Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday shopping online?

Where are you shopping online this year? With the dollar in an on-par place it makes cross border online shopping that much more desirable. What Canadian e-tailers are grabbing your attention and reducing your holiday stress? For the creative gift seeker, try for unique gifts designed and crafted by Canadian artisans. How much of your shopping are you doing online this year?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Women at the expense of men?

David Menzies wrote an interesting article in this month's Marketing Magazine titled "Excuse My Gender" where he laments about men and their negative portrayal in recent ad campaigns by Rona, Rogers and Royal Bank to name a few. I can certainly relate to the sentiment of the article. Perhaps the pendulum has swung to far for marketers trying to wave the flag for the female gender. As an agency who specializes in marketing with women I can sympathize and agree that good quality marketing and communication strategies do not have to come at the expense of men.

That said, is the message getting through at the retail level? With all of the mega bucks being invested by North America's big brands in search of winning the female favour, is this translated at all customer touchpoints of the sales experience? Sadly, I say no. Just walk into a retailer selling consumer electronics, try signing up for a new small business phone system or even purchasing a car, home or a vacation membership package and as a woman you will still have to sustain some good old fashioned gender discrimination.

So, perhaps these ad budgets should be allocated to gender specific sales training and operationalization of communication strategies across all customer touch points. Just a thought.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Are women moving up in the workplace?

Are we making progress? Are there more women in senior decision making positions at Corporations across Canada? Well, perhaps we are seeing marginal differences in the percentages at the top two teirs but is that really the issue? Perhaps it is that we need more female role models and leaders at all levels of the organization. Do you have to be senior to lead or make an impact? As employment models are changing and flattening, there has never been a better time for leadership to be present at all corners of a company.

As employers are starting to re-think performance-based measurement, employee engagement practices and grappling over how they are going to attract top talent and fill the female pipeline, it is also a great time to be acknowledging leadership potential in different areas of the business and rethinking the leadership definition.

Having a flexible organizational mindset and flexible employment practices will improve your access to top female talent. Make it easier for women to engage with you, to stay with you, and perhaps.... to move up with you. But don't make that the only measure of success.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Looking to reach women online? Try You Tube

Women are moving the needle in the YouTube demographics. And we are taking full advantage. This is not just women in the 18-35 year range either. We all know that boomers are the fasted growing segment of Internet users, but they are now becoming great social networkers too, embracing personal and professional networking sites like FaceBook, Linked In, photo sharing sites and posting videos to sites like Video Jug .

eMarketer recently cited heavy social network users as also being big online consumers of apparel and books. Another key indicator that women are moving more of their consumer and leisure activities online.

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Women. The advertising engine of influence.

Women are savvy to advertising. We know what we like. We know what we trust. eMarketers' recent consumer stats tell that 78% of us trust recommendations from other consumers, 63% of us trust newspapers and 61% of us trust opinions posted online. Popular ones recently cited in an eCommerce Minute article were , and . Of course there are also the more industry related ones like . Which consumer opinion sites do you trust?

With TV, Magazine and radio ads moving down the list of trusted sources, what ads are making an impact now? Check out this video spoof on advertising. You are going to love it.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Seeking: A Naturalist with strong opinions!

Finding a naturalist is proving to be tougher then we thought! We are wrapping up casting for our second Season of the Define Yourself campaign which will feature a range of women with dramatically different mindsets on the topic of aging. We have had no challenge finding lots of women to be involved with one exception-- we are looking for a women who loves every wrinkle, rarely or never wears makeup and is against any anti-aging products or treatments. Does this sound like anyone you know? If so, we would like to hear from you asap! Please email

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Dismissed again! Smart marketers missing the female vote in family travel.

One step forward and five steps back. Sometimes it seems that we aren't quite as far ahead as we thought in understanding and addressing women as serious players when it comes to the household finances. I recently returned from a family vacation in Dominican Republic at my favourite resort in Punta Cana. We had a lovely time barring one major technicality--- we made the mistake of agreeing to be introduced to the resorts new exclusive members program that involved premier service for its best clients. Well, we all know how these things go.

We were taken upstairs to a room that we didn't even know existed and entered what look and felt like the Toronto Stock Exchange floor-- hustle, bustle and hard core sales tactics. Now, I would consider my husband and I to be two quite savvy sales and marketing people, so we certainly knew how to navigate this territory. However, what became immediately apparent is that the sales person did not consider me to be key in this decision making process. Now, you know that these sales people have been trained in North American sales techniques. They also knew that I was a working professional. And still, my concerns and objections were glossed over while the salesperson became more and more focused on my husband -- particularly as my questions became more challenging and he appeared the more friendly ear.

Women are the primary decision maker when it comes to family travel-- whether they work in the home or out of the home. This classic error on the part of the sales person cost him a significant sale and left me with a bad taste in my mouth which unfortunately translated into bad feelings about the resort and brand in general. When I arrived back to Toronto I promptly sent a note to the Senior Executive in charge of Marketing, based out of Spain, to share my experience and offer them support in figuring out the female species.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Aging? The good, the bad and the ugly.

Ahhhh, aging. Although most of us would like to be fresh faced and makeup free as we approach those 40, 50 milestone ages, it's just not realistic for most of us. It is tough to get to the real deal when it comes to the way women feel about aging. There is how we SHOULD feel, and then there is how we really feel. Take our the Define Yourself, Which Type Are You poll and see how your aging mindset compares to other women across Canada.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ad Agencies held accountable for diversity in management teams

It's about time. And why not? This past September, 15 New York-based agencies submitted their goals for hiring 'minorities' into their management ranks. And to who? The The New York City Commission on Human Rights. Ad Age recently checked in with a progress report.

Should agencies not be held accountable to the same standards as other corporate peers that they serve? Interestingly, many had a tough time with their definition of minority, ranging from "non white" to "more women". While some agencies are welcoming the scrutiny others are infuriated with being held publicly accountable. What do you think?

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