The brilliance of pink rope

My girlfriend’s car was rear-ended the other day. She and the other driver were alright, fortunately. But, her car’s bumper was twisted out of place, which prevents the trunk from closing.

We went to Lowe’s Home Improvement to buy rope so I could tie down the trunk until the insurance companies work things out and send her car to the body shop. While I knew, intellectually, that home improvement stores had taken a number of steps some time back to market to female consumers, this visit was my first personal experience with the phenomenon. Lowe’s and its competitors began offering workshops for women-only as well as retooling their inventories to include such items as tools with extra cushioning on the grips.

Not to mention carrying rope in more colors than just white or brown. I was about to walk off with the white rope when my girlfriend grabbed the pink product. I take my hat off to the manufacturer of the bright pink product for taking advantage of product differentiation so successfully.

Lowe’s has also become a master at planning product placement to move more inventory, according to The “planograms,” or data-driven shelf plans, influence where is item is placed on shelves. The plan is created through the use of analytical software to determine which products make the most profit and what location gets the best results.  Major suppliers have access to Lowe’s store layouts. Baseline cites a retail expert who credits planograms with helping Lowe’s target women through attention to atmosphere and aesthetics.

It’s working so far with my girlfriend. …


E-mail marketing is so passe’

If you’re not conducting your marketing campaign via a social network site, you’re behind the times, report Nielsen and Direct Marketing.

The full report is here.

The time that consumers are using e-mail while online has dropped 28 percent, Nielsen says. It’s now the third most popular online activity, behind social networking and gaming.

An Advertising Age report also cites a Nielsen study on Facebook ads. The study looked at 14 brands and found an increase in ad recall and purchase intent when homepage ads mentioned users’ friends who became fans of the brand in the ad. The impact was even larger when the “like” showed up in a user’s news feed, in a method called organic social advocacy.

The impact on awareness and recall is even more pronounced when a home-page ad coincides with what Facebook and Nielsen term “organic” social advocacy, i.e. an item in a user’s news feed indicating a friend has become a fan of a brand.

Does this mean your company needs to rush out and create a Facebook page? No. A social network campaign should be as well planned as any other marketing campaign. Do your homework and decide on your goal, audience, and other factors. And then plant your flag on the social network sites.

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