Category Archives: Entrepreneuse Issues

What if We Saw the World Through the Eyes of Women?

My question isn’t rhetorical, or even emotional. Factually, only 5% of directors are women, including feature films, television, documentaries, music videos and commercials. A group of directors and other industry professionals are highlighting this issue with their group 5% WTF! Watch their clever animation to understand the problems this inequality worsens:

What if We Saw the World Through the Eyes of Women?

Juliana Lukasik, Principal/Director of Large Films, has a solution to achieve a higher representation of women in director roles:

What if We Saw the World Through the Eyes of Women?“As a Commercial Director I am appalled at how few women directors there are in advertising as well as all other aspects of filmmaking. But hey, I direct commercials so it is especially disturbing that while 85% of the time it is a women making the final decision on purchasing a product, about 95% of the time that advertisement is brought to her by a man in the lead creative role.

“The goal: EVERY time a woman directs, she should have an aspiring female director on set with her. It makes a huge difference.”

I met Juliana at M2W 2016 this year and was very impressed by her efforts. As women professionals, let’s take this mentorship challenge! Women make 85% of purchasing decisions and have real economic power, but when we only see the world through men’s eyes, we’re missing half the picture.

Two Secrets that Bring Joy to Your Product Design

Marketing to Women Starts with Great Products

Twentieth Century Fox recently released a movie about one of the most successful designers in history. The role of the designer is played by Jennifer Lawrence, no less, one of today’s hottest stars. Her sidekicks are Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper (of course!) and Isabella Rossellini. And yet I bet you don’t know this designer’s name.

It’s Joy Mangano.

She focuses on the housewares sector and sells all her products via the home shopping channels HSN and QVC. This retail format is one of few that provide consolidated, immediate feedback on customer response and business success. And, OH, what success she’s enjoyed:

  • Her first product sold over 18,000 items in 20 minutes. And to show that’s not a fluke, another of her designs sold 150,000 in six hours.She holds the record for the best-selling product in electronic retailing history—678 million sold, all told.
  • She holds the record for the best-selling product in electronic retailing history—678 million sold, all told.
  • She has been known to generate sales of $10 million in a single day—extraordinary for this format.
  • To date, over the past 23 years her designs have generated revenues of over $3 billion.

Her phenomenal success can point the way to several specific strategies that can and should blow open your design thinking and accelerate your business success.

Two Secrets that Bring Joy to Your Product Design

Joy’s most important insight is that she roots her design thinking in solving end-user problems in day-to- day life, not in seeking innovation for innovation’s sake. She looks for end users who are exasperated or annoyed by some aspect of a product with a gap between what they want and what’s available.

The second insight is that changes that seem small can have very big business impact indeed. Joy’s best-selling design, the Huggable Hanger, may seem mundane. (OK, so naming might not be her forte.) But this blockbuster product was the first to solve three closet-management problems. First, it’s velvet-flocked, so clothes don’t slip off onto the floor. Second, it’s strong but flat, unlike heavy-duty wood or plastic hangers, meaning less crowding on the closet bar. Third, the shoulder edges are rounded, so there are no poky little puckers ruining the lines of a lovely blouse or sweater. The hangers come in 19 colors, including pink. And she’s sold $678 million of them so far.

It just so happens that Joy’s category, housewares, automatically focused her on the consumers who buy most of everything—women. But women as buyers drive the brand choice in almost every category (this means you, too, auto and consumer electronics); women as end users are the research resource who best notice and articulate design problems that need solving; and women as design colleagues contribute even more than their valuable guidance as the voice of the customer.

In a nutshell, centering your research and product development around more input from women will deliver better innovation, stronger sales, greater career success and more customer love in every sector of industrial design. 

The New Face of Wealth: 50% of Millionaires are Women!

Wow, I bet you didn’t know that 50% of millionaires in the U.S. are women, did you?

Millionaires make up 9% of U.S. adults:

  • 50% of those are men, with an average age of 46
  • 50% of them are women, with an average age of 50

50-millionaires-are-women

These days, most wealthy women earn their own wealth. Of women with at least $3m in investable assets, 61% earned it themselves, according to Russ Prince and Hannah Grove in Women of WealthWomen like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, fashion designer Tory Burch and Spanx inventor Sara Blakely are becoming the new face of wealth.

And here’s another shocking fact:

Nobody prospects high net-worth women!

LIMRA, the insurance and financial services trade organization, finds only 50% of female producers prospect women, with only 20-25% of male producers prospecting women. Marketing to these wealthy women is not only smart– but it’s also less competitive!

Consider this heads-up my favor to you. But you’d better act fast before someone else earns the loyalty of these high net-worth women.

An Uplifting Conversation with the Bra Whisperer

Wouldn’t you love to get some one-on-one time with Susan Nethero, the Bra Whisperer? In less than two weeks, at M2W 2012, you can experience the next best thing– I’ll be leading an intimate session with Susan. We will explore the secrets behind her incredibly successful business, Intimacy— how she started, how she markets to women and maybe even some bra tips!

Susan Nethero’s Intimacy is a nine-figure business with 18 retail stores. She trained under the Queen of England’s Royal Bra Fitter, June Kenton (Royal Bra Fitter! Who knew?) and has been helping women find the perfect fit for 15 years. Susan is also an Oprah favorite, appearing on the show an amazing five times! Just check out one of her videos from Oprah.com below:

Oprah.com Video: 5 Lingerie Must-Haves

Susan Nethero on Oprah

Oprah.com Video: 5 Lingerie Must-Haves

Along with being the Bra Whisperer, Susan’s also a whiz at marketing to women (How else could she have built Intimacy into the success that it is?). Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Susan as a business advisor, and, I must say, she is the perfect client! Whether we were collaborating on marketing strategy, marketing communucations or brand ambassador strategy, Susan is decisive and action-oriented.

If you’re trying to build a business through marketing to women, you won’t want to miss my conversation with Susan. Here are some of the questions and topics we’ll explore during our M2W session:

  • Her Business Idea: What was Susan’s original inspiration for Intimacy? What gaps in the market did she see?
  • Her Product: Can 85% of women really be wearing the wrong size bra? How can so many be so wrong?
  • Her Stores: Her 18 stores are located at some of the ritziest addresses in America. Who shops at Intimacy? Are all her customers sleek young celebrities?
  • Her Marketing: Who coined the term “The Bra Whisperer”? FIVE Oprah appearances – Are you kidding me?! Why did America’s most influential TV diva bring her back again and again?10,000 maniacs – What makes women stand in line for hours for an Intimacy bra fitting?
  • The Sweet Swell of Success: How long before she opened her second store? Her tenth? What were some of her early challenges and how did she deal with them? What does she know now that she wishes she’d known then?
  • Her Future Plans: Once you’ve built a huge business empire from scratch, what do you do for an encore?

Marketing to Women Conference 2012

M2W 2012 is in its 8th year– and like fine wine and cheese, the conference is only getting better with age. This year, M2W is part of a week-long event called Women Mean Business! Week.

Other icons of the marketing to women world who are presenting at M2W include:

  • Mary Lou Quinlan – Founder/CEO of Just Ask a Woman and author of Just Ask a Woman, What She’s Not Telling You, Time Off for Good Behavior and The God Box
  • Fara Warner – Editorial Director of International Special Editions for Newsweek/ Daily Beast Company and author of The Power of the Purse.
  • Michael Silverstein – Senior Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group and co-author of Treasure Hunt, Trading Up and, most recently,Women Want More (with fellow BCG partner Kate Sayre).
  • Tom Peters – Global Marketing Guru and author of In Search of Excellence, a Brand Called YOU, Re-Imagine!, The Little BIG Things and countless other wonderful books.
    Tom is the original thought-leader on women in business. As is his wont, he has been loud and unrelenting in his efforts to wake the world of marketing to the world’s biggest spenders (women), and to shake up management rosters with the talent proven most likely to improve business results (also women!) Call me amused, but every female consumer and executive in the world owes a tip of her feathered cap to “the father of ‘women mean business!'”

View the M2W 2012 Speakers

Register with Code Marti25 to Save 25%

M2W 2012 - Marti SpeaksAs a speaker for M2W 2012, I am pleased to offer my readers 25% savings on conference registration. Just enter code Marti25 in the Discount Code field.

And just a reminder… The conference is rapidly approaching!

I’d love to see you there. Here are the registration links:

Underfunded Inspiration

Kimberley-Clark, to promote its brand Huggies, has started a grant program for innovative moms called MomInspired. The basic idea is that K-C will provide up to $15k in seed money to the moms who have the best ideas for an invention or startup business that will address a currently unmet parenting need.

Elaine Wong of Brandweek asked me to weigh in with my thoughts on the program (because I always have an opinion, right?) I think it’s a potentially fantastic idea, with a sadly lame execution. Here’s why:

What I like about the idea:

  • “Mothers of Invention” line – fabulous!! I didn’t do a search to see if it’s been much used before in the “mom” space. If not, it should have been – brilliant way to encapsulate the reality that, as the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and mothers are on the front line of necessity every day. When I see all the fabulous new products that moms have today – much more portable, convenient & cleanable strollers, car-seats, cribs, high chairs; better designed clothing, diapers & toys –  I just wish there had been more “mothers of invention” in executive positions at Graco, McLaren, Playskool, Pampers, Huggies, etc.
  • Good fit with the fact that many working women choose to stay home for a few years while their kids are little, and many who want to keep their hand in may want to start a business – So definitely a need.

What seems lame:

  • “… Up to $15,000?” Really?! Wow, such a commitment. If this program is to have any impact, they will likely spend at minimum tens of thousands of dollars communicating the program (if all they do is change their packaging, and send out a couple of email blasts – which would limit the program’s impact to people who already buy their brand); more likely hundreds of thousands of dollars – assuming the reason they are doing the program at all is to get some “corporate halo” for supporting women – they won’t get much in the way of “props” if they don’t communicate it widely. So they are putting massively more money into the media than the message – Talk about “green-washing!”
  • “First’ submission period starts soon.” Ummm…. Are they saying they’re going to SPLIT the big $15K across multiple moms? Come ON! Even if the whole $15K went to one mom, it will barely be enough to make a difference – especially if she actually invents something that will need to be manufactured (as opposed to offering a service, which wouldn’t have nearly the development, legal and capital requirements). If K-C splits it across multiple moms, it basically amounts to micro-lending in US terms. True – this is done all the time by companies and foundations, who offer $2K or $5K grants – but that just means ALL of them are lame, and K-C is just like everyone else.

Too bad, really. They could have done something truly meaningful with this… And that would have rightly earned them some true recognition – and spending support – from women, both current customers and, more importantly, customers of competitors.

If you’d like to read more, Elaine wrote a very interesting article about the MomInspired program, using my comments along with other well-informed opinions. Read the full Brandweek article here.