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Key Findings May/June 2012

America’s Civility Problem Teenagers and Diabetes
Parents Using Facebook to Keep Watch B2B Marketing Budgets Rise
Interest in Pinterest Technology Marketers Focus on Lead Generation
Humor in Advertisements Social Media Rising as Traditional Media Falls
Print and Digital Magazine Readers U.S. Oil Imports Dropping
LGBT Consumers React to Corporate Policies Green Home Construction on Increase
Interest in Organic Foods Energy Efficiency Drives Savings
Prescription Medicine Spending

America’s Civility Problem

Almost two-thirds of Americans say that the country has a major problem: a lack of civility. Some 55% expect the problem to get worse over the next few years, up from 39% who thought so in 2010.

Americans say that politics (80%), pop culture (75%), the media (74%), the government (73%), the music industry (71%), and the general public sphere (70%) are the most uncivil environments.

Actions Americans Have Taken Because of Uncivil Behavior

Actions Americans Have Taken Because of Uncivil Behavior


Parents Using Facebook to Keep Watch

Almost one-half of parents of teenage children (47%) say they have used Facebook to keep track of or learn more about their teens’ friends. One-third (34%) look up the parents of their teen’s friends. The numbers also show that parents’ use of Facebook is the highest during their teens’ years, but drops off rapidly after their kids reach the age of 20.

Some 12% of parents check out their teens’ dates on Facebook, with iPhone owners (20%) being more likely to do this than other parents.

Parents’ Attitudes About Technology

graph depicting parents' attitudes about technology

Interest in Pinterest

Within the last couple of years, Pinterest has rocketed from about 4 million active users (2011) to over 8.3 million today. It’s now ranked as the third most popular social website, right behind Twitter and Facebook.

Over this period, user gender demographics also changed. In September of 2011, females accounted for 74% of users, male for 25%. As of March 2012, the ratio was 65% female and 35% male. In addition, the overall age range of users in the 35-54 range grew 5%.

The top lifestyle brands on Pinterest include Whole Foods,  Travel Channel, Better Homes & Gardens, West Elm and Martha Stewart   The top brands outside the lifestyle realm include Oberlin College, MLB and Wall Street Journal.

Humor in Advertisements

Men are more likely than women to respond positively to humor in advertisements. While women also enjoy humorous ads, they enjoy different aspects than men.

A 2011 study by Millward Brown shows that men are more likely to enjoy ads with humor, distinctive creative styles, and sexual imagery, while women are more likely to enjoy ads containing children or a “slice of life” story.

graph depicting aspects of ads men and women find enjoyable

Print and Digital Magazine Readers

More than 184 million U.S. adults read magazines in print or online each month. And, on average, each magazine reader reads 8.1 different magazines.

One-half (51%) of print magazine readers also read at least some digital magazine content. About 90% of online magazine readers also read them in print. Almost one-half of all magazine readers (89 million) say they read both print and digital forms.

Of those who read online magazines, 51% say they like using features not available in print such as clicking on links to find more information on a given topic. Some 36% say they have clicked on advertisements.

Magazine Reader Profiles

graph depicting profiles of magazine readers digital v. print

LGBT Consumers React to Corporate Policies

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered adults are most influenced in purchasing decisions by companies’ employee policies than advertising content.

While including gay/lesbian characters or storylines in ads can be persuasive, it has less effect than how the company acts as an employer and corporate citizen.

Almost one-quarter of LGBT adults (23%) have switched brands during the past year because they discovered products made by a competitor company that supports LGBT causes. In addition, 71% say they would remain loyal to a gay-friendly brand even if they found the same item at lower prices or with more convenience.

Factors that Make LGBT Adults More Likely to Consider Buying a Brand

graph: Factors that Make LGBT Adults More Likely to Consider a Brand

Interest in Organic Foods

Some 58% of American adults when given a choice, prefer to eat organic foods. Interest in organic foods decreases with age: organic food is preferred by 63% of those younger than 35, 61% of those ages 35-64 and 45% of those age 65 and older.

Why Americans Prefer Organic Foods (among those who do)

graph: why-americans-prefer-organic-foods


Prescription Medicine Spending

According to IMS Health, spending on prescription drugs rose only 0.5% between 2010 and 2011 to reach $320 billion. This is despite the fact that 2011 saw the highest number of new medicine introductions in the last 10 years.
One reason for the modest spending growth includes a higher use of generics: During 2011, generic spending grew by $5.6 billion, reaching 80% of dispensed prescriptions. However, the main reason was a drop in use of prescription drugs by seniors, who are typically the largest consumers of the products. Patients ages 65 and older cut their use of prescription drugs by 3.1%. Medicines for controlling blood pressure experienced the greatest drop.
The study showed this decline accompanied a decrease in physician office visits and non-emergency room hospital admissions, which is where those drugs are most often prescribed.

Drug spending did rise for young adults ages 19 to 25. This corresponded with an Affordable Care Act provision allowing them to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26 years old.

Teenagers and Diabetes

Nearly one in four American adolescents (23%) may be on the verge of developing Type 2 diabetes or could already be diabetic. This reflects a significant jump in the disease’s prevalence among children ages 12 to 19 since a decade ago, when it was estimated that only 9% were at risk for or had diabetes.

Two-thirds of U.S. adolescents (ages 12 to 19) are of normal weight, 16% are overweight, and another 18% are obese; these percentages stayed fairly constant between 1999 and 2008. Factors contributing to weight issues include the rising use of computer and mobile devices making youth more inactive plus the growth of minority ethnic and racial groups who have higher rates of diagnosed diabetes than whites.

Another troubling development is the recent finding that diabetes progresses more quickly in children than in adults and is more difficult to treat.

B2B Marketing Budgets Rise

According to a recent study by Forrester Research, business to business marketers will increase their marketing budgets by an average of 6.8% in 2012. Some 27.0% of marketers will boost their budgets between 10% and 19%; 20.0% will expand budgets between 5% and 9%; and 18.0% will increase them between 1% and 4%. Sixteen percent of business to business marketers will enhance budgets by more than 20%. The remaining 19.0% say they will decrease marketing budgets.
The industries with the highest marketing budget ratio (marketing budget as a percent of total revenue) are finance and insurance (3.0%), high-tech products (2.7%), pharmaceutical and medical (2.6%) and high-tech services (2.6%).

Technology Marketers Focus on Lead Generation

The top priority for technology marketers is improving lead generation, according to IDC’s 2012 Tech Marketing Barometer Study. (The study was based on an online survey of senior marketers at high-tech companies including industry leaders such as Cisco Systems, Dell, HP and Intel.)

The marketers’ other top priorities include building more brand awareness and improving marketing processes. Lead scoring was also explored in this survey, which is defined as the qualification of lead readiness using quantitative criteria.

Only 10% said they don’t score leads. One-third have begun scoring leads but don’t do this consistently. One-third score leads frequently based on prospect interactions such as opening email or viewing webcasts. Some 16% have been scoring leads consistently for more than 18 months and are able to link interactions to buyer intent, while only 8% have been scoring leads for many years based on customer knowledge and buyer readiness.

When it comes to nurturing leads, 10% of respondents said they don’t do this at all. About 22% said they have begun to “remarket” to leads, however all customers receive the same offers. Thirteen percent said they nurture leads regularly using multistep campaigns but send the same offers to everyone. One-third regularly nurtures leads using email and Web-based, multistep campaigns, and sometimes tailors content depending on the prospect. Some 22% regularly nurture leads via more than email and Web-based multistep campaigns, and the strategies are tied to stages of a buyer’s journey.

Social Media Rising as Traditional Media Falls

A new study by BtoB shows 32% of marketers as “very” or “fully” engaged in marketing through social channels, compared to 21% in 2011. This study also projects that in 2013, about 53% of marketers will be hugely engaged in social media marketing, with 97% of all marketers using social media to some degree.

Marketers say that LinkedIn (83%), Twitter (80%) and Facebook (79%) are their main channels, in addition to YouTube (60%) and blogging (50%). However, when asked to name their most important channels, blogging jumped to second (behind LinkedIn).

The study found that almost three-quarters of marketers are reallocating as much as 10% of their budget for traditional media to the social efforts. Some 56% say they will be moving marketing dollars from paid search to social.

On the other hand, a significant number of marketers just aren’t sold on social media marketing: 46% of marketers surveyed in 2011 considered the channel not worth pursuing, as do 35% in 2012.

U.S. Oil Imports Dropping

The United States has been a net oil importer since the middle of the 19th century. It reached a peak in 2005 when daily oil consumption was about 21 million barrels (25% of global oil demand). More than two-thirds (14 million barrels) of that was imported.

Since 2005, U.S. oil consumption has dropped about three million barrels a day as consumers reduced their gasoline use by driving shorter distances. The average distance traveled per year peaked in 2003 at 12,500 miles; this is projected to fall to 11,600 miles a year by 2020.

Studies show that oil imports fell from about 14 million per day (2005) to 9.8 million (2011) and are projected to drop to 4.5 million a day (25% of oil demand) by 2015. By the year 2020, some projections indicate the U.S. would not need to import any foreign oil.

Green Home Construction on Increase

According to the SmartMarket report by McGraw-Hill Construction, more than 80% of builders say energy-efficient features are now widespread in new homes. Two-thirds of builders and remodelers say customers request green homes to lower their utility bills – which is the reason cited more than twice as often as any other factor.

The green-homes share of the construction market (17% in 2011) is expected to jump to between 29% and 38% by 2016. Consumers see green homes as not only saving them money but also having a higher quality in terms of durability and air quality.
Nearly all high-volume builders (95%) are now including features to improve air quality.

Energy Efficiency Drives Savings

The present efficiency standards set for appliances, lighting and other equipment is projected to save the U.S. $1.1. trillion by 2035 and to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

The savings are from a combination of standard updates plus first-time standards for items like computers, TV set-top boxes and street lights.

The Environment America Research & Policy Center released a recent study showing that more energy efficient buildings would likely save Americans families $450 per year in utility bills and reduce global warming pollution from buildings by 30%, which is the equivalent of removing 320 million cars from the road.

The report indicates a typical household will save about $10,000 between 2010 and 2025 just by purchasing products compliant with minimum standards. Although efficient products often cost more to purchase, they will normally pay for themselves within a few years in the form of reduced utility costs.

The report also showed that current standards cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 200 million metric tons in 2010, an amount expected to jump to 470 million metric tons by 2035 (roughly the output of 120 coal-fired power plants).


  • Some 38% of college students claim they can’t go more than 10 minutes without checking their smartphone, tablet, or other technology device of choice. (Couresmart; phone 650-295-3830)
  • More than one-half (55%) of U.S. married couples have been married for at least 15 years. (US census bureau)
  • Three in 10 men (31%) say they do the majority of household cleaning at home, up from 17% in 2006.   (

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