Monthly Archives

July 2014

Marketing to women

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An interesting item pulled from the latest issue of Adweek, found in an article about marketing to women, “Women control the vast majority of consumer spending in this country, yet when asked in a survey if advertisers understand them, 90% of women said no.”

A missed opportunity? I’d say. In doing a bit of research for this article the message is clear, those who do not figure this out will be lost in the dust.

It’s undeniable that advertising and marketing needs to be relevant to the audience and to do so we need to both engage and understand the audience. It’s perplexing that so many ads directed to women neither engage nor do they seem to understand their audience. And if you’re already rolling your eyes about this subject, it might be because we’ve been talking about this for decades…yet not all that much has changed. Ads to women can be so bad that many women seem to have become immune to them. Trite, ok. Pink, expected. Sexist, stereotypical, speaking down to me, should I expect anything different? The bar is so low that an advertiser has to be blatantly insulting for most women to even notice, let alone take action or complain.

So, amid the rolling eyes, here are some staggering numbers found:

  • Nearly 85% of all brand purchases are made by women, yet fewer than 3% of creative directors are women. Adweek.
  • About 30% of small businesses are owned by women and women-owned businesses employ about 8 million people or 40% more than the 3 largest companies in the U.S. Combined Government Census.
  • Faith Popcorn estimates that women make 80% of all purchase decisions and control 80% of the money. 
  • High net worth women account for 39% of the country’s top wage earners. Mass Mutual Financial Group. 
  • And finally, The Yankelovich Monitor states:
    • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health care:
      • 91% of New Homes
      • 66% PCs
      • 92% Vacations
      • 80% Healthcare
      • 65% New Cars
      • 89% Bank Accounts
      • 93% Food
      • 93% OTC Pharmaceuticals

As a woman business owner in a creative industry, I offer a bit of advice. Please, please, stop using pictures of women in stilettos climbing staircases holding a brief case and a baby. Make an investment in time, money and research…and get better, much better, in all marketing communications to women. Marketing to women is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and under developed strategies and yet, it holds the greatest opportunity for success both now and in the future.

Do You See the Light?

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We’ve always been a believer in the benefits of having access to natural light in the work environment.  That’s why d.trio sought out office space that maximized the amount of light available in employee workspaces.

Recent research reveals that exposure to bright light helps us regulate sleep, boost mood and even increase productivity.  Some scientists claim that sitting next to a window on a sunny day can help double an individual’s alertness.  And, other studies link light to the release of the hormone serotonin, adding to a sense of wellbeing.

For those who struggle with insomnia, a 30-minute walk in the sunshine (especially in the morning) can help with sleep because it helps set and regulate our internal body clocks.

And there are also great mental health benefits to be derived from exercising outside vs. in the gym.  For a list of some of these benefits, check out

Exposure to nature can even help you recover from illness faster. A study conducted by an expert in the benefits of natural green space found that patients recovering from gall-bladder surgery that were provided with a natural view needed less pain medication, were more cooperative and went home two to three days sooner than a group given only buildings to look at.

So, the great outdoors appears to be just that – GREAT!  Gaze at it, walk in it, exercise in it and soak up the many benefits it provides.  See the light, you’ll be better for it.


How Mobile Shopping Applications are Changing Retail

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In the retail world, the competition is aggressive, diverse, and everyone is hungry; and now the waters have been chummed.

Mobile shopping applications for smart phones have been rapidly changing the retail landscape. They give consumers the ability to scan products and instantly find a competitors price. Brick-and-mortar stores have to compete with online retailers in their own stores. And online retailers are coming out with their own apps and even their own phones. The arduous task of navigating these waters falls to marketers and the ones who understand the technology will be the ones to come out on top.


More Choices for Consumers

There are dozens of highly rated apps that will compare national and local prices just by scanning a barcode. Some of these apps will even send notifications when items go on sale and offer coupons.

Consider one of the more popular apps, ShopSavvy. It has over 6 million users and they indicate there are 50 million scans monthly. That’s 600 million transactions annually! The company that created this app was founded in 2008, making the numbers even more astounding.

ShopSavvy, and other apps like it, send coupons, price notifications and compare pricing for online stores and local brick-and-mortars. Developers continue to make updates to their apps, to create an even more robust shopping experience.



Pricing has always been challenging for retailers but the introduction of mobile shopping apps have made it even more difficult. Stores have recently seen a rise in “showrooming”. Showrooming occurs when someone uses a brick-and-mortar store to have a hands-on experience with a product but has no intention to buy the product from that store. They use the stores inventory, employees and resources, but ultimately buy from an online retailer instead. This creates significant problems for stores and is due in large part to smartphones.

Retailers are starting to adapt by introducing their own apps, providing employees with tablets and taking advantage of new technologies like beacons. Beacons detect when a smartphone is near the product and delivers specific messages. Picture an end-cap that will send a discount directly to your phone. The advantage of beacons is that the shopper needs to be in the store in order to take advantage of the deal.

One clear advantage that brick-and-mortar stores still have is instant gratification.  However, online retailers are trying to take that advantage away too by using drones and other methods to provide same day delivery.


Online Retail

The juggernaut of online retailers, Amazon, has had it’s own mobile price matching app for a few years and has seen relative success. It arguably started the trend of showrooming.  Amazon will also be releasing their new phone in late July and has been adding “free” services (there is an annual fee) such as expedited shipping, video and music streaming and ebooks to their customers.

These services  and shopping apps will only increase in popularity and brick-and-mortar stores will need to find their own specialized services in order to compete.

Featured Work – The Informatics Group

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The Informatics Group strategically connects healthcare organizations with highly qualified healthcare technology consultants – “informaticists.”  The company works with both payers and providers within healthcare systems, institutions, clinics and physician practices.

Looking to take their company to the next level in the face of rapidly increasing competition in their highly specialized niche, The Informatics Group turned to d.trio marketing group for help.  Working closely with the company’s principals, d.trio undertook extensive industry and competitive research to help identify key differentiators for the company that would feed the development of more highly focused brand positioning and messaging.

A brand story and positioning document was developed and collateral has been created for The Informatics Group’s sales team.  This included a piece for a newly named and branded proprietary process for aligning the company’s Healthcare IT consultants with their clients’ unique requirements.

We’re looking forward to the next stages of marketing tactic development including a complete website refresh that will make use of the newly developed content and be better optimized for search.



Get to know Catherine

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029_dtrio_web_bwEvery time we get a new team member we ask them a few questions to get to know them better. Catherine Smalley joined us recently as a senior account executive, and here are her answers to our getting to know you questions:

The strangest compliment I ever received was: That I drive like a dude.

If I threw a fantasy dinner party, I’d invite:  Britney Spears, Robert Downey Jr., Anna Wintour, George W Bush and Drake

If I were a top-secret government agent, my code name would be: Chanel #5

If  I could rule the Internet for a day, I would: Limit the amount of photos one is allowed to post of their offspring or pet in a given day

The secret theme song playing inside my head is: I mean it’s hard to pick one but likely a feel-good Britney song like “Stronger”

I keep myself balanced by: Running outside and taking indoor spin classes in the winter.

If I were King/Queen of <Facebook/Twitter/Instagram>, my first decree would be to: Eliminate selfies

What profession other than marketing would you like to try? Psychologist

What is the best book you’ve read recently? Gone girl.

Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could sing.

What quality do you most value in your friends? Honesty

What is your favorite word? I don’t have a favorite word but my favorite saying to live by is “action is better than inaction”

Where (besides MN) would you love to live? Mexico, on the beach

What is your most treasured possession? My dog, Olive.

If you died and came back as a person or thing- who/what would that be? I’d probably come back as my dog. She lives a pampered life.

Management perspective: Go outside

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We love words. They fuel what we do and how we express d.trio’s and our client’s brands. Simple words can express volumes, such as the word ‘outside’. We chose ‘outside’ this month for obvious and not so obvious reasons. It’s summer and in Minnesota we all want to get outside as much as possible to commune with nature. But the word is much more than that – it gives hope, it helps describe things beyond the limits of scope, it’s exclusionary, it’s expansive and more. Words play an important part in our lives. Through the many communication shortcuts we take every day, we don’t always take advantage of the nuances of language or use the variety of words we could. So let’s change things up a bit.

Let’s make a goal to get outside the normal routine and look for inspiration – read a well written novel, choose some words that take you outside your regular language when you write and get outside and experience nature.