Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Media habits have deep roots.

Fact: Girls develop the right side of brain faster than boys. What that means, and we all know, is that they’re talking sooner; they also develop more vocabulary and pronounce words more clearly. They often start reading earlier too. This accounts for better memory and all this apparently never changes.

On the other hand boys develop the left side faster than girls - This means that their visual, spatial-logical skills and perceptual skills develop sooner. They are often better at math, problem solving, building and figuring out puzzles. I believe, because they grow up with the confidence of early success in these areas it is carried through the rest of their lives.

Girls grow up with a perceived lack of or perception of inferior technical and logical skills. This belief follows most of them throughout their lives too and dictates the choices that they make and perhaps discourages them from accepting challenges in these specific areas.

In another unrelated study, Northwestern University, finds that men are more likely to share their creative work online than women despite the fact that women and men engage in creative activities at essentially equal rates”. Men will post more videos and share their code. Overall, almost two-thirds of men reported posting their work online while only half of women reported doing so.
source: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2008/06/hargittaistudy.html

Yet another similar study by Pew Internet & American Life Projects finds that “girls (presumably) write journals more often and more than boys, teen girls also tend to blog more than their male counterparts, but boys post more video, it says about 35 percent of all online teen girls blog, compared with only 20 percent of boys, according to the "Teens and Social Media."

All of these studies point to what we know, and that is, that these differences in their early development are demonstrated in their overall communication styles. Men and boys are more comfortable sharing things that show-off their technical prowess or subject matter depth. They will indulge in impersonal exchanges that culminate in something concrete- professional networking, a job, a date. On the other hand women/girls like to connect and communicate, period. Men can solve problems and issues but cannot talk randomly without a concrete agenda. If a woman shares something with a man he assumes that it is his job to resolve it, not understanding that for women, the act of sharing or simply saying something can be an end in itself.

Hence blogs are for girls and creating and sharing videos are for boys
Men are transactional, meaning: I will do this and this will happen. I will spend 15 minutes on facebook with you if I can get a date in return or at least a phone number. Or I will invest my time in LinkedIn because it might land me a job or increase my professional standing.

Women are social beings and just want to share. What they get in return is the satisfaction of belonging to a group or asserting their individuality by articulating what they believe in, their likes and dislikes. They grew up talking about themselves and are comfortable in social settings without agendas. In this era of social marketing, this fundamental difference in the way men and women interact with media and contribute to it must dictate our strategies and the tools we use to address specific communication goals.

Keeping these differences in mind when developing a campaign helps in creating solutions that resonate with the target audience. Many industry tech bloggers are thinking along these lines too... “ I am seeing a totally different behavior in male and female web surfing habits and am tempted to design my first website with two UIs - one for men and one for women because the perception of information between the sexes is definitely different.”

Calvin Klein was one of the earliest names to explicitly mention their unisex character for their fragrance brand “CK1” or something- an undifferentiated product for men and women.
Wonder how it’s doing now. If you have to address both men and women with the same message with an androgynous campaign then there may be enough common ground if you dig hard enough or skim just the top soil; however,these gender-bender strategies might be just as successful as unisex products!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

14 Viral Video Techniques: It’s a different strain altogether.

Mass advertising is a massive waste - especially if your medium is as tenuous as the Web. As an advertising professional, I know that you cannot be everything to everyone. Appealing to the lowest common denominator can backfire as much as hoping for a trickledown effect.

In this customize-and-personalize arena, advertising still falls into a few categories. Once you get it off that rack, though, you really have to go at it to make it your own. Universal icons have their appeal - but only if delivered the right way.

The Millennial generation is more communal than their predecessors, hence fertile grounds for spreading. The little Obama engine that could, did it with its universal message delivered successfully to this digital confederate, who, in turn, with its viral voracity “rocked the vote.” These are the mobile audiences as opposed to all others who still need walkers. Gen-Xers, for example, may be tech-savvy but are considered more cynical and are not joiners. Gen-Y has too many subcultures that defy viral blanketing. Boomers with their sense of entitlement will try anything that appeals to their individual needs. Into this mix, throw in the gender and race/ethnicity factors, and you have a convoluted conundrum. Bottom line, the success of a well-planned viral campaign depends on how vested the audience is in the original message and how it is delivered to them.

However disparate these demographics might be, the medium and format dictates certain techniques. All the viral videos making the rounds can still be pegged under certain broad categories. I have categorized some popular campaigns to give you an idea. The categories are self-explanatory. You can follow the links of the campaigns below and refer to the category-campagin table to see in what category a particular viral spot falls under. Please suggest other categories that you think can be added.

This table lists some of the more popular viral video campaigns along with their appeal/technique.

Links to 27 of the best (bar one!) viral campaigns of the last two years that I have researched for this blog:
  1. Dove (evolution)
  2. CNBC (election)
  3. Canon (guitar)
  4. Nike (soccer)
  5. McNuggets (rap)
  6. Mega Bang Ultra Stamina
  7. Transport for London (awareness)
  8. Cadbury (gorilla)
  9. Smirnoff (green tea partay)
  10. Ray-Ban (catch)
  11. Axe/Lynx (bom chicka)
  12. Office Max (elf)
  13. Snickers (get some nuts)
  14. Anheuser Busch (wassap)
  15. Ford (phone game)
  16. Sarah Silverman (Matt Damon)
  17. Career Builder (Monk-e-mail)
  18. Blendtec (will it blend?)
  19. Dole fruit (dole baby)
  20. Wilkinson (fight for kisses)
  21. SNL (Tina Fey/Sarah Palin)
  22. Mentos/Carlsberg (experiment)
  23. Cannes Lions (big idea)
  24. Meet the Spartans (Carmen)
  25. Quicksilver (dynamite surfing)
  26. Batman (darknight) - needs to be downloaded
  27. Obama (Black Eyed Peas)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WOMit for WOMen

So I am researching my blog on the web and I type the keywords men and viral together, I get hits from one viral marketing campaign after another. And then I type women and viral for keywords in the same search engine and the SERP is filled with hits on HIV/AIDS and the flu…and maybe a hit on some viral marketing campaign targeting women (more often than not Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign).

Considering that successful viral campaigns are almost always emotional, not as many are targeted to women, or moms – now a power demographic. Even though latest statistics on social media usage show that more women use social networks than men, and they are online as much or more often and for longer than men. Women even play online games more than men do, because they don’t spend as much time as men on video games… except now Nintendo is trying really hard to get them hooked to Wii Fit. Nintendo has a new campaign targeting women, but they fear that they might “alienate” the core gamers, because – god forbid – they use any product that even remotely sends off a feminine vibe!

According to Rapleaf.com and common observation, more men use transactional media (LinkedIn) and more women use relationship media (Facebook), and women are more vested in the networks. Then how come all the cool and funny stuff is sent to my husband’s inbox? Where’s my raunchy, funny and silly video clip or game that I could pass on to my friends? I’m up for a casual laugh. The next brand to tickle my funny bone is the one I’m going to have a fling with…and you never know things might even get serious; heck we might even tie the knot. In this fickle consumer market that is a huge promise.

Marketers seem to believe that women will only spread the word, or share a video or email with a friend if it makes fun of men (Pepto Bismol’s Rex campaign http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vqff8HDFnkw), or is about a serious cause (Yoplait’s Think before you Pink, for breast cancer awareness), or is humanitarian. Or of course warm-and-witty with a men-are-dumb twist. Women are from Venus and Men are Morons?

I am a marketing professional and the elusive "mom’ that all of you marketers are trying to chat up. All I can say is, buzz off, if you’re trying to patronize me, or be all warm and fuzzy. And hey, no “empowering” videos please – really, no thanks Yoplait and Dove, I’ve had enough of that; my self-esteem is not that low… yet.

Remember, the next time all you guys are huddled in the boardroom brainstorming the perfect viral marketing microsite for us, the sisterhood of the traveling pants only works if the pants fit, are not pink, and can be unisex.

Great blogs on marketing to women online or off:

http://www.lipsticking.com/ http://www.trendsight.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Centsible Marketing- The epidemic is Viral!

My two cents worth on the Target Rounders experience (its not a baseball team, in case you're wondering). Target Rounders was a viral marketing campaign by Target.com that ended on 07/31/08.

"I guess I wasn't cool enough or popular enough to be Target's spokesperson. I forgot, you need to be a Millennial to qualify as an Alpha consumer in the digital universe. Target's application process was long drawn and invaded far too much of the little that is left of my privacy compliments of social networks. I am a college student, which should have qualified me but apparently I have spent more years on the analog side to be accepted on the other!

Too bad Target, because I know someone who knows someone who...."

So, if you want to use social media for spreading the love, do consult the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's guide to ethics, below (which apparently, Target, didn't quite do)."


Here are some popular links on viral marketing strategies and examples:

The Top 10 Viral Marketing Campaigns Of All Time
by Patrick Altoft on June 12, 2008http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/the-top-10-viral-marketing-campaigns-of-all-time/

MarketingSherpa’s Viral Marketing Hall of Fame 2008: Top 10 Campaigns & Results Data

Is Viral Marketing for Everyone? An Interview with Language Trainers, Creators of the Accent Game If you haven’t yet seen the Language Trainers Accent Game, it has won the “best viral marketing strategy of 2008″ (in my eyes).
Posted by Tamar Weinberg on July 29th, 2008

Facebook Publishes “Insider’s Guide To Viral Marketing”
by Michael Arrington on April 21, 2008
The pdf was sent to everyone via a box.net URL. Box say they were unaware Facebook would use them for distribution of the document.


So go ahead and infect others. And come back for more round-ups on Internet marketing campaigns on the web.