Mark Penn’s Microtrends wins WPP Atticus Award

Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller CEO Mark Penn has been named the winner of the Consumer Insights category in the 2010 Atticus Awards for his book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, PSB announced today.

Open exclusively to professionals working in WPP companies, the annual Atticus Awards honor original published thinking in communications services. Winners receive a cash prize, and many recognized publications are reprinted or excerpted in WPP’s annual Atticus Journal, which will be released in November 2010.

The Awards were judged by Simon Clift, consultant and former chief marketing officer at Unilever; Rik Kirkland, principal and director at McKinsey & Company, and Judie Lannon, editor of Market Leader. Other entrants in this year’s Consumer Insights category included publications from WPP agencies Millward Brown, MVI, and Mindshare.

“I’m deeply honored that Microtrends has been recognized as one of the outstanding examples of WPP’s thought leadership from the last year,’ said Penn. “At Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller, much of our work is predicated on the belief that companies must understand and respond appropriately to small shifts in behavior – as harbingers of tomorrow’s big shifts. We are gratified that WPP and the judges of the Atticus Awards have endorsed that perspective.”

The Atticus Awards specifically recognized the paperback edition of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, by Mark Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne, published in June 2009 by Twelve.

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The Times (UK): Men: The Second Sex?

Men: The Second Sex?
It’s increasingly a woman’s world, as boys and men lose ground at school and at work. A chance to redefine manhood?

…These days, outside top City circles, being a man does not signify first-class status. In much of modern life, maleness means coming second…

…Mark Penn, the author of the influential book Microtrends, has highlighted the phenomenon of what he calls Guys Left Behind: “Sure, most leadership positions are still filled by men, and there are lots of super-achieving men out there,” he says. “But on the other end of the spectrum, serious problems are brewing for the future of men.” According to statistics, he says, men are 15 times more likely to go to prison, more likely to be obese, alcoholic, unemployed and die earlier.

“When it comes to earning what you learn, guys aren’t learning what they need to — women are getting almost 60% of the college degrees conferred… This college gap could be the one that spells the most serious problem for guys, and over time can be at the root of a lot of increased frustration and even crime… The lifestyles and habits that worked so well for men in more dangerous times may not be working so well for them in the information age. In every age from the caves right on through the second world war, it worked for men to take big risks, have short attention spans and be driven by ego. These days, those things are more likely to get in the way of doing a good job.”…

Business Week: Pinning Down the New American Shopper by Mark Penn

Business Week

Pinning Down the New American Shopper
It’s about information, value, and being green: Today’s discriminating consumers are careful about how they spend, and they’re concerned about the planet

By Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne

The consumer that marketers have had a lot of fun selling to over the last few decades is disappearing. Those were the days—when a snappy jingle did the trick, a celebrity carried the day, and a higher price signaled higher quality.

The old obsession with personality, emotion, and overarching experience is giving way to the green eyeshades of facts, research, and greater rationality. Not all consumers are changing, but enough are to start altering the way we market to and treat consumers. Originality and zaniness will still have their place, but marketers will have to deliver some cold, hard messages at the same time.

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Baltimore Jewish Times: Non-Jewish “Pro-Semites” Pepper JDate

Baltimore Jewish Times

Rima Adler had exchanged a couple of messages with a guy on JDate, but hadn’t yet read his profile. When she finally did, she saw something she wasn’t expecting—he wasn’t Jewish; it said so in capital letters.

The 34-year-old District resident quickly wrote back to tell the man that she wasn’t interested in dating someone who wasn’t Jewish, and he told her he understood.

Still, she was surprised. “I guess my assumption was that the reason to go there was because … everybody [would] be Jewish,” she said.

Increasingly, that’s not necessarily the case at the Jewish online dating site.

A new book, Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, by Mark Penn with Kinney Zalesne, who both live in the District, states “nearly 11 percent” of JDate’s members are non-Jewish.

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The Leonard Lopate Show: Mark Penn discusses Microtrends, now available in paperback

Mark Penn was on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show discussing the ever-splintering subsets or “microtrends” that Americans identify with, including the new microtrends that have emerged since the financial downturn.

Listen to the show below or at

The New York Times Economix Blog: Mark Penn on ‘Guys Left Behind’

Mark Penn on ‘Guys Left Behind’

Mark Penn, the pollster and former adviser to Hillary and Bill Clinton, adds some good thoughts to a subject that has long interested us here at Economix. He writes in The Wall Street Journal:

Sure, most leadership positions are still filled by men, and there are lots of super-achieving men out there. But on the other end of the spectrum, serious problems are brewing for the future of men. You see it in statistic after statistic. Some of these have been true for a long time — others are new and a growing part of the times. But while women have shown some dramatic improvements in health, education and income, men at the bottom end are facing problems that are as bad as ever — and in some areas getting worse….

Mr. Penn cites a range of statistics, on employment, college graduation, alcoholism, drug use, heart disease, car accidents and life expectancy.

The Times: Women are victors in ‘mancession’

Women are victors in ‘mancession’
Gender roles are being rewritten in America as men bear the brunt of job losses

THE economic crisis is sweeping away men’s jobs at a faster rate than those of women in America, heralding the onset of a so-called “mancession”.

New unemployment figures have revealed the biggest gap in jobless rates between men and women for more than half a century. The shifting pattern is redefining gender roles and challenging the status of men as family breadwinners.

…Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist during her presidential election campaign, calls the new generation of men “guys left behind”. The ultra-wealthy multi-millionaires still tend to be men, but the pay gap is closing for people in their twenties. Men are also finding themselves in greater numbers at the bottom of the heap.

“There is a statistically significant and growing group of guys who are just not going to make it,” Penn wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week.

Men, he pointed out, are outstripping women in all the “downers” in life – there are more felons, more alcoholics, more drug addicts – and they generally die first. While Penn’s own patron, Clinton, failed to crack the White House glass ceiling, it was unthinkable for Barack Obama to appoint a male Supreme Court justice to replace David Souter – instead he went for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic nominee…

Forbes: The Latest On Microtrends, an interview with Mark Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller

The Latest On Microtrends: An interview with Mark Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller

Size matters. But perhaps not always the way we think it does. When politicians and marketers around the globe spend their resources trying to uncover the next big thing, they may be overlooking something even more valuable–the next “microtrend.” That term was coined by Mark J. Penn, chief executive officer of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and president of the polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, and author of the best-selling book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes…

Forbes spoke with Penn to find out about what some of the next microtrends might be.

Forbes: What exactly is a microtrend?

Penn: A microtrend is a small–but growing and passionate–group of people that is changing the face of society. A microtrend may never grow larger than 3 million people, or roughly 1% of the U.S. population, but those people have unmet needs that they are passionate about. And 3 million passionate people are by far enough to make or break a business, tip an election or trigger social change. So if businesses, politicians and others who would move society want to be on the leading edge, they need to pay attention to these small, growing, counterintuitive groups.

Why should we care about something that represents just 1% of the population?

When you hit that 1%, you can drive a tremendous amount of change. The top-selling car in America makes only about 400,000 sales. If you sell a couple of hundred thousand books, you have a best-seller. Consider that only about 3 million people gave money to President Obama’s campaign. That demonstrates the enormous impact that a small group acting on its passions can have. And that’s just in the U.S. Think about what happens if you sell to 1% of the Chinese population. Or to 1% of India. In these mass societies, and in our globalizing economy generally, 1% of the marketplace is an enormous opportunity.

Read the full article

DMA Point Magazine: The New American Shopper by Mark Penn: How Business Can Make the Most of the Current Economic Climate

DMA Point Magazine: The New American Shopper by Mark Penn

Read The New American Shopper by Mark Penn and Kinney Zalesne, featured in the Direct Marketing Association’s Point Magazine (Spring 2009)

Mark Penn discusses Microtrends and politics with fellow alumni and editors at the annual Harvard Crimson lunch


Mark Penn recalled his days at the Harvard Crimson newspaper, and spoke about current microtrends and macrotrends on the rise, including the increased confidence in the political process and the media’s transition from print to screen. In communication, Mark also noted the power of television events to drive online action and the increased coverage of personality and psyche over policies and issues. Mark also took questions from the audience about the 2008 election, the strategies of the current administration and the Republican leadership.
Listen to the podcast now at the Audio Pod Chronicles

Read Mark’s articles from his days as City Editor of the Harvard Crimson