The Community Factor


iVillage, the digital anchor of NBC Universal’s Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks Group, thinks its found a better way for marketers to reach women. Its new concept of “Women Like Me” marketing leverages the trust among like-minded women participating in open online communities.

At a preview event for press on Thursday morning, iVillage unveiled the results of its proprietary research showing that women trust online communities twice as much as social networks and portals when it comes to information on products and brands. iVillage attributes this higher level of trust to an environment where women connect with online peers who share common interests, values and life stages.

The iVillage study, conducted jointly with Burke Research, found that 51% of women community users said they trust women’s online communities for info on products and brands vs. 14% of social network users who trust social networks for the same purpose. The idea is that while a woman might use Facebook to reconnect with old friends, if she wants advice on which stroller to buy for her newborn, she’s more likely to reach out to an online community of mothers.

And that level of trust in a Web site provides opportunity for marketers to capitalize on. “The key to engendering trust and establishing relevance online is aggregating women around the right topics and inviting marketers to be adjacent to that content and part of the conversation,” said Jim DeMarco, VP of research and analytics at iVillage. “The bottom line is, in order for marketers to instill trust in their own brands, they need to align with media platforms that enjoy a high level of trust among their users.”