Women have tremendous buying power and marketers have gone to great lengths to study and understand more about this valuable audience. Specifically, there’s been a lot of emphasis on how they use email, social, IM, and their favorite content sites and the roles these channels play in their lives and purchasing decisions.
As an industry, our marketing approach has traditionally been to treat all channels equally and to think about reaching women in terms of who they are and not why they use these channels.
Yahoo!’s Connectonomics study introduces a new way to think about marketing by exploring the universal needs of women, how different online channels deliver on those needs, and how marketers can message to women more effectively based on what we know about how each channel meets their specific needs.
We set out to tackle some important questions in order to help marketers create more meaningful connections:
- What needs are fundamentally important to women?
- With so many online channels today (blogs, social media, lifestyle sites, etc.) what do they mean to women and what specific needs do they fulfill?
- On which channels are women more receptive to marketing messages?
By understanding these variables marketers can maximize engagement on each channel by fine-tuning their messages and selecting appropriate sites according to their marketing strategy. To put it simply, marketing effectiveness is a function of needs + channels + receptivity:
We used a comprehensive three-phased approach that started with over 15 hours of 1-on-1 phone interviews, including several interviews with academic and industry experts, 20 women from different demographic backgrounds, 5 bloggers, and 5 men to get a counter point.
Next, we validated those findings through a quantitative survey among 3,000 respondents. Finally, we conducted 8 focus groups in New York and Colorado to discuss how women connect with these channels and where their connections are deepest.
Needs: Understanding women’s needs should inform product, marketing, and content decisions. We
found that women’s universal needs are not as varied as you might
think. The most important needs revolve around personal growth, as well
as their connection with others in their lives.
The needs in the upper right quadrant are the most prevalent. These needs are about personal growth and connecting with others
Channels: How women navigate the web should dictate how the channel is used for marketing communications.|
- Social networking and IM are used most often by women because they enable women to stay connected and share information. However, these connections are more casual and marketing messages are often ignored in these environments.
- Women’s lifestyle and special interest sites fulfill the most needs for women. These content-rich sites also offer anonymity, resulting in deeper emotional connections.
- Email continues to be one of the stronger channels in terms of usage and a great channel for content sharing.
Receptivity: Women are most receptive to marketing messages on lifestyle, specialty, and review sites.
- These channels deliver 3x the impact on purchase decisions compared to other online channels.
- Women are most open to advertising on content channels compared with communication channels where ads are often ignored.
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