Posted by & in category Marketing Musings.

For years women have typically been paid less than their male counterparts. Well, here’s the retribution. I’m glad to be a part of this contributing community of business owners.

Mark Wolf writes in Forbes that female small business owners are expected to create millions of U.S. jobs while transforming the workplace environment. A remarkable trend is emerging in the U.S. job market–one that will greatly impact the workplace of tomorrow. Women are becoming the nation’s job-creation engine, starting small businesses and stimulating new jobs at a rate that outdistances their male counterparts and disproportionately exceeds their current contribution to U.S. employment.

A newly published report by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute projects that female-owned small businesses, now just 16% of total U.S. employment, will be responsible for creating one-third of the 15.3 million new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2018.Specifically, the Institute expects that women who own small businesses will create from 5 million to 5.5 million new jobs across the U.S. by 2018, and in the process transform the workplace of tomorrow into a far more inclusive, horizontally managed environment.This job growth projection is based on a rigorous analysis of converging factors, including the faster growth rate of female-owned vs. male-owned businesses; higher college graduation rates by women than men; and the predicted growth of industry sectors and occupations traditionally dominated by women. The projection also reflects the timely fact that female-owned businesses, more often self-funded than male-owned ones, are therefore less reliant on bank financing at a time when many say small business lending practices are more restricted.

So what will the working environment within these companies be like?

• Creating a positive working environment for all

• Creating opportunities for other people

• Giving employees reasons to feel better as part of the team

• Paying employees better

• Providing better health care for employees

Female small-business owners are also more externally focused than their male counterparts. They are more intensely concerned about:

• Keeping the customers they have

• Cultivating customers who appreciate what they do

• Meaningfully differentiating their businesses from their competitors

• Taking advantage of economic conditions

• Knowing what other small businesses are doing to improve, succeed or fail

In addition, female small-business owners are more open to taking advice and deriving valuable information from others. They are more open to:

• Seeking input from their employees

• Listening to their accountants, chief operating officers, chief financial officers and financial advisors

• Valuing the range of business information available to them from sources such as the Internet and professional associations

Finally, women are taking a longer-term view of their businesses, with a greater focus on:

• Having a succession plan in place

• Planning for retirement

• Having something to sell at retirement

In the aggregate, this deeply engaged, inclusive, horizontal and diligent female-led approach to business management can be expected to counteract the top-down, command-and-control style long practiced by the male-dominant business establishment. Over the next decade, it will have a profound impact on the U.S. economy as female small-business owners create more opportunity for employees to grow in their jobs, encourage others to start their own small businesses and inspire a greater commitment to superior customer service and retention.

Posted by & in category Marketing Musings.

Happy New Year! It’s a brand-new day—especially when it comes to the American consumer. And that may be good or bad news for marketers, depending on the products they sell and the marketing strategies they deploy.

New research released late last year by McKinsey & Company suggests that the downturn may have “fundamentally altered the behavior of numerous US consumers, who are now learning to live without expensive products.” Among their findings, from an article at the McKinsey Quarterly website:

• In any given category, an average of 18 percent of packaged-goods consumers bought lower-priced brands in the past two years.
• Of the consumers who switched to cheaper products, 46 percent said those products performed better than expected, and the large majority said the performance of such products was much better than expected.
• 34 percent of the switchers said they no longer preferred higher-priced products, and an additional 41 percent said that while they preferred the premium brand, it was not worth the money.

McKinsey is quick to point out, however, that consumers’ choices of cheaper brands vary by the products involved. For example:

• Only 12 percent of beer buyers switched to cheaper brands.
• More than 20 percent of buyers of cold-and-allergy medicines tried a lower-priced option.

Overall, McKinsey advises caution. “Many companies with strong premium brands are anticipating a rapid rebound in consumer behavior—a return to normality, as after previous recessions,” the company reports. “They are likely to be disappointed,” it concludes.

The message to marketers – Tell them what’s in it for them. Regardless of the product or service you offer, it’s important to stress value and dependability in your marketing messages of 2010—to reassure the new breed of cautious consumer.

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Posted by & in category Marketing Musings.

Sure, I love Mad Men and if we had the staff the size of Sterling Cooper this might have been fun for Halloween. But, Denver-based agency Cultivator Advertising and Design Creative Director Monte Mead REALLY longs for the “glory” days of advertising. This is not a propped photoshoot – Cultivator’s Christmas card was actually shot in his home. Merry Time Capsule everyone!

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