The New CEOs, 'Chief Everything Officers,' Call The Shots At Home
The report "Chief Everything Officer, Head of the Modern Family Household" finds that "CEOs" are more organized and technologically inclined and better at multi-tasking and taking advantage of flextime work arrangements than other parents. For example, 43 percent of "CEOs" say they are great at being organized versus just 16 percent of other parents; 44 percent use Web sites featuring household tips versus 36 percent of other percents; 62 percent describe themselves as excellent multi-taskers compared to 33 percent of other parents; and 72 percent use flextime arrangements to balance work and family commitments, compared to 58 percent of other parents.
In terms of purchase decisions, 59 percent of "CEOs" are more likely to make decisions about which groceries to buy versus 37 percent of non-CEO parents. Interestingly, people who have "CEO" characteristics are also more likely to be consulted by their friends or family members for advice on raising children (76 percent versus 65 percent) and managing finances (51 percent versus 35 percent) than non-CEO parents, making them influentials among their peer and family groups.
AOL was to present the survey research today in New York at an event honoring Maria Shriver, journalist, best-selling author, and First Lady of California. Shriver will receive AOL's first Chief Everything Officer Award in recognition of her efforts to cast light on the issue of work and family balance. The event will feature panelists Jean Chatzky, editor-at-large, Money magazine and AOL's Money Coach; Paul Bennett, head of the global consumer experience design practice at IDEO; Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author; and Deborah Roberts, ABC News correspondent. Today's research marks the first in a series of studies via AOL's Insights Series. Tina Sharkey, AOL's senior vice president, life management and community, will moderate a discussion.
AOL intends to present original research under the Insights banner once a quarter on key audience segments. "Each of these will be a primary research study that we field that focuses on major AOL audiences," said David Lebow, executive vice president-general manager, AOL Media Networks. Lebow said AOL will most likely field multicultural research focusing on the African-American market, kids and teens, and 18- to-34-year-olds. Several months ago, AOL released research on Hispanics' use of online media.
AOL hopes to use the findings from the "CEO" research as a jumping-off point for crafting appropriate broadband advertising packages for key marketers. The need to conduct original research grew out of a need to explain the value of AOL's audiences to advertisers and agencies, Lebow explained. "Ultimately, what we have is audiences, and as AOL became so big, it became one service for everyone. Our advertisers almost didn't understand all of the discrete audiences within AOL," he continued. "We have teens, family managers; we were everybody. But we said we really wanted to focus on the audiences and what they do online. We wanted to focus on where advertisers can find them online."
One of AOL's largest groups is something the company has referred to as "family managers"--who may or may not be working outside the home. Traditional media properties, Lebow said, have typically focused on working women; AOL decided to zero in on a broader demographic; thus, "Chief Everything Officers."
Among the survey's findings:
*CEOs are more likely than other parents to assume various household roles, such as family doctor (71 percent), therapist (53 percent); and disciplinarian (69 percent).
*CEOs are decision makers and are more likely than other parents to make decisions about which phone services to use (56 percent versus 32 percent), and notably, Internet service providers (49 percent versus 28 percent).
*CEOs in AOL's research are deeply mainstream. They have an average age of 38 and are members of dual-income families with median household incomes of $47,600. The survey finds that 73 percent are married, and 74 percent are employed.
"The survey confirmed something we already knew, which is how busy these people are," Lebow said, adding: "They need information, to get their bills paid, weather forecasts, whatever, and they need it on demand. They don't have time to wait." Lebow said that CEOs' lifestyle lends itself to "deep integration online." He also referred to the group as being at the "front-end of habit-forming [behavior] ... they're early adopters [in terms of] how they use media and how they juggle multiple roles."
AOL, which is looking to amass millions of eyeballs to its programming on the AOL for Broadband service, as well as its Web properties, is working hard to attract marketers to broadband video advertising. The CEO research is helpful, Lebow said, in shedding some light on consumers' online behavior. "What I get from this study is--what is the sort of programming we should attach that advertising to? Is it online bill paying, online recipes, and meal planning?" he added.
Lebow used the example of the Kitchen Assistant on AOL, sponsored by Kraft. "That's the quintessential programming because it combines search functionality with the world's greatest recipe database from Cooking Light," Lebow explained. Currently, Kraft is using a rich media ad unit with its sponsorship, rather than pre-roll video.
More than half of AOL's 24 million members are women, many of whom AOL says are looking to manage their daily responsibilities while also staying connected to friends and family. "These findings help us with programming experiences--they helped us pinpoint CEOs' online behaviors. We now have a clear path where the audience is driving content and programming," Lebow said.
The study was conducted via telephone interviews using a nationally representative sample of 704 U.S. adults, including an overlay of 328 parents with a child in their household. Overall, the findings were based on 1,032 interviews, 550 of which were interviews with parents.