June 28, 2011

Is Big Brother or Big Mother in Control?

If you thought being tracked by Google, Facebook, Bing, etc. and served up advertising was an infringement on your privacy, look what is now available to one of the biggest ad agencies on the planet.  The good news is that it's a double sided message that demonstrates what lengths big business will go through to offer whatever you want. So what do you want? 

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In a quest to accelerate the business of targeting ads to consumers based on information about them, advertising giant WPP PLC plans to announce on Monday the launch of a new company that links its ad-buying technologies with a vast database of consumer profiles.

Called Xaxis, the new company will manage what it describes as the "world's largest" database of profiles of individuals that includes demographic, financial, purchase, geographic and other information collected from their Web activities and brick-and-mortar transactions. The database will be used to personalize ads consumers see on the Web, social-networking sites, mobile phones and ultimately, the TV set.

Now that you know, what will you do differently?
Smart women will start writing what they want for the world to become in their online musings and choosing products that will enhance their lives in a non-toxic way regardless of what part of the world they live in. Moms Rising has been doing just that for a long time. 
Up until now our typical way to move the market in the right direction was to go to Congress and get a regulation or law put into place, but that only goes as as far as our borders. With mega companies which are bigger than most countries in discretionary income, we need a way to impact all families regardless of where they live. 
Step one, write what you want and say it online. If you don't want fire retardants in your carpet, be specific, be positive. Tell the world what you would buy and why.  Companies are watching and recording your thoughts for the next product development meeting. No one makes a profit selling things that citizens don't want. Go Big Mother!


May 25, 2011

Thoughts of a Feather Flock Together

You've changed the way you think, and may have changed the way others think, but is your message getting out past that point?

Below is a snapshot of two different Birder conversational hubs. [Birders are those who keep an active count of the bird species they see.] Hardcore birders have friends all over the world and yet the conversational links show how they stick with their flock. (thanks eCairn)

One color represents the US Birder connections and the other UK Birder connections. You would think that the crowds would overlap more. 

It made me think about other silos-of-though that we operate in -- are we just talking to others just-like-us, or should we spread our wings and ideas further? It's something to consider for your next world-changing event. 


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May 24, 2011

Are Your Words Being Filtered Out?

Screen shot 2011-05-24 at 7.15.32 AM Do you trust your search engine?

Through access to free publication on the Internet, we are finally able to express ourselves and embed our spirit into the common society only to have it silo'd into a group think mentality. ERrrrrrr Ladies, beware. 

It's one thing to put out new information and another to know that it may never meet with readers because their readership pattern and practice pre-determines what they will see on the web. Scary, eh? No wonder the red states are getting redder and blue states bluer, there is no cross-pollination of information. 

Google, Facebook and other tools are serving up an echo chamber of ideas and people to users. For example, if you read about dogs several times, then you would start getting more and more pet articles in your searches even if you didn't request them.

Below, this TED talk of "Beware of Filter Bubbles" by Eli Pariser explains the issue in a more compelling way. Or you can pick up the book.   It's given me a new respect for RSS feeds that you can select and not have changed.

May 18, 2011

Bag it. Tag it. Tell it. (in Facebook)

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How are you changing the world? Changing political parties? Changing the way you eat? Changing the way you interact with others?

How about changing the way you interact with Companies? 

Companies are now able to scan every blog, RSS feed, Tweet, Facebook post, and comments to all of the above for brand names, hot issues, whatever... They are listening intently for what we are saying, who we are saying it too, what products we mention, and if what we said was positive or negative. 

So think about the ramifications of that; just by reporting what you do daily on Facebook and other places you can have a huge impact on corporations. All you have to do is TAG a picture of what you bag during your last shopping trip and name drop product names along with your pro/con feelings.  

Pictured is my bag of goodies from the Orange, CA Farmer's Market. This is the Market's second week of existence. I was looking for organic and pesticide-free products. By giving a positive plug for the new Orange, CA Farmer's Market on Cypress and Palm (Saturday's) and for Organic Food, I put my mouth where my money just went.

Why Tagging works.

In a recent Fast Company article, the author implied that TAGGING pictures in Facebook is a far more effective way to get a company's attention than hitting the "LIKE" button. *Like* isn't buying, but once you buy something, you carry more clout. 

I'm going to make it a habit on my FB page going forward. What I purchase is a tiny vote, but posting what I bought and maybe telling others why will have an impact on the marketing world for decades.

For the record, I purchase organic fruits and vegetables because my husband's immune system is already compromised and shouldn't process more pesticides. I also shop at Whole Foods and Mother's Market.  I stopped shopping at Trader Joe's because I don't trust that their "organic" label is telling the truth. They need to earn my trust back. 

May 12, 2011

Women are Buying "Fair Trade" over Organic (messages)

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Changing the message.

You've seen the stats, 93% of groceries are purchased by women. That means that trillions of in the Gross Domestic Product dollars of the United States goes to what we select as we fill our carts. When it comes to coffee, more and more of us are selecting "Fair Trade Coffee," we are willing to pay more to be fair.

According to a Harvard, MIT report "FAIR" is the new "GREEN" in product offerings and by proxy -- advertising messaging. Apparently being "fair" motivates us to spend more than "shade grown" (allowing the diversification of the forest and birds to live); or "organic" (not using pesticides to grow the crops); "low carbon footprint" (the driving reason for the green movement). And it also motivates us more than "NEW" 

Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 8.14.39 AM The fair trade label on coffee packaging can increase sales by up to 13% and the "buy power" doesn't drop off even when the price was increased by 8%. We want to be fair and we will pay a premium to do it.

As a marketer and observer of human behavior I find that study fascinating and at the same time want to slap myself. Of course playing fair has an impact on our willingness to pay more. Duhhhh.  We've been "NEWed" to death and know that it has no real value -- playing nice and fair is what we all want for the world on a very primal level. No one needs to educate us on what "being fair" means.

How primal is it?  In a 2003 study by Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Living Links Center, they found that even in monkeys, "decision-making is based as much on an emotional sense of fairness as on rational considerations." [thank you Kelly Duncan for the write up]  The monkeys would share food with others if they both did equal work. 

In the National Geographic coverage: "Only female capuchins were tested because they most closely monitor equity, or fair treatment, among their peers, Brosnan said.

Partners of capuchins who made the swap either received the same reward (a cucumber slice), or a better reward (a grape, a more desirable food), for the same amount of work or, in some cases, for performing no work at all."

They point that Dr. Brosnan was trying to prove is that our sense of fair play is in our DNA first, it wasn't taught to us although it can be embedded into the culture later. 

When your Mother told you that life's not fair, she was probably right, but that doesn't mean that we don't stop trying to be more fair in our everyday choices such as Fair Trade Coffee, or selecting products that don't harm another woman's family on the other side of the planet. 

May 08, 2011

In Honor of All the Working Moms

Mom's Rising created this very fun way to put your Mom's name in lights, per se. Go Here and give it at try then send it to her along with the flowers.

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In honor of Bena, my best buddy/Mom who was rarely paid for all the work she did. Happy Mother's Day.

May 07, 2011

Hat's off (or on) for Women

"Until this group took over the park, nothing happened."  Bill Cunningham on the Women's Conservatory fund raiser for Central Park.

Click on the link to see a video of all the wonderful hats. 


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May 04, 2011

NOW CASTING: Women Working in Touch or Interesting Jobs

Are you ready for your closeup? This opportunity came into my email today. The clock's ticking, if you fit the job description act in the next two weeks. This is NOT a back-biting, reality show. The style will be more like a documentary. 

Do you take a lot of flak for working in a so-called “Man’s job?”  Are people often shocked that you’re employed in such a tough environment?  Are you tired of having to repeatedly explain that women are fully capable of doing the rough work that men can?  Is it time to expose the reality of your chosen profession to the world?

A Major Television Production Company is currently seeking women who work in jobs that may be considered tough, interesting or dangerous.  Would the day-to-day struggles and successes of your line of work make a great reality show?

Please submit the following to RealityTelevisionCasting@gmail.com:

1.  Name

2.  Phone Number and Email address

3.  A current photo of you and any co-workers that are interested, if applicable

4.  A description of your job and what makes your work dangerous

5.  A description of why you think your line of work needs to be showcased

6.  Statistics on your job (how many people work with you, the environment in which you typically work, anything further describing your occupation)


Brandon McCormick

FremantleMedia NA

Casting / Development Producer

818.480.7167 O

213.503.1876 C



April 27, 2011

Two Thirds of Buyers of Groupon and Living Social are Women

This just in from regarding how Groupon and Living Social compare:

"LivingSocial users are 49 percent more likely than the average American online to make at least $150,000 a year, compared with 30 percent for Groupon, according to the survey released today. They are also more likely to be younger than 35 and to have college or graduate degrees... 

"Nielsen, based in New York, also found that about two-thirds of LivingSocial and Groupon users are women. [very smart and monied women given the prior quote]

The list of top interests tell the story...

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The take aways:

1. If you're an average Jane, you just became an above average buyer in the world of business. Your choices matter as they are collected into reports by Nielson. Understand that and remember it every time you make a buy or post a comment on line. 

2. If you're a business looking to cash in on the couponing world, get in touch with your feminine side. Make sure your product line does something for the higher good in the world. This is where having a sustainable product and a company with high social values wins. Think home and family first and be more of a Prius and less of a Hummer.  

This gives me great hope -- companies follow the money and the money lies with women's interests. In women I trust that our interests will lead the economy to a greener and friendlier world. 

April 26, 2011

Online Women or Location, What Drives Green Spending?

Amazon put out a green dot survey correlating the purchasing of green sector products. It's fascinating if you like tracking trends. [Go here to read the entire article in Green Biz.] One chart tracks energy products, another water, and another (below) parenting. 

The article draws the conclusion that financial or locational needs were driving the purchasing for energy and water, but when it came to green parenting what was driving that?

Why is there a green dot in the NW corner of the lower peninsula of Michigan? It's not exactly where you'd expect to see a green dot, San Francisco or the East Coast sure, but upper Michigan? 

The Amazon research was based on number of green items a parent purchased off of Amazon, such as Green Baby  and Toys.  One reason more green products are being purchased and mailed to Northern Michigan could be Sommer Poquette based in Petosky, MI. She's been a green mommy blogger for years on her Green and Clean Mom blog. Sommer has been so successful, that she's turned it into a business. 

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Screen shot 2011-04-26 at 8.25.19 AM Can I give Sommer all of the credit, probably not, the Great Lakes Bioneers conference spearheaded by Sally Van Vleck and Bob Russell holds their meetings just around the bay in Traverse City each October. For years Sally, Bob, and the Bioneers have been raising green and sustainable awareness. There are even green baby stores in Traverse City.  

But the Amazon article was based on purchasing from Amazon and specifically, they looked at items for "green" babies and children.  That takes an online champion, which makes me see Sommer as a larger influence. Her blog averages 6000 unique visitors a month according to Compete.com. Whether she links to Amazon or not isn't as important as that she is a constant voice for online readership and from there, Amazon is a click away.

I would like to see more research on this topic. When you look at all the maps, one thing is clear, if purchasing is an indicator of culture, the nation is beginning to put their money where their values are -- and that starts with pockets of people who are talking about and buying the solutions. 

Thanks to all the women (and men) who keep the drip, drip, drip of conversation going. 

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