Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mashable: The Top 2009 Social Media Trends for Moms

My latest guest post for Mashable, The Top 2009 Social Media Trends for Moms, went live today. Check it out here. Feel free to comment below or directly on Mashable's site.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Insights on the iPhone Mom

Greystripe's Q3 Mobile Advertising Insights Report provides the most recent data about a little studied demographic: the iPhone mom. According to Greystripe, "the iPhone has greatly altered the mobile application user demographic" whereas in the past mothers were not "a group that advertisers could readily reach through mobile applications." Currently, however, "the iPhone Mom is now a common and active mobile application user. This demographic is particularly interesting to advertisers as iPhone Moms are the dominant purchasing decision makers for households with several consumers."

So who are the iPhone Moms? 62% are between the ages of 25-44, with an additional 24% between 45-54 years old. They are well educated: 30% have a Bachelor's degree, 4% have attended at least some graduate school, and an additional 16% have an MA degree or higher. iPhone moms are varied in the number of children they have and the ages of their children, although they tend to skew older.

Moms download a variety of applications. A full 94% of iPhone moms download games and entertainment apps, 76% download music apps, and 50% use social networking apps. They find out about apps through different sources, including looking at the top apps (67%), checking out the featured apps in the App Store (65%), and through friends (64%).

In addition to applications, 87% of moms use the device for email, 81% use the maps, 68% use the calendar, and 58% for social networking. 79% use their phone for activities related to shopping. The most common shopping related activity? Using their iPhone to locate the nearest store.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interview with Design on a Dime Host Kristan Cunningham

I recently interviewed design expert Kristan Cunningham, host of HGTV’s “Design on a Dime” and frequent contributor to the “Rachel Ray Show” about design tips, her favorite online resources, and how social media has changed her life. Special thanks to Raymour & Flanigan for coordinating. Full disclosure: Raymour & Flanigan contacted me to promote their collaboration with Kristan. I received no financial compensation for this post.

What’s the one thing that can make or break a room?
The biggest “bang for your buck” is paint. Nothing can make the same impact on a room for the least amount of money. The tone of a room is also very important. A piece can look completely different in two spaces. Things like lighting; dimmers can soften up a room for impact. Additionally, a signature piece- a large armoire or a sleigh bed- can completely change the tone of a room. I would recommend investment pieces in the transitional style that are not too modern or too traditional, as they can provide the most leverage.

You’re very adept at finding quick solutions. What is your favorite easy tip?
One of my favorites is what I like to call the “motel to hotel” transition. Instead of making your bed by pulling the covers all the way to the end of the bed, fold the comforter over twice and add some throw pillows. It costs no money and only requires a small investment of your time, and it can really add definition.

You do a lot of segments on maximizing small spaces. What are some of the most common mistakes you’ve seen people make when space is an issue?
The biggest mistake people make with small spaces is under scaling. Don’t be afraid to use big pieces! You don’t need to be confined to dining chairs. One way to get more leverage out of large furniture is to find “double duty” pieces, like an ottoman with storage space or an armoire where you can hide the TV.
Scaling can be an issue for large spaces as well. The great room is becoming more common, a space that is often three rooms in one. Area rugs can help divide the space, as can large items, like an armoire that can visually break up a big wall.

Let’s talk a little bit about your partnership with Raymour & Flanigan. You’re currently their design expert.
Furniture retailer Raymour & Flanigan brought me in to help their consumers and help them make educated decisions about their furniture and their homes. They are really committed to giving consumers information and tools. Their website has a Design Center section with videos, tip and tools, like a room planner application. I also write articles for the site and recently put together a style book with ideas.

In addition to Raymour & Flanigan, what are your favorite online resources?
My “morning check”- the sites I browse on a daily basis- are Apartment Therapy, Remodelista, and Design Sponge. Blogs are great because they post a variety of resources, from gallery showings to details on sales. I also love the photo tours- being able to get inspiration from real people’s houses. Additionally, both the LA Times and NY Times have great home design content. They have been making an effort recently to include items at different price points and trying to show that design isn’t only for the wealthy. I’ve always believed that good design is good design, no matter what it costs. I also check 1st Dibs regularly for vintage items.

On a more personal note, I was wondering if you could speak to your social media usage. How has social media helped you build your personal brand?
The uptake of social media has been amazing in way it has changed my contact with fans. It has enabled me to keep up with people and share information much faster and more easily. I’m currently redoing my website, and the new site will include my YouTube videos, as well as links to my Twitter and Facebook pages. I also have content on Raymour & Flanigan’s YouTube and Facebook pages. I love that I can post information on Twitter and it reaches my fans immediately. I can tell them about a sale or an interesting article. I can provide content online almost instantly, whereas a TV episode usually takes several weeks to produce.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Companies Should Use Mobile to Reach Women

With the smart phone battle underway, the US mobile Internet population is increasingly drastically. eMarketer estimates that 29.2% of mobile phone users log on to the Internet from their phones at least once a month, up from 22.3% last year. According to  BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, many of those qualify as “heavy” users—those who go online via mobile more than 10 times per week. And their online activities- researching products and services, purchasing items, and using mobile coupons- closely mimic the top online activities for women.

According to Rick Ducey, the Chief Strategy Officer for BIA/Kelsey, "Consumers have basically doubled their use of the mobile platform for non-voice communications....This represents a fundamental and rapid shift in media use, which needs to be considered in determining the appropriate mix and spending levels among local platforms. Media companies that do not currently offer a differentiated mobile advertising option had better get there quickly.”

Mobile advertising could be a particularly effective tool when targeting women. Smart phones are making the lives of women increasingly easier, with synchronized calendars, mobile applications, and the ability to access the Internet on the go. Forward-thinking companies would have the first-mover advantage to effectively women, particularly young women and moms.