« January 2007 | Main | March 2007 »

4 posts from February 2007

February 21, 2007

65% of Product Feedback Comes from Women

Yesterday, Pete Blackshaw posted a collection of his best ClickZ posts for CMOs. If you aren't a believer in social media yet, buzz through them and see if you don't come away with a new perspective.

A women's fun fact stood out for me on his Third Moment of Truth post. Pete was the founder of Planet Feedback, a site to give consumers a place to air their complaints. According to him 65% of those providing feedback were women, and that for the most part, they played nice. (Judy's Book also found that true.)

"Consumers who like to talk to (even complain about) brands talk across multiple platforms, including message boards, blogs, and the water cooler. They are ├╝ber content creators and, hence, more valuable to the brand franchise.

Consumers who talk to brands are full of suggestions, product ideas, even advertising concepts. Did someone say "co-creation"?

Most consumers believe brands have little interest in hearing what they have to say; this is a big reason so much venom is spread across CGM venues.

Women, the segment Lafley singled out, are the segment most inclined to provide feedback. Nearly 65 percent of all PlanetFeedback content was created by women, and they were far less likely to just complain than men."

Is it a big leap of faith to say that 65% of ALL feedback (on ALL types of platforms) come from women? When you consider that that the feedback is over consumer goods and that women buy or influence 80% of them, probably not. Why would you give feedback on a shopping/buying/using experience if you didn't do the shopping/buying/using? Also, who talks, phones, emails... stays connected more... men or women? The platform may change, but the need to communicate, doesn't. What's your guess that more word of mouth happens off line that online?

The point of Pete putting all of his posts together was to drive home the message that the consumer is in control. What is JUST emerging now (in statistics) is that most controlling consumers are "female," and they "want to buy green products."

- Women buy/influence 80% of the stuff.  CHECK
- Women talk 65% more about what they buy than men. CHECK 
- Women say nicer things than nasty things. CHECK
- Women are more "green" than men. CHECK

Now that we have the 65-80% of the market defined, to learn how to influence them? Stay tuned. For you consumers reading this post, just keep on talking and saying nice things about those who are doing the right things.

February 20, 2007

It's ok to be a TOTO potty mouth

Last weekend (while under the influence of broken water pipes) the question was raised, "Why don't we replace that old toilet at the same time"? Mission creep had begun...

I've been doing lots of research on green products, but admittedly I'm not up on commodes, especially low water ones. California is already drying up and if resources get really tight, having a low water toilet might become a Condo selling point.

Since I HATE shopping as much as my husband, I headed for the keyboard and typed in COMPARE low water toilets. Up came Terry Love's toilet review site.

Totomaxie2 I was impressed as you can be about toilets. Terry is the master and commander of commodes. Not only did he give great reviews from his professional, plumber point of view, but also encouraged "users" of such to comment on them. They did. Learning how people value their toilets and why was something on the side of scary.

In the past, I'd go to the store, pick something aesthetically functional and go home. The operation system was pretty much the same from one to the next. Not so on a low water version. The old ones had 3.5 gallons of water per flush, these only use 1.6 gallons - BIG difference on details I won't describe.

Terry was in love with the Ultra Max Toto. He also provided installation papers on every style. Seeing it in such detail took away more apprehension. You want to make sure, once it's in, it's not one of those items you change. Good advice, good reviews, good technical info... that was good enough for me. Now, where can I get one TODAY. (Plumbing doesn't wait) I went next to the main Toto site and found that although I never heard of Toto, it's as standard in Japan as American Standard is here. Plunking in my zip code gave me two store options within 20 miles. DONE.

Terry's up in Seattle and we needed something fast otherwise I would have ordered from him. But since I didn't and he set me on the right path, I'll tell others and be a potty mouth on his behalf. Terry now has one more permanent, searchable place advertising his services and products.

What have we learned here, besides where to buy low water toilets? That I'm a typing profile (or pyschographic) of the new, green buyer.

- Need, not want, drove the buying action.
- Terms, not pictures, drove me to his site.
- Professional advice, not a slick sales person provided the first level of selection.
- Personal advice from real uses, cemented the decision.
- Charts filled out missing information, eliminating the fear factor as to how these new gizmos worked compared to the old ones.
- I was cost aware, but it wasn't a determining factor.
- Justification... When we sell the condo, a low water toilet will become a selling point more so than a new paint job.

#1 thing... I did all the searching/shopping for it. My husband didn't care.

February 13, 2007

One Planet Living, what the U.K. can teach us

If Climate Change has taught us one thing it's that we have to think outside our borders. One country may lead the way and that country just may be the U.K.

He_header Kristin Darguzas, a Canadian whom I met through BlogHer, told me about Turn Up the Heat. It's a book not yet available in the U.S. by George Monbiot. He also has a blog by the same name that takes corporations and individuals to task. George throws the first challenge and ultimate issue with:

"My fear is not that people will stop talking about climate change. My fear is that they will talk us to Kingdom Come."

He has a point. First people become aware, then they change a light bulb and then they begin to feel the enormity of the problem and throw words at it.

George throws words too, at those who are running their solution through the greenwash cycle. His critical thinking made me think. He takes on Richard Branson and his multi-million dollar offer to anyone who can come up with a solution, while his own Virgin Airlines continues to fly. To George, that's greenwash. "Spin does not become a substitute for action." Meanwhile, back in the states, the NY Times shows Branson and Gore together in a climate exchange as Branson offers his $25 million to world of science. I assume he flew to the states on one of his jets.

It makes you think, just what am I willing to personally give up to save the future of the human race? Is that trip to Ireland now off the dream list? Maybe. How much do I cut back and what do I just cut out?

The Stern report, another U.K. initiative from HM Treasury department, projects what will happen if we don't get our climate under control. To start with, storms the size of Katrina will bankrupt insurance companies. Add in the floods and famine and you have the makings of a full economic collapse. That tells me that cutting out, should supersede cutting back.

One_planet_living_logo Keeping both ecological and economic worlds and in balance is the ultimate solution. Again, we can turn to the U.K. for a look at who is leading the way. One Planet Living has joined forces with global thinkers to find the ideas that put us in balance, quickly. They issued 10 guiding principals which START with bringing down CO2 emissions. There's no point in cleaning up the water if the climate above it is killing off the planet.

I like their approach. I like that they bring solutions to the site from every country. While Monbiot is busy holding holding the green torch to corporate toes, this group is championing those who are doing the right thing, right now.

It's inspiring to read what's on their agenda - One Planet Products UK, One Planet Economy, One Million Sustainable Homes... you get the idea. If you are at all interested in forming a global, sustainable society, One Planet Living is well worth bookmarking.

February 06, 2007

There's No Stopping the Climate Shift?

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the first of several reports to put an end (or a beginning) to what exactly is Global Warming. The opinions of 2400 scientists from 130 countries were combined, analyzed and peer reviewed over the last six years. They all agreed, it's getting hotter and man made activity most likely caused it, by either adding CO2 to the air or cutting down the trees that could take the CO2 out of the air.

For those of you who skipped seeing "An Inconvenient Truth," take the time to read the report's 20 pages. Over 2400 scientists can't be wrong and having one report puts us all of us on the same page - Global Warming is here to stay... apparently for a long time.

Page 12 of the report concerns me the most: "Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gases were to be stabilized." Yikes!

That makes sense, when I really think about it. Earth is a closed system. We took CO2 out of the ground (oil, coal, gas) where it wasn't part of the air and then put it into the atmosphere. It's not as if it's going to leave the gravitational pull of the earth, nor turn back into oil and slide back under earth's crust. The only natural way out is for plants to breathe it in and convert it back into oxygen and that's going to take a while.

Friday's LA Times frontpage headline read "No Stopping Climate Shift..." I didn't like reading "no stopping," we're a take change, see results, sort of society and we don't like to take "no" for an answer. It makes me want to throw in the green towel right now, but I won't.

Personally, I want to err on the side of "trying." I use to drive a low mpg car until I knew better, then I switched to a high MPG and bike more. I used to buy fruit flown in from Chile, now I eat what's in season and locally grown. Little by little as more products and services become available, I'll incorporate them into my life. I'll do it for the same reasons that I did it before we knew that climate change was so irreversible, because it makes the planet a better place and those who make and maintain green type businesses are just, well, more ethical in my opinion. They put "green living" ahead of profits and that makes them someone I want to support.