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US Birthrate Stats Show It’s Time To Rethink Outreach To Moms

pregnant woman

Image via Shutterstock

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that birth rates in the US hit a record low in 2013, down nine percent to fewer than 3.93 million. The number of births for women younger than 30 did all of the declining, down 10 percent among teens (yay!), three percent for women between the ages of 20 and 24, and one percent for women between 25 and 29.

However, for women older then 30, the number of babies born actually went up.

The stats indicate a number of things, but for PRs it means there needs to be a rethinking of outreach to mothers in order to stay relevant to this shifting demographic.

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Consumer Brands’ Mobile Products Get Smarter

Heineken Share the Sofa“Mobile is the closest you can get to consumers. Our positioning is based on mobile’s personalization, pervasiveness and proximity to users.”

So said Greg Stuart, CEO of MMA (or the Mobile Marketing Association). He spoke at ANA/Association of National AdvertisersMobile First, Mobile Everywhere Conference on Tuesday in New York.

“Now consumers expect that they can fulfill more needs via mobile. During ‘mobile moments’ throughout the day and night, their wishes are met through mobile devices”, said Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research Inc’s SVP of idea development and author of The Mobile Mindshift. Consumer brand presenters from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Heineken USA and Timex detailed their companies’ smart mobile initiatives that address customer’s desires 24/7.

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New Holiday Shopping Patterns Signal the Beginning of The End of Black Friday

holiday shopperThe numbers released so far for sales on this year’s Black Friday are way down. While the National Retail Federation says 87 million people still hit the stores, Black Friday just ain’t what it used to be.

In some ways, the shifts reflect the modern shopper’s use of the internet to buy gifts. In another way, the decline in shopping on this particular day is out of necessity. The PR and marketing campaign for Black Friday was too successful to be contained in one 24-hour period.

Ultimately, the most important thing for retailers is that they make their numbers for the season. But going forward, it’s becoming clear they won’t be able to count on Black Friday to put them in the black.

(Cyber Monday update after the jump.)

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Target CEO on Data Breach: ‘This Is an Industry Issue’

In a smart move, Target‘s CEO made an appearance today on The CBS Early Show to talk about all things leading into Black Friday.

With regards to the data breach, Brian Cornell framed the ongoing issue as one that the whole industry has to deal with, reassuring Gayle King that they’re doing all they can daily to protect customers’ privacy.

The company is finally starting to see some turnaround after a few quarters where the brand was badly damaged by the breach. Profits were up more than three percent in the third quarter to $352 million.

The other big issue he addressed were the Thanksgiving store openings. Every year, people kick up a fuss. Every year, the stores open on Thanksgiving Day. Every year the explanation is that despite the outrage, there are a lot of shoppers who want to be in the stores on Turkey Day.

Cornell’s response to that is interesting.

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Urban Outfitters CEO Says Messy Stores Are Costing the Company

urban outfitters1For a minute there, it seemed like Urban Outfitters was making headlines regularly for putting one controversial item or another on its shelves. So when the company comes out and says that it has experienced a seven percent decline in profits for the third quarter, you’d think it’s because all the bad publicity finally caught up with them.

You’d be wrong.

The CEO of Urban Outfitters, Richard Hayne, says the issue is with how messy the stores are. The stores are “needlessly overassorted and piecey, which made the shopping experience more difficult and less appealing,” he said on a call with analysts. He compares the results to those of the company’s other businesses to show where Urban Outfitters went wrong.

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Walmart Wants To Put An End To #WalmartFights With New Black Friday Strategy

Walmart has launched a “New Black Friday” with the mission of ending the incidents of over-the-top and violent shopping behavior on that most important of shopping days.

Customers have proven that if retailers are willing to open for business with doorbuster deals on Black Friday (or Thanksgiving Day, at this point), they will show up to scramble for a bargain. Retailers have developed a knack for driving sales during those wee shopping hours. They’re not so good at keeping the peace.

Black Friday fighting in the aisles of Walmart has become just as much of a tradition as anything else related to to the day. So much so that the hashtag #WalmartFights has spawned. NBC News even had a wrap up of that madness last year, noting that social media broadcasts and amplifies incidents of bad behavior. (And here’s our take, with more video.)

“The impression that each and every store contained some sort of Black Friday melee ran contrary to the ‘record drop’ in this year’s reported Black Friday “incidents,”— less than 10 kerfuffles required police intervention,” a Walmart spokesperson, Brooke Buchanan told NBC last December.

Let’s try and get it down to zero folks.

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Oprah’s ‘Favorite Things’ an Aspirational Mash Up of Stuff You Want But Don’t Need

oprahOprah‘s list of “favorite things” is here! And thank goodness gas prices have hit rock bottom and stock markets are sky high because if you wanted to buy all the stuff on this list, it’ll cost you $13,054.

So what’s on the list this year, you ask? Oprah’s book, What I Know For Sure ($25). A ginger beauty and wellness collection ($265). A copper tray and mug set ($365). Dog beds (up to $710).

Taken individually, there are plenty of things to indulge in that don’t cost a ton. But taken together, the list is essentially a sketch of what Oprah wants you to imagine her life is like. She writes letters with fancy ballpoint pens. (Damn your email!) She has tea parties. She cozies up with a good book and puts on foot cream and drinks nice tea. Meanwhile, you’re sitting on the couch in holey pajamas and chipped polish drinking a magnum of cheap pinot grigio and watching Sleepy Hollow. (That doesn’t sound too bad actually.)

The list, like Oprah herself, is an aspirational construct that draws in loyal fans and pushes product.

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Lowe’s Takes Customer Service in a Digital Direction With Robot Associate

Lowe’s will be testing out robot associates during the holiday season at two of its San Jose, CA stores called Orchard Supply Hardware. So if a big metal object rolls up next to you and starts talking, it’s just OSHbot, ready and willing to serve.

As cool as this might seem on its face there’s ultimately the question of how this will impact the quality of customer service. One could argue that machines with their fancy programming and ability to work and work without the need for breaks or daydreams or 10-minute dance parties are superior to plain old humans. But with so much digitization happening, there’s also something to be said for the human touch.

This issue of the inherent quality of flesh-and-blood customer service is where robot substitutes could falter.

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McDonald’s Will Launch a Weird New Tagline Next Year

McDonald’s just reported some pretty bad numbers — a drop of 4.1 percent in same-store sales — so, of course, they want to turn things around. Faced with changing tastes and the behemoth known as Chipotle, McD’s is looking to help turn things around with its marketing.

Chipotle touts the conditions under which their food is raised, winning a Cannes PR award this year for its campaign promoting its sustainable methods. On top of that, hello, burrito bowls. People love burrito bowls so much, it’s actually having an impact on many fast-food dining menus.

In response, we’ve already seen a McDonald’s ad in which people on the street ask about pink slime and what’s in the McNuggets. On their YouTube page, McD’s has a video showing where their food comes from and how it’s made.

Next up will be a new tagline in some new ads. The company is adding to its “I’m Lovin’ It” motto with “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’,” which makes no sense.

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Jimmy Iovine Is Pretty Happy About How This NFL Ban on Beats Headphones Is Playing Out

jimmy iovineJimmy Iovine, co-founder of the company behind Beats by Dre headphones, spoke about the NFL ban on his product during a recent talk at the University of Southern California. And one might describe the tone of his comments as giddy.

“We didn’t do anything, and now the players are going out and putting black tape on our logo,” he said. “It’s like, I can’t believe I’m this lucky. ”

Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers player who was fined $10,000 for showing up to a press event wearing Beats headphones, showed up to a subsequent press event with hot pink Beats headphones (perhaps the same ones) but with tape over the logo. (Business Insider has a pic.)

All of it has made Beats even more conspicuous rather than less so. And Iovine had even more to say.

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