Marketers Refine, Expand Strategies to Reach Women
Traditional TV is still king, but accent is on more digital dollars
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/6/2012 1:06:28 PM
Most marketers are doing extensive studies to find out what motivates women of assorted ages and income groups to buy products, and what can be done to best influence those purchases beyond doling out product puffery in a 30-second spot. More than one agency has mentioned "path to purchase" studies as a way to learn the thought process of women's purchasing decisions.
Recognizing this, more networks are offering online programming extensions, whether through streaming their actual shows online, creating special additional video tied into their shows or offering special websites with content tied into the female audiences who watch their programming. Advertisers are offered exclusive sponsorships of those sites.
And marketers are not only working with the traditional retail, health & beauty and consumer packaged goods categories. Marketers of products considered more traditionally male-those that have loaded up on TV sports programming over the years, like financial and insurance, upscale auto and even beer and wine-have, in this most recent upfront, spent bigger bucks trying to reach women on female-oriented cable networks.
Many a media agency exec considers today's women the target of virtually every marketer, and most every plan of national advertisers includes both television and newer forms of video.
"Women are not watching less TV, they are just watching differently," says Kristin Goodloe, managing partner at MediaCom, where she oversees the Revlon account, among others. "We now have to think of TV as video and buy based on women's video viewing. Traditional television is still important for the immediacy of promoting new products and building brands, but we are now complementing that more with online video spending. We cast a wide net with broadcast and cable TV and then target in better on specific female audiences by category online."
Sarah Power, executive VP of insights and strategy at Initiative says, "We don't have a TV strategy today. We have a video strategy. We know women are really busy and that smartphones are one of their lifelines. They are busier than ever before multitasking, so the types of traditional TV commercials geared toward them have to be really eye-catching to be effective."
Power also says with less time to watch television because of women's busy lives, juggling work and family responsibilities, marketers trying to reach them are being more selective in what TV shows in which they buy commercial time.
"We do a lot of research analyzing each show," Power says, "to determine how many women are watching, what their viewing frequency for a show is. Marketers also like to be in shows that have a lot of outside chatter surrounding them."
Power adds that with all the stress these multitasking women are confronted with each day, comedy series are growing in importance as a vehicle to reach them. "When life gets busy and difficult, women want to laugh," she says.
Power adds that sitcoms are also easier for women to fit into their schedules, being only a half-hour, and because each episode has a singular story arcs, making it easier to come in and out of a series. But she says the TV networks are also doing a better job of developing drama programming that while serialized, still has a singular story arc built into each episode.
Audrey Siegel, president and director of client services at TargetCast, says much more research is being done about women's consumer behavior as it relates to the various categories and brands within those categories.
"Most women today are the primary purchasers of products for the family, or if not the primary purchaser, than the key influencer of almost all the purchases," Siegel says. "We look at a woman's path of purchase and try to determine what their behavior is toward each product. Then we determine how to best reach them."
DOLLARS TO DIGITAL
While traditional television is still where the bulk of the ad dollars are spent, each year more dollars are moving to digital, and the TV networks that offer digital opportunities will be able to hold onto those dollars, albeit on another platform.
"The number of GRPs [gross rating points] for women 25-54 has declined by more than 75% in the past 10 years on daytime broadcast television," Siegel says. "Some of those GRPs have moved to cable, but more women are watching content and doing other things online."
Siegel says there has been a huge spike in dollars going to online gaming because women having been increasing their time spent on those types of sites.
"The amount of time women spend consuming video online has increased by 40% since May, 2011," Siegel says. "So today we rarely have a TV media plan that does not include some element of online video, and we rarely have a conversation about spending targeting women without a gaming element for our clients. With the disappearance of soap operas, many women still at home are moving online and getting involved in gaming."
The women targeted cable networks have always been able to draw dollars from traditional women's categories such as fashion, health & beauty and consumer packaged goods, but this year in particular, more marketers are looking to target women in categories that used to spend almost exclusively targeting men.
Allison Clarke, senior VP of ad sales for WE tv, says the network has had an influx of ads for financial and insurance, technology (beyond cellphones), automotive and alcohol.
"More and more women are becoming the main breadwinners in families and we are now seeing these nontraditional categories reaching out to women," she says.
Initiative's Power agrees that marketers who did not traditionally spend large amounts of ad dollars promoting to women are beginning to do so. "MillerCoors is advertising more toward women," she says of the beer-maker and Initiative client that is a huge spender in TV sports.
TargetCast's Siegel says research bears out that women are also spending more on traditional male-targeted categories. "We've seen more and more purchases by women in the financial and insurance categories," she says. "For our financial clients, women are key targets. Women need to be considered for everything that is sold today."
Not only are traditional male categories targeting women in their marketing campaigns, but MediaCom's Goodloe says more clients are interested in looking to create new products specifically geared toward women.
General Motors recently entered into a multiplatform alliance with fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who created a clothing line called Malibu Style that was inspired by the Chevy Malibu. It will be sold online via LivingSocial, targeted to women 25-54 and will be promoted via videos streamed across Time Warner-owned websites. Media agency Carat will do the marketing for the campaign and Mizrahi is hawking the new line via appearances on assorted syndicated celebrity newsmagazines.
"It's an opportunity for us to put a stake in the ground and commit to the growing women's segment," Mary Kubitskey of Chevrolet recently told Adweek.
Advertiser dollars have been shifting from broadcast to cable on a slow but steady basis for the past decade, but Goodloe says more of the dollars moving today are shifting into female-oriented cable networks, "where marketers can target women via their passions, whether it be fashion, food or home decorating."
Adds Power, "We feel more comfortable shifting ad dollars from broadcast to cable because there is more quality programming on cable today for women to watch."
Dollars moving from broadcast to cable are also moving into more online cable where the women's cable networks in particular are willing to form partnerships with marketers where they can jointly create content and sponsorship opportunities.
"The number of impressions online is less important than the quality of content and if we can get involved in the content creation with integrations and sponsorships it's something clients are very interested in," Siegel says. "Women's cable networks in particular have recently been looking to bring more content online that is original and different, not just replicating what they are doing on the network."
Siegel says online fitness sites for women that take viewers through workout routines and offer health tips with single-advertiser sponsorships are ideal for many clients that want to target women.
"We are always looking to work with and build partnerships with marketers to integrate their brands into our network and help them achieve their goals," says WE tv's Clarke. "We are much more involved in planning with brands today."
WE tv offers advertisers customized show and movie wraps, customized vignettes, storyline integrations and online partnerships.
Ad dollars are starting to move more into mobile in an attempt to reach women on the go, but many marketers are still unsure of the best way to promote themselves on that platform.
"Mobile can be tricky," Goodloe says. "Penetration is growing but many marketers haven't figured out yet how to effectively use it."
TargetCast's Siegel says mobile ad messages to women need to be relevant or the messages can be perceived as intrusive and do more harm than good.
One area where Siegel sees progress in mobile is from some of the larger retailers who are beginning to offer coupons and discounts via cell phones for shoppers who opt in. Pertinent shopping information that can make the experience more informed and discounts that can save shoppers money are more likely to be accepted by women.
Marketers are also interested in reaching women viewers via VOD, although most would want to be the exclusive advertiser or sponsor of a particular segment. Clarke says it's hard to get advertisers to accept the measurement currencies that networks use. "We have our own formula that we use. Some advertisers accept it, and others don't," she says.
The overall outlook for continuing to bring in more ad dollars targeting women is strong for the networks, particularly if the TV networks continue to expand their online offerings and sites that appeal to women.
And while the networks continue to put on more new programming that skews female, women also tend to watch series that target men, which is a plus for marketers.
"Women are comfortable watching male-skewing shows," Initiative's Power says. "But men don't seem to be comfortable watching female-skewing shows."
With overall TV spending in the upfront not showing huge growth, women's networks know they have to work hard to grow their share of the pie away from the broadcast networks.
"In the most recent upfront, what you could do for advertisers beyond just offering commercials became much more important," WE tv's Clarke says. "They all want deeper partnerships and involvement."
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