Bringing Women In

female gender consciousness

Media’s role in gender sensitivity was addressed by research from Universal McCann, which revealed that women often feel pressured, even demeaned by advertising.  For creatives it’s easy to follow standard gender stereotyping as this tactic has a history of motivating action. But there is a question about whether it’s a good, long-term strategy. The corrective suggestion to remove the negative pressure by increasing the number of women involved in the creative process.

Speaking on a panel at a Women In Ads event in London, Marina Haydn, executive vice president, marketing of The Economist, said, “There are a lot of subtle nuances that are lost because women aren’t playing a bigger role in the creative process.”      Source: CampaignUS

China’s eCommerce Market Leads the World

share of ecommerce

New numbers from McKinsey reinforce the notion that China’s digital presence in the world is mighty.  With 42.4% of the global transaction value generated out of China, the country dominates even the US.  And mobile is at the heart of China’s e-commerce business with 68% payments made via mobile, as compared to the US where mobile digital payments represent only 15%.

McKinsey analysis offers three reasons for China’s powerful digital presence in the world:

  1. The bigger, younger Chinese market is enabling rapid commercialization of digital business models on a large scale.
  2. China’s three Internet giants (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) are building a rich digital ecosystem that is now spreading beyond the country.
  3. The government gave digital players space to experiment before enacting official regulations and is now becoming an active supporter.

Three Elements of Training for Programmatic Ad Buying

stick teacher

Programmatic buying is not necessarily intuitive. To fully understand what’s required (1) one must start by learning both the supply and demand sides of the process.  That’s best done with people who represent both sides and with people who come at the problem from different perspectives within each side. (2) In-person training with real, illustrative case studies appears to be the most successful way to teach the skills necessary. And (3) if you work with vendors like Adobe, Google and Quantcast you can get training from them, but it will be biased toward their products.  The answer is to either use a third party trainer that has no vested interest or to train with several different vendors to bring the biases to the surface.

Source: Digiday

China’s Service Sector Remains Strong

china caixin





July 2017 gave back the modest 0.7% gain that was seen in June 2017, yet the very positive streak we have observed since January 2015 continued.  Only one of those 31 months has edged below 53.0.  Through all of 2016 until July of 2017 the service sector has represented more than half of the Chinese economy – exactly what was planned as the government has tried to alter the shape of the economy toward a freer, more consumer oriented market.  Service sector business sentiment sits at a robust 61.1.

Sources: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Five Years of Change in China

china skinny logoChina Skinny, the weekly newsletter, deserves to be honored for its five years of journalist service. It has documented extraordinary changes in Chinese society and made us all wiser for it.  The changes:

Digital China – China may have been late to the digital game, but it has gone from zero to sixty in the yearly equivalent of 4 seconds.  Today digital advertising leads ad spending in all other channels while online sales are double that of China’s top 100 bricks and mortar retailers.

Experiences – Over the last five years Chinese people have broaden their lives to include creature comfort experiences for the first time in generations.  Locally they are drinking at Starbucks, gaming and going to movies with abandon.  And not so locally, they are travelling to experience the wider world. Overseas tourism has doubled in the last five years.

Local Products – Illustrative of quickly changing buying patterns is the smartphone market.  Five years ago almost three quarters of all smartphones sold in China carried foreign brand names.  Today over three quarters are local brands.  To compete, Chinese products were forced to come up to international standards of quality.  That pattern has been replicated in many sectors.

Health Consciousness – Extreme pollution that effected air, water and soil exacerbated by food scandals and a sedentary lifestyle all converged to force a change in government regulations and consumer behaviors. The government has implemented vast changes in carbon fuel use and the population has generated five million new gym memberships each year over the period.

Up-scaling – Five years ago a combination of pent-up demand and a lack of sophistication meant that Chinese consumers bought lots of cheap stuff to accumulate things they hadn’t had while they were simultaneously susceptible to glitzy foreign bobbles.  Today they are trading up to higher quality products and they aren’t as tempted by shiny objects.

Chinese consumers have earned a valued place in the world of commerce, particularly e-commerce.  Source: China Skinny

Internet Trends

retail store closures yoy increase

Mary Meeker, a Kleiner Perkins venture partner, released her annual Internet Trends Report recently. The key trends she identified all turn on the changing retail world – bricks and mortar v. e-commerce and the effect one is having on the other.

  1. Physical retail shrinks as e-commerce ascends
  2. Through five e-commerce acquisitions in the past twelve months, Walmart is making a power move into online sales where year-over-year quarterly revenue for the company has increased 63%.
  3. As we have reported in the recent past, the remaining retailers are increasingly “mobile-informed.” They tie mobile offers and product info to location.
  4. Online-offline feedback loops are being integrated into retail business models.  Notice the number of stores or restaurants that ping your phone for a survey after you leave?
  5. More targeted location-driven advertising is emerging.

Source: MarketingLand, ZeroHedge

Tale of Two Halves

china mobile carriers

July saw a strong uptick in new mobile subscriptions, almost 10 million, when compared the first six months of 2017.  Over the last 12-months, back to last August, the average increase was almost 13.5 million per month, but when the first seven months of 2017 are compared to the last five months of 2016 the change is drastic.  August to December 2016 averaged over 20 million new mobile subscribers per month while January through July 2017 averaged about 5.6 million per month – that includes the big come back month of July.

Given that China’s population is about 1.4 billion, a mobile population of 1.1 billion is astonishing.  Source: China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom

Small Screen, Big Screen Opportunity

Big Screen-Small ScreenTim Sims, VP of inventory partnerships at The Trade Desk, comments on the opportunities for programmatic buying that set-up a small screen – big screen contrast.  He notes the breath of advertising opportunities available to small mobile devises – audio ads, display ads, vertical video ads and interstitial video ads.  Using the range of opportunities is one side of the future.  Meanwhile, the opportunity for programmatic to “follow the Internet into the living room via connected TV and OTT” is clearly the next big programmatic opportunity.

Sims is emphatic when warning that it’s a misconception to think that programmatic means cheap.  He says that as we shift through the mass of data more efficiently and we can better target the best customer, ad costs will reflect the precision.

Source: AdWeek

Manufacturing Sector Happy

china caixin manufacturing


A five percent increase over the last two months means that manufacturing purchasing manager’s are bullish on the future as expressed by Dr. Zhengsheng Zhong, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis at CEBM Group who commented, “Operating conditions in the manufacturing sector improved further in July, suggesting the economy’s growth momentum will be sustained.”

Rising market elements include: output, new orders, new export orders, buying activity, input prices and output charges.  At the same time there was a modest decline in employment, which means increased productivity, which implies increased automation.

Source: Markit Economics

Chinese Consumer’s Remain Up-Beat

china consumer confidence



A positive buying attitude among Chinese consumers has kept Consumer Confidence numbers above 110 for five consecutive months, well over the 13-month average of 108.9. As we have said before, this bodes well for those of us who want to sell things to Chinese people.  These numbers demonstrate that they are a receptive audience for advertising messages.

Sources: Trading Economics, National Bureau of Statistics, China