Posts filed under ‘Marketing’

Women Drive the World Economy. But Companies are Doing a Poor Job Serving Them








In the Harvard Business Review’s September issue, a fascinating, if not slightly shocking study result was published:  As a market, women represent a bigger opportunity than China and India combined, but companies doing a poor job of serving them.

“Women now drive the world economy. Globally, they control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years. Their $13 trillion in total yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion in the same period. In aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined—more than twice as big, in fact. Given those numbers, it would be foolish to ignore or underestimate the female consumer.

And yet many companies do just that, even ones that are confident they have a winning strategy when it comes to women. Consider Dell’s short-lived effort to market laptops specifically to women. The company fell into the classic “make it pink” mind-set with the May 2009 launch of its Della website. The site emphasized colors, computer accessories, and tips for counting calories and finding recipes. It created an uproar among women, who described it as “slick but disconcerting” and “condescending.” The blogosphere reacted quickly to the company’s “very special site for women.” Austin Modine of the online tech publication The Register responded acidly, “If you thought computer shopping was a gender-neutral affair, then you’ve obviously been struck down by an acute case of female hysteria. (Nine out of ten Victorian-age doctors agree.)” The New York Times said that Dell had to go to the “school of marketing hard knocks.” Within weeks of the launch, the company altered the site’s name and focus. “You spoke, we listened,” Dell told users. Kudos to Dell for correcting course promptly, but why didn’t its marketers catch the potentially awkward positioning before the launch?

Most companies have much to learn about selling to women. In 2008 the Boston Consulting Group fielded a comprehensive study of how women felt about their work and their lives, and how they were being served by businesses. It turned out there was lots of room for improvement. More than 12,000 women, from more than 40 geographies and a variety of income levels and walks of life, responded to our survey. They answered—often with disarming candor—120 questions about their education and finances, homes and possessions, jobs and careers, activities and interests, relationships, and hopes and fears, along with their shopping behavior and spending patterns in some three dozen categories of goods and services. (You can learn more about the survey and take an abridged version of it at

We also conducted hundreds of interviews and studied women working in 50 organizations in 13 fields of endeavor. Here’s what we found, in brief: Women feel vastly underserved.

Despite the remarkable strides in market power and social position that they have made in the past century, they still appear to be undervalued in the marketplace and underestimated in the workplace. They have too many demands on their time and constantly juggle conflicting priorities—work, home, and family. Few companies have responded to their need for time-saving solutions or for products and services designed specifically for them.”

To read more go here:

If you are a woman, do you agree: do you feel under-served, ignored, or undervalued by companies? If you are a man, what are your thoughts? And what are the opportunities that you now see, (as a consumer? as a leader within a company?)


September 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Company Case Study: New P&G CEO Bob McDonald on How to Improve Lives for People Who Cannot Afford Products

Here is a great case study example of how P&G  found a way to improve lives and save water for consumers in the  Philippines with the innovation of a product called Downy Single Rinse:

bob_mcdonaldFrom Forbes: On the Call: P&G CEO Bob McDonald

Associated Press, 08.05.09,

“The Procter & Gamble Co. uses a slogan that its consumer products touch and improve lives. Traditionally, that’s meant with “new and improved” innovations of Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste and other products.

But the company is pushing to increase sales in developing countries where per capita incomes are far below U.S. consumers, in a global recession. Bob McDonald, who took over July 1 as CEO, discussed the challenge in P&G’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call with analysts.


I know you want to change lives, but what if people can’t afford to change their lives?


One of the things we’ve learned is that, in order to improve the lives of people that tend to be toward the bottom of the economic pyramid, you have to innovate for the best consumer experience for those people. It’s not a matter of trickling down higher-tier technology.

A great example of that is Downy Single Rinse, which we began developing in the Philippines some years ago. This was an opportunity for Filipino consumers who rinse their clothes five times with clear water in order to get rid of the soap, to use a product that added fragrance, some degree of softness, but also, importantly, sequestered the suds that were in the water and allowed them to go from five rinses to one.

And basically, the product pays for itself because of the water that they save.”

August 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm 1 comment

Adjusting My View of Current Reality

sign-realitycheckI just read an article that caused me to adjust my view and filters regarding current reality.

The article had research information about our current economy as well as information about our economy over the past fifty years.

Without getting into detail, it said we have been experiencing an anomaly during the past fifty years in that the economy was in a continual expansion mode (a few justifications and reasons for this were provided), and that our current economy is the reality of what it will be like in the future.

Well!!! This article caused me to contemplate what that could mean for leaders moving forward.

  1. Few to no leaders have experience from fifty years ago that aligns with the business needs of today’s reality – we are currently learning to lead in new and different ways as we experience day to day revelations in this new economic reality.
  2. A recalibration of what success looks like, sounds like, feels like and is measured like will be necessary. This will vary by the industry, function, situation in which leaders find themselves.
  3. The way in which people are led will be different in that aspirational career growth, positional movement, personal development, travel globally, compensation adjustments, etc. could be reduced or not available due to tighter management of budgets.
  4. Limited inventories and options will create the need for true leadership in selling versus order taking. Increased competition for discretionary monies will also require selling to step up and lead.
  5. Marketing will take on a different look as more targeted messages are designed for smaller, unique populations. Again, reduced budgets could drive an increased need for greater ROI per customer, so targeting to higher potential buyers will be necessary.
  6. Adroitness with new and existing technologies will be required to do more with less resources and increase the need for “high tech touch” to lead disseminated audiences of employees, customers, consumers, suppliers, collaborators, partners, etc.
  7. Leaders will be required to become very good at providing clarity of direction, priority, focus and metrics in order that these dispersed audiences can operate independently and still stay aligned with the organizational imperatives. Partnering beyond the traditional company boundaries will also require sharing these aspects of leadership with non-traditional entities in order to compete effectively.
  8. Leaders will also have to be better coaches, supporters, barrier-breakers and reinforcers of empowered followers in order to reduce errors and potential failure modes of operations as followers get up to speed and become leaders in their own business arenas.
  9. These more micro-focused organizations will require a strong core of strategic structure and infrastructure from which independence can be enabled in order to make better decisions at the point of performance, move with speed and agility, and maximize the cost/service/quality requirements of the target audience.
  10. Not to mention the leadership challenges for supply chain partnerships, purchasing reciprocity, legal licensing, financial refocusing, benefits contracting, recruiting & hiring, etc., etc.

I believe every strategic and functional aspect of how we have done business in the past is changing and that strong, agile, open to learning leadership will be required to challenge and adapt to the new economy as we move forward.

Okay, I shared some of my thoughts and filter changes.

What additional adds do you have based on our economy being more of the same as we have had this past year (2008-09), versus being the double-digit growth, fat and happy economy we have experienced since the 1950’s?


July 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm Leave a comment

A Reason To Believe

A REASON TO BELIEVECandid Self-Reflection

Leaders are objective observers by applying the habit of self-reflection. They acquire self-knowledge by observing their impact on others, linked to business results. A candid self-reflection question could be, “What am I thinking, saying or doing in this moment and what is the impact?”

In today’s ever-changing business environment, leaders must be increasingly intense, intentional, agile, rapidly integrating and possibility-seeking learners. Leaders must actively and easily seek, see and seize unexpected opportunities, early indicators, trends and possibilities in the moment – faster than ever before.

These agile leaders have strengthened capability in four surprising areas:


In the Moment Innovation

These leaders are in touch with many different and contrasting views. They make the statement, “These are our first ten ideas, we have many more. Let’s explore our next ten ideas.” This habit is powerful in five minute bursts.

Feeding the Future

Wealth creation is inspired by future forward communication in simple, clean, clear verbal visuals. One of the highest performing real estate companies in the U.S. uses the color green to inspire belief in real estate wealth. What visual branding or picture can you create that enables people to become a part of that forward focus?

The Reason to Believe

Leaders help others have confidence to believe in themselves, the company and the business opportunities. Past history of overcoming challenges, producing results and collaborating is essential for creating a foundation for the future. When one of our global clients chose to make a challenging acquisition – the president inspired the workforce by highlighting magazine and newspaper articles from past successes. Create a wall of past positives that demonstrates the power of the past for your business strategy.

There is no better time than now to strengthen your leadership agility linked to achieving bottom line business results.

July 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

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