as a replacement for traditional television.

For those of us who make media buys, this data helps us sharpen our focus. Usage declines in traditional media (print and radio especially) are found among men and young adults. But while new media is gaining a foothold, it’s clear that there are consumers who still value traditional media so we might not want to abandon it just yet.

Studies like this allow us to tailor our messages to the ever-evolving preferences of our target audiences. It would appear that we’re going to need to blend approaches in new and old media, at least for now.



What a mom wants…what a mom needs…

In social issues and new media,Uncategorized on October 19, 2009 by gingercatmom

There’s no doubt that moms are spending a lot more time online. As a representative of the mommy population, I so often wish that the Internet had arrived on the scene back in the days when my children were young (and that was in the nineties…not exactly in the distant past)! Today I find that the opportunities to connect with other moms, research children’s issues and save money are infinite!

Women…especially moms are a powerful audience. Studies have shown that 85% of the women in the US make the purchase decisions in a given household. So how exactly are moms responding to online marketing today? What gets their attention and keeps them paying attention to the message?

Prospectiv, a firm that specializes in women’s marketing, recently released information from their “What Women Want Consumer Survey”. The study shows that more moms than women without children actually like seeing online discounts and coupons for products of interest to them. Moms also had a higher level of trust in online coupons than those women online without children.

What content would moms like to see in email marketing? Number one is information that pertains to their lifestyle. Surprisingly, 21% of women with children also report being interested in “anything they send me” whereas 35% women without children say “don’t send me anything at all”.

The most effective way brands can reach online female Internet users is through product samples offered, followed by coupons. Emails, banner ads on websites, and blogs were only marginally effective, according to the women surveyed.

Now imagine the value of this information to those who market diapers, or snack foods, or children’s sporting goods–or really just about anything used in a household with children of any age. Raising children today is more expensive than ever, and most moms are looking for ways to give their family everything they want at the lowest cost. Brands that allow web-savvy moms to learn about product features, find those products easily, sample them and at the same time save money will have the best chance at truly reaching moms—and making them smile. And when momma is happy, brands marketers are happy too.


There’s an app for that…

In ad campaigns,mobile marketing,social issues and new media,Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 by gingercatmom

I’ve been hearing a radio commercial this week for Verizon. Mocking the iPhone commercial’s tagline, “there’s an app for that” Verizon says “There’s a map for that…”. I had to listen closely because I knew iPhones were not on the Verizon network and the whole thing didn’t make sense at first. It certainly was a dig against AT&T, but it got me thinking about apps and what they mean to us today.

Isn’t it amazing how a three letter word–app–has so quickly become part of our vernacular?
App is short for application. Apps add function to mobile devices like the iPhone. Like the Apple commercial demonstrates, there is an app for almost anything–from calorie counters to tip calculators. Some apps are informative and some are purely entertaining. In an app store, users can download apps at varying prices, depending on who developed the application and its purpose. Most paid downloads are relatively low priced.

Marketers considering developing apps must be mindful of the cost. According to Forrester Research, apps typically cost between $20,000 and $150,000 to develop. Many brands will want to give away their apps if they want to achieve viral marketing success.

The best apps are simple, work on a variety of platforms (think iPhone, Blackberry, etc) and unique. But before including mobile apps in the marketing mix, it’s important to know how your audience is using mobile devices. You might want to take a survey…and there might even be an app for that too!

There’s no doubt that mobile marketing will boom in the years ahead! Mobile apps offer a golden opportunity to get your brand message right in your target audience’s hands—again and again.


Better late than never

In Facebook,social issues and new media,Uncategorized on October 11, 2009 by gingercatmom

I have a confession to make. I arrived late to the Facebook party. And…I kind of like it.

I’ve explored many other aspects of new media before. I’ve tweeted, I’ve linkedin and I’ve blogged. There were legitimate business or academic reasons to learn about all those things and I made the time to understand. But I was reluctant to enter the hallowed halls of Facebook. I was living Facebook vicariously through my family!

Why did I wait so long? The answer is simple—time! Time is precious to me and I knew that if I wanted to engage on Facebook I would need to spend some time online chatting, posting, being a fan, friend and more. I didn’t want my virtual life to preclude my real life–which is already quite full of conversations, status updates and interactions in the physical world. I also didn’t want to invade a space where my teenage sons play and communicate (I would not have wanted my mother in on my conversations when I was in high school).

So it was with bit of reluctance–though I admit some excitement–that I signed on last week. I need to be on Facebook to fully understand the marketing applications of this site and the power it now wields in the marketing communication world. If we want to reach people with our messages, we need to be where they are…and for a surprisingly diverse group of Americans, Facebook is the place to be.

In reality, I’m among the fast growing group of Facebook users…those over the age of 35. I joined a community of 300 million active users who spend an astonishing 6 billion minutes on Facebook’s site each day, worldwide. It’s a viral marketer’s dream come true! Facebook users are downright eager to spread messages.

I’m making note of the kind of ads that show up on my visits to Facebook and not surprisingly, some are appropriate to my age, my lifestyle and my interests. I might have to pick up some of those pink kitchen gadgets that have shown up on my screen every day in October. However I’m not going to become a fan of Old Spice anytime soon.


Newspapers and online publishing: the new hybrid e-ditions attract readers

In newspapers,social issues and new media,Uncategorized on October 10, 2009 by gingercatmom

These are tough times for newspapers and those who love them. An increasing number of daily newspapers are folding, or radically downsizing due to reduced paid circulation. With free online editions of the local paper, many newspaper readers no longer have a reason to unfold the paper and get their hands dirty (savvy readers know that most papers did away with that smeary ink years ago). We can read the articles, comment on them and forward them to our friends.

Newspaper website audiences are growing… attracting 73.3 million monthly unique visitors in the first quarter of this year. That’s a 10.5% increase over the same quarter in 2008. What does that mean to newspaper publishers, to readers and to advertisers?

The newspaper industry says this means that Americans rely on trusted newspaper brands for accurate news and information, whether in print or online. The industry also recognizes that some kind of transformation of the “old” media is necessary for survival. They are encouraged by the growth in readership and acknowledge that digital editions are essential to future survival of  “newspaper” journalism.

Online newspaper site readers are spending an increasing amount of time reading as well. On average, there were 8.19 visits per person, looking at an average of over 48 pages and spending an average of nearly 44 minutes per person over the quarter. That sounds positive, but it needs to be put in perspective to the reading habits of the print newspaper reader. Avid print newspaper readers would spend much more time reading over a quarter, covering many more pages. They are also exposed to much more advertising on any given “reading” of the daily paper.

Advertisers need to be aware that online newspaper readers are a desirable group to reach. A few key demographic facts:
• 34% of Americans with postgraduate degrees…
• 28.2% of Americans with a household income of at least $100,000 AND…
• 29.9% of individuals in management, business or finance
have visited a newspaper website in the past week.

Dont believe everything you read...its a whole new newspaper online

Don't believe everything you's a whole new newspaper online

There are still some opportunities for advertisers in world of print newspapers. And without advertising and subscribers, newspapers will not survive. But as we better understand who is reading online editions we can better position our marketing messages in this hybrid world of print and online newspaper publishing!


Unofficial Blogs–soapbox or serious source?

In blogs,newspapers,social issues and new media,Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by gingercatmom

bloggers...serious stuff or somebodys soapbox?

blogs...serious stuff or somebody's soapbox?

Last week, my emerging media class spent some time discussing unofficial company blogs. It’s pretty easy to find a blog on any subject so I just googled “unofficial ________ blog” and had a variety of choices in front of me. is an example –it’s clearly all about WalMart (and all that is “wrong” with WalMart) yet there’s no link to the actual corporate site. There are no logos, no corporate perspective and no e-commerce conducted here. It’s very easy to understand the blogger’s agenda. They want to encourage readers, employees and community activists to demand change in WalMart’s business practices. It’s pretty obvious that this is not content generated by the company itself, but something that WalMart must take seriously.

As a skeptic, I have to ask “who reads blogs” and “why”? What prompts an individual to spend time writing, posting and following responses to their blogs? Why should I care what the blogger thinks about a specific company, product or cause?

The Pew Internet and American Life Project continues to provide helpful data on all aspects of Internet usage–including blog readership. A few facts from a 2008 study:
• 33% of internet users (the equivalent of 24% of all adults) say they read blogs, with 11% of internet users doing so on a typical day.
• Male and female internet users are equally likely to say that they do read other people’s blogs (35% for men, 32% for women).
• 12% of internet users (representing 9% of all adults) say they ever create or work on their own online journal or blog.
Given the fact that this data is more than a year old, I think we can assume that those figures are now even higher. A significant portion of the population reads blogs regularly. How the readers use that information is unclear. Marketers hope their blog content will spur the readers to believe, purchase or trust. But I think a lot of independent blog authors simply want to be heard–their small voices shouting from a virtual soapbox!

Judging whether a blog is serious, credible content–or not–is up to the reader. But credible or not, there seem to be blog readers willing to read.Therefore companies need to pay attention to those unofficial blogs.


Family routines get rewired

In Facebook,mobile devices,mobile marketing,social issues and new media,Uncategorized on September 15, 2009 by gingercatmom

There’s no doubt that technology has changed the ways families interact today. As I write this, three of my family members are working on laptops in three different rooms–one in front of a TV as well. My Blackberry sits next to my laptop and I’m eagerly awaiting a return text message from my college student son. This is just a typical night for us–and millions of other Americans.

The New York Times described how household routines have been shaken up by the rapid integration of new technology. We used to awake to alarm clocks–now we wake to the alarm on our I-Pod or cellphone. We greet the day with technology and it’s often the last thing we encounter at night. Kids aren’t just distracted by morning TV shows. They’re checking their Facebook page, playing a video game or texting their friends. There are a million new reasons to be late for school.

Dont miss the bus! Have mom send you a text.

Don't miss the bus! Have mom send you a text.

Adults are just as eager to get up and get online. The workday never ends when we’re connected 24/7 via mobile devices and our wireless laptops. We try to get an hour of work in before we’ve even stepped in the shower. We steal a look at our email on the way to the coffee pot. For many of us, the days of reading the newspaper over a cup of coffee seem a nostalgic thing of the past.

The New York Times article references an Arbor Networks study that finds that American Web traffic peaks at 11 p.m., gradually declines from midnight to 6 a.m. and then spikes up again at 7 a.m. At least we can rejoice in the fact that most of us get a little rest before we log on to another wired day.

So what does this mean to the American family?  Making a conscious effort to find balance and to stay connected through real, live face-to-face family contact is more difficult than ever before. Our daily rituals may be changing, but we just might find that these changes enrich our lives in ways we just can’t fully understand yet. And what’s “new” today is the next generation’s “old-fashioned”.