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The Cross-Media Key to Reaching Women Online Is Trust

  |  December 15, 2011   |  Comments

We need to come up with creative new ways to market to women that bridge the gap between online and offline mediums.

Never in the history of the world have more women actively engaged with digital media. Nielsen's recent "Women of Tomorrow" study found that mothers who actively participate in social networking are 81 percent more likely than the general population to follow a brand online, 85 percent more likely to share advice about beauty products, and 28 percent more likely to share information about online shopping. Women in developed countries are heavy Internet users and claim that computers, cellphones, and smartphones make their lives better. In general, women are even heavier users of mobile devices than men, talking 28 percent more and texting 14 percent more every month.

Why is it, then, that brands still struggle with how to reach them online?

From a media planning and buying perspective, we have a pretty clear idea of what we need to do. We know what women are doing and where to find them, and historically that's been half the battle. When it comes to engaging them, however, we often fall short.

The disconnect between high usage penetration and the consumer response to digital advertising seems to lie with the consumer's perception of digital media - a few channels in particular. According to Nielsen, only 10 percent of women trust text ads on mobile phones. Fourteen percent trust display ads on mobile devices, the same as the percentage that trusts online banner ads and ads in social networks. So while women may be champions of digital media and believe wholeheartedly that its presence improves their daily lives, that doesn't mean they trust all that it has to offer them.

Some might suggest this dilemma can be solved by sticking with the forms of advertising that women do trust - TV, newspaper, and magazine ads among them - but doesn't it seem a shame to allocate advertising funds away from the mediums women spend the most time with? Instead, the solution might be to come up with creative new ways to market to women that bridge the gap between online and offline mediums, and employ both to make the message stick.

A Sticky Call to Action From Print to the Web

It isn't often these days that a magazine ad will stop a consumer in her tracks - but then, most consumers don't encounter magazine ads like that created to promote Kraft Canada's Premium Plus crackers. Last month's issue of the Canadian interior decorating and lifestyle magazine Style At Home was among a select group of female-skewed publications that featured a peel-away ad heavily integrated into the editorial content. In the case of Style At Home, a Premium Plus sticker shaped like two crackers was affixed to an image of a bowl of soup in an article about fall cooking, making it appear as though the crackers were part of the recipe (or at least suggesting that they should be). Called, "It's what your soup wants," the campaign's ads encourage readers to visit the brand's site, AddSomePlus.ca.


While branded sites typically fare well when it comes to gaining consumer trust (Nielsen says 32 percent of women trust branded sites, making it the second most trusted source of information next to a personal recommendation), driving consumers to them isn't easy, particularly if they don't trust the format of the ads that are doing it. A creative magazine ad taps into the confidence women have in both print editorials and print ads and still manages to land them online.

A Commercial and a Mobile App in Perfect Harmony

In a new TV campaign, Pillsbury offers women consumers something more than a peek at its golden-baked goods. The commercial spot comes with a call to action for viewers to use their Shazam mobile app to get more branded recipes.


Besides appealing to tech-savvy consumers who are likely to have their mobile phones nearby when they're watching TV (and may already be familiar with the music-tagging Shazam application), Pillsbury manages to turn television advertising interactive. Consumers can save the recipes they see to their phones and review the ingredient list later when they're in-store. The campaign has all the makings of a winner: it acknowledges the target consumer's reliance on mobile media while also delivering its message through TV - still one of the most trusted mediums for moms when it comes to advertising.

A valuable opportunity exists to play online and offline media off of each other in order to expose consumers to your brand's message and lead them where you want them to go. In employing their existing trust in the media, you can in turn build trust in your brand.


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Tessa Wegert

Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.

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