Some food for thought about how brands are getting a competitive advantage by considering women consumers in their innovation, product development and marketing.
McDonald’s – Finding the Woman in the Mum.
McDonalds has represented the pinnacle of successful marketing. For years it has dominated the marketing waves.
However, in 2002 the company’s fate turned and in mid 2003, its new CEO outlined 5 strategies to put mcdonalds back on the right track: people, price, promotion, products, place. They needed to find the woman inside the mum!The CEO focused on same-store sales,instead of opening new locations, what was called the ‘plan to win’ strategy.
In 2002, McDonald’s moved from a mom-centred focus to women as primary consumers – introduced women only focus groups, rather than mixed groups.
Women told McDonalds was that all mum were women but not all women were moms!
Today 50% of McDonald ‘s focus groups are conducted with women only; followed up with mixed groups.
The company introduced calorie counters and nutritional info in store; nutrition help line; then the “go active” happy meal – salad, water and gift of a pedometer. Bob Greene, fitness guru, endorsed the activity.
Nutritional information was put online – as women use the Internet to manage their lives and to manage their families. Women were able to fit in the calories in a big mac and fries ahead of the visit and into their meal plan. The “bag a McMeal” section online allowed women to determine calorie counts for its products.
Tips such as what happens if leave off the mayonnaise (saving 100 calories) or for fries buying small fries over large ones (300 calorie difference) so not to give up mcd’s altogether. The company even offered a tally of calories on sales receipt!
Media buying changed – from TV only to include magazines, with targeted ads. Shape magazine was targeted- for working women, focused on salad with Ceasar dressing Parenting – focused on experience with children and the experience of them eating what they want to eat…
From May 2003- May 2004, same store-sales in McDonald’s increased for 13 consecutive months. The company’s share price rose from $12 to $25….
Salad purchasers had bills of $ 8 or more, double of those who opted for cheeseburgers and fries… And, most interestingly, what worked for women, worked for men too – men made up 40 % of salad purchasers!
Here are a few more facts about women in other sectors.
iPod minis were sold in more or less equal numbers to men and women when they launched themselves onto an eager world. However, non-white colour versions outsold white versions to women by about 5:1and we’re not talking just pink versions. iPod accessories (Burberry carry cases for example) attracted an 80% female customer base
Research into marketing mobile phones to women revealed
Mobile phones start as ‘private lines’ for girls aged 11-17, then progress to a way of connecting them to their mates during college and finally become command central for working mums and career women juggling the various strands of their lives.
67% of women were strongly interested in a function that allowed wallpapers to be made from photos taken with the phone
One of the single most popular features for women is the ability to use ringtones to identify different callers.
Now, women are ruling the mobile and smartphone waves:
Women’s use of technology and digital machines combines entertainment, organisation and connectivity in the home and office
According to Nielsen Mobile, 13.5 million women have adopted the business-born Smartphone. (The number of users has doubled in the last two years).
Women have no off-switch
Women report using different devices (mobile phone, computer, TV, DVD etc) to perform multiple tasks and slot them into their activity list, irrespective of the time of day.
Women are the best brand evangelists. Women have taken the ‘Blogosphere to the Stratosphere’:
36 million women write blogs weekly
50% of women believe that blogs are reliable sources for information[i]
Automotive: Harley Davidson
In 1985, sales of that icon of testosterone, the Harley-Davidson bike to women were 2%. By 2003, over 10% of Harleys were sold to women and women now account for some 17% of Harley-Davidson sales!
[i] Microsoft Advertising, Ogilvy & Mindshare, Women in their Digital Domain, June 2009