Women Make Great Ads

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about women in advertising. To which I say: Women make great ads. Period.

According to JupiterResearch, 70 percent of all U.S. women will be online in 2006. There are more women online today than men. Additionally, 67 percent of women online make online purchases; this number is expected to grow to 74 percent by 2010, when 85 million women will purchase products and services online.

Last year, Yahoo and Starcom MediaVest Group reported women over 40 are devoting more time per week playing online games, spending more money over the holidays, and simply surfing. These women spend more time online than running errands, eating or preparing meals, relaxing, or spending time with friends. Their Internet time outweighs watching TV, listening to the radio, and other media activities.

Fact is, women influence 83 percent of purchase decisions. The brands and agencies that understand what women want and need will ultimately win.

Who better to understand female consumers than female advertising executives and creative directors (not that men can’t create great ads for women and vice versa)? Many prominent women create great advertising.

Our client Julie Roehm, of DaimlerChrysler, is raising the bar in the online automotive space. She was recently recognized by the “Detroit Free Press” for her outstanding contributions to the Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler brands, in addition to her role as a mother and wife. Last year, she was recognized as the Automotive Marketer of 2004 by Brandweek. Roehm’s other accolades include a 2004 Advertising Hall of Achievement inductee; a 2004 Automotive News All-Star; and winner of Advertising Working Mothers of the Year Award. Roehm was also featured as one of AdAge’s 2000 “Women to Watch.” She helped spearhead recent online campaigns, including the well-publicized Dodge Charger “Unleash Your Freak” campaign and the new “Mudds” campaign for the all-new 2006 Jeep Commander.

Our chief creative officer, Colleen DeCourcy, was her partner on these campaigns. DeCourcy is one of our five female executives. She’s a constant source of creative energy, strategic insight, and inspiration for people who know her. She recently served as chair of the Internet jury at the Clio Awards, is consistently quoted in prominent publications, and regularly speaks at industry events. And she’s also a single mom who manages to juggle it all — with great energy, humor, style, and grace.

When I asked DeCourcy for her perspective on women in advertising, she said, “Women are in touch with the customers that they sell to. In the digitally integrated market we live in, women excel because they are multitaskers, empathic, and can facilitate consensus around an idea. Women have learned, through the necessity of juggling careers and caregiving and/or partnering, how to get to the heart of what is needed and what needs to be said. Period.”

Spot on.

Another great female executive is Tracy Coté, our head of HR in San Francisco. Coté has pioneered many great programs for us and is been a key part of our successful growth strategy. She’s a mother of one and literally days away from being a mother of two. She is a masterful multitasker, too. She leaves work in the mid-afternoon to pick up her son at school. But she arrives at 7 a.m. so she can get all her work done. This arrangement is great for us because most of her internal clients are in the Eastern time zone and start their day at the same time she does. It’s win-win for everyone.

I have many more stories, and I’m sure you do, too. Our contribution as individuals isn’t limited by our gender, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. Workplace diversity strengthens companies and supports innovation.

Meet Mark at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago, December 5-8, 2005.

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