Archive for October, 2009
I know that my husband’s food buying habits have changed dramatically over the years, but a focus group of one isn’t exactly statistically valid. What a shocker, reviewing the results … and comments … from our Food Shopping Survey 2009 which had over 200 adult responders. Men accounted for 32% of the base. The two other groups we segmented are Young Women (ages 20 – 25) and Mid-Age Women (26 – 49).
Of the variety of 12 items to rank in importance when buying food, of course Taste is #1 across the board. Cost is 2nd overall, but for men, it’s 4th. As true with the collective group, men have become label readers. Men of “a certain age” (older than 30) care about calories. In fact over 91% of men 30+ look at calorie and fat content. Only 60% of men under 30 bother with calories or fat. Really, men care about calories? Wow, watch a few Burger King commercials and you’ve got to wonder. Some of the other interesting insights:
- Young men buy more organics than older men.
- Men care more about protein and less about fiber.
- Men care much less about brand name than women do.
- Men gravitated more to organics than women.
Comments clustered around some key subject areas:
- Reading labels: “I’ve become more aware of content and finally learned how to read a label.”
- Origin of food: “I’m much more concerned about origin of food due to recent contamination issues” and “I want to know where ingredients come from. If I can’t find out easily, I don’t buy the product”.
- Organics: “I’m more interested in organic products and am spending less money but eating better.”
- Buying local: “’We’ve switched as much as possible to local farmers markets. Purchase as little processed food as we can”.
- Food education: “With more information on effects of chemicals in food, I’m steering away from certain types of ingredients”.
- Sustainability: “I’m purchasing higher quality food and let factors like the company’s environmental considerations come into the picture”.
Means to track these markers are ever increasing. As the nation’s largest supermarkets develop and employ rating systems such as Guiding Stars, NuVal and Nutrition iQ, we’re heading in a more consumer-empowered direction. Check out Good Guide and see how foods are vetted on way more than taste and ingredients.
So what does that mean to food manufacturers and the ingredient companies that supply them? To me, it points toward better supply chain management, greater transparency and a lot more dialogue with consumers.
There was a great deal of positive news coming out of the Annual DMA Conference regarding many of the larger issues facing direct marketers today. The DMA’s advocacy initiatives have been successful in ensuring there will be no increase in postal rates in 2010. This news was just announced last week. Additionally, the “Do Not Mail” bills that were pending in six states including California have all been defeated.
Other headway has been gained in the DMA’s environmental efforts with the debut of DMAChoice.org, a consumer-based program of opt-in initiatives that allows for the customization of mail messages consumers want to receive.
John Greco, President and CEO of the DMA credits the association’s preparedness and proactivity for these recent wins.
The other big battle the DMA is gearing up for is the new pending tax laws. These taxes would be imposed by the states as a way of generating new revenue from muliti-channel retailers. The DMA stressed the need for more individual involvement on this issue from all direct marketers, urging each of us to write to our state officials voicing our opposition to these taxes. This isn’t the first time I have heard that 2010 could be “the year of the taxes.” So, I’ll end this post now so I can write my Congressmen.
The need for marketers to be everywhere was a theme that threaded through most every discussion at this year’s annual DMA Conference and Expo. Martha Stewart articulated it for everyone in her keynote remarks that ushered in the event stating, “we want eyeballs and we don’t care where we have to go to get them.”
Not surprisingly, harnessing digital media lead the conversations on how to become increasingly omnipresent. With 96% of all Millennials reporting that they are members of social media outlets and women over 50 being the fastest growing segment on Facebook, marketers have been quick to embrace the channel while openly admitting that we’re still pioneers working to understand the space.
Increasingly, “Voice of the Customer” research is being used by both B2C and B2B marketers to help determine which digital conversations to engage in and where. In discussing the needs of the customer, they are also uncovering their online whereabouts. This valuable information helps marketers, engage more appropriately, project a more authentic voice and prioritize online destinations and the connectivity tools to implement on their websites.
If you’re still wondering where to ramp-up your quest for omnipresence, CBD panelists Pam Evan of IBM and Bart Zehran of E-RM stated it best during our presentation on Millennials as the new B2B buyer, “first, get right with Google then make sure your website works as hard as possible to engage prospects and customers.”
Way back when I was a high school junior, one of the brightest stars in our tiny town went away to a prestigious college. Less than a year later he was back, working for the family business. He was accustomed to being a whale in our little pool, but in college he felt he was a step down from krill. I remember thinking if he couldn’t cut it, what hope did I have of succeeding?
I now know that there is so much more to his story. The experience of being a first year college student was baffling, overwhelming and isolating. Since my own trial by fire, lots of innovative programs have been tested to smooth the transition for freshman. Some of the most successful are LLPs – or Living/Learning Programs.
Higher ed institutions of all types–large public universities to selective liberal arts colleges–are benefitting from “living/learning communities” programs that put first-year students into small groups with those who share similar interests like environmental stewardship or entrepreneurship. In “Large universities changing freshman experience”, AP reporter Alan Scher Zagier shares success stories from University of Missouri and University of Michigan, two schools on the forefront of the LLP landscape.
Aside from providing these ready-made peer groups, schools are also proactively pairing students with support and guidance resources. Read more here.
These programs are boosting academic performance and increasing graduation rates…but they are also providing schools with a precious opportunity to define culture and demonstrate a differentiated experience.
Higher Ed marketers can build on this success by bringing these programs to life for prospects, parents and counselors. We also see abundant potential to invite alumni, local employers and special interest donors to participate in these communities.
You know social media has come of age when major brands shift their product development focus to harness its formidable power.
Motorola, in a mobile device product doldrum for the past couple of years is unveiling their latest entry in the smartphone universe, Cliq. But the big news is that product development objectives were first and foremost to make social networking a seamless if not endless experience on the Cliq. Based on Google’s Android platform, Cliq continuously receives feeds from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace so you can more easily stay in touch with your BFF. The big difference is that while devices such as the iPhone rely on Apps which you must exit in order to answer phone calls, change tunes on your iPod feature or access other Apps, and then re-launch the App. Cliq enables you to seamlessly toggle back and forth.
Nissan has been pushing its latest technological breakthroughs in lithium ion powered cars with a video posted on YouTube. The name of the car is Leaf. It’s an interesting move that will hit car lovers, environmentalists and the general populace with equal emphasis. I like the simple, creative way the message is portrayed and the heightened sustainability prowess it gives Nissan. Viral works, to prove it, watch the video.
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