From Marketing Fog To Mommy Blog

If anyone out there still doubts the power of the mommy blogger to influence purchases among the mom market, consider these stats:

 

There are 35.3 million moms online with children under the age of 18 -- a number projected to reach 36.9 million by 2012.

  • There are only about 40 million moms, total, with children that age, across the U.S.
  • Of the 36.2 million women actively participating in the blogosphere weekly as either publishers or readers, 46% -- or just over 16.5 million -- have children at home.
  • 67% of moms online look for help making a purchasing decision.
  • 78% of moms who blog review products.

Just as significant as the number of moms writing blogs, reading blogs and looking for advice on what to buy for their children is the psychology behind that last category. Studies show that moms are increasingly losing trust in established "experts" -- institutions and the like -- while trusting more in what other moms have to say. That trust extends beyond members of their family or immediate community to other moms -- strangers -- they meet online.

They feel that other moms who are going through the same experiences that they themselves are, at the same time, are the only ones truly qualified to comment on what to do -- and, more importantly to mom-targeted companies, what to buy. Moms also feel that, unlike companies that want to promote their own brands, other moms have no motivation to be anything other than truthful. As a result, mom bloggers become the "go to" group, the ones other moms rely on, the opinion leaders and the purchase influencers.

"It is clear that how moms communicate and whom they trust is fundamentally changing," noted "Digital Mom," a report recently published by Razorfish and CafeMom. "Understanding how to leverage emerging technologies, and the growing social influence of the digital moms, is a critical step for marketers in a changing media landscape."

In other words, marketers: Bloggers can promote products or services more credibly than companies can on their own.

This is particularly true for reaching Gen Y moms -- women in their 20s and early 30s -- the prime target for most manufacturers of products for young children.

"Gen Y moms are much more attached to media that connects them to other moms online -- such as Internet communities, blogs and video-sharing sites -- suggesting they prefer to rely on peers rather than experts to help them parent," according to a 2008 report by from The Parenting Group and NewMediaMetrics. "The top three activities of Gen Y moms (online) are reading blogs, participating in an online community of moms, and creating and sharing their own video."

Meanwhile, the top three online activities for Gen X moms (generally, in their mid-30s through 40s) are using a photo site, rating and reviewing products, and shopping.

New vs. Old

Where, one might ask, do traditional media fall on the popularity and influence ladder in comparison? Largely, by the wayside:

  • Moms spend more time online than watching TV.
  • Newspaper circulation has dropped at least 30% since 1985 -- and that's a figure from well before the latest developments: Last month, The Rocky Mountain News published its last issue, while the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News filed for bankruptcy. Also of note: Only 27% of young women read a daily newspaper.
  • National parenting magazines are also declining. Child magazine vanished a few years ago, and Disney Publishing's Wondertime recently announced that it was closing down. Remaining parenting publications, meanwhile, are running their own blogs.

Personally, I have no interest in devaluing traditional media -- as a former journalist and the spouse of a current one, I long for The New York Times over morning coffee and a glossy magazine to relax with on an airplane. But I am not Gen Y -- and I am realistic.

Word of mouth -- rather than newsprint -- is extraordinarily impactful among moms, and the musings of mommy bloggers fall within that umbrella. Marketers who remain skeptical about the influence of mom bloggers must acknowledge that adhering exclusively to the old ways just won't work.

Companies must recognize that their own lack of understanding of how to work with this increasingly influential channel can no longer serve as an excuse not to. This is especially true in this economy, when it's more critical than ever to reach moms where they live, which -- no doubt about it -- is in the blogosphere.

Tags: blogging, moms
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17 comments about "From Marketing Fog To Mommy Blog ".
  1. Mandy Vavrinak from Crossroads Communications, LLC , March 4, 2009 at 1:14 p.m.

    I think this is spot on. I am 36, just out of the Gen Y category, and a mom of nearly 4 (due in May). I spend a great deal of time online, I do read blogs, I do look for reviews, and I rarely watch the television news or read the paper other than for business purposes. Most of my news I get online. Companies who still think a TV ad alone will reach 26-yr-old Moms are living in the past... a distant past, at that.

  2. Gustavo Foldvari from Draftfcb , March 4, 2009 at 1:15 p.m.

    Can you tell your stats' source?
    Thanks
    GF

  3. Evan W from Experience Advertising, Inc. , March 4, 2009 at 1:18 p.m.

    Very cool you have your own newsletter now! I love the Mommy bloggers...

  4. Lisa Bradner from Forrester Research , March 4, 2009 at 1:22 p.m.

    Great stuff but I'm struggling with the stats--if I read this right it says 90% of ALL moms in the US blog or read blogs weekly (36 million of the 40 million moms in America) --seems very, very high and doesn't fit our numbers and others I've seen. Agree with premise and approach but would love some clarity on the stats as well.

    Thanks,

  5. Daniel Flamberg from Morgan Rothschild & Company , March 4, 2009 at 1:37 p.m.

    Your premise is a given. There are millions of Mommy blogs and even Mommy blog networks. The questions you don't address are: a) which ones have sufficient reach? b) what are our micro-targeting options? c) how can we distinguish between mom's who rant and mom's who influence? and d) how can we assess reliability and scalability for our clients?

  6. Marci Gehrke from The Roberts Group , March 4, 2009 at 2 p.m.

    I think this is beneficial information but I also think there is big difference between working moms and stay-at-home moms and how they spend thier time online. It might be a useful topic for a future issue.

  7. Ed Vasquez from ejv communications , March 4, 2009 at 4:03 p.m.

    We've been working with www.ourcutebabies.com, a family-friendly "myspace for moms" site. We have found that despite women having considerable clout in the day to day buying decisions that are made, the ad money targeting this group still lags. We can argue about the reasons why. There are many, ranging from how to reach this group in a cost effective way to the attitudes from the "good old boys" still managing and dictating ad budgets.

    But think about who has the final say generally speaking when it comes to buying a house, a car, furniture, sending the kids to a private school, etc... If the mom does not agree it does not usually happen. There is not only power in numbers, there is power in influencing the purchase.

  8. Brian Costello from RedPlum.com / Valassis Interactive , March 4, 2009 at 5:32 p.m.

    At our site, RedPlum.com, we have seen a significant uptake in interest from "mommy blogs" in regard to accessing out value oriented content (i.e. coupons and deals). Once we started giving this content out in the form of syndication, we saw a very big uptick in site traffic. These folks are the #1 demographic for coupons and deals and the move from traditional print consumption to finding these deals (like a coupon to a local pizza place) is accelerating.

  9. Maria Bailey from BSM Media , March 5, 2009 at 9:44 a.m.

    Gustavo, I'm happy to source many of these stats for you, www.bsmmedia.com and www.marketingtomoms.com.

    As the author of "Mom 3.0: Marketing with Moms by Leveraging Social Media and New Technologies", I warn marketers that connecting with moms requires an integrated marketing plan. Only 40% of moms are blogging (either reading or writing them) which means there's another 60% of moms who you need to reach via influencer programs, grassroot events and other initatitves. For additional research www.marketingtomoms.com and don't forget to join the Marketing to Moms Coalition www.marketingtomomscoalition.org

  10. Debbie Glade , March 5, 2009 at 9:53 a.m.

    As an author and publisher of a children's picture book, other Mommy bloggers have been extremely inluential in the success of my book and CD, The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly Costa Rica. A great review from an influential Mommy Blogger leads to a lot of traffic and buzz. But the best part and nicest surprise of being an author/blogger is developing excellent partnerships and friendships with moms all over the country. We are all connected, and we help each other out. The influence of the written blog entry, combined with word-of-mouth promoting among mothers is more powerful than you can imagine.

  11. Kevin Burke from WholesomeOne , March 5, 2009 at 10:08 a.m.

    People don't trust advertising. According to the highly respected consumer research group, Yankelovich, 76% of people think companies DON'T tell the truth in ads. And thus, they are turning more and more to each other for knowledge. Moms who blog are leading this movement. They are respected because what they writing is honest, credible, relevant, and often entertaining.

  12. Jennifer James from Mom Bloggers Club , March 5, 2009 at 6:08 p.m.

    Daniel -- You asked how you can distinguish between moms who rant and moms who influence. The best way is to get in the trenches with us, notice trends, take note of the conversations we're having, and start identifying those who you should approach. It takes a little more effort because numbers can't tell you everything about a mom blogger. Becoming a part of the community is the best way to tell the difference.

  13. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , March 8, 2009 at 9:42 a.m.

    Lisa - you said:

    ... if I read this right it says 90% of ALL moms in the US blog or read blogs weekly (36 million of the 40 million moms in America) --seems very, very high

    The right stat is 41% (16.5 million /40 million) which seems to match your statistics...no?

    I agree with several who have commented about understanding reach and which bloggers are key influencers versus merely entertaining.

    I also think we need a conversation about impressions - and how a blogger outreach strategy can tie into a social media strategy to maximize impressions.

    Reaching Moms online goes beyond just bloggers!

    Stephanie and I have been working together to develop a strategic social media program that uses current and emerging social media networks to work in synergy with blogger outreach programs - many more moms are users of social media than are bloggers - how we use the most popular ones to deliver brand messages will be key to developing an effective IMC campaign in the coming years.

  14. Stephanie Azzarone from CHILD'S PLAY COMMUNICATIONS , March 8, 2009 at 8:48 p.m.

    How great to get this degree of response to my article on mommy bloggers– thank you! Let me address the several questions about stats. I have no doubt that one can find different figures from different researchers, but I’m happy to share my own sources with you.
    • “There are 35.3 million moms online with children under the age of 18 -- a number projected to reach 36.9 million by 2012.” This is from e Marketer, 2008.
    • “There are only about 40 million moms, total, with children that age, across the U.S.” This figure results from a call I made personally to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008. I had long questioned the relevance of the figure that marketers consistently used to describe the size of the U.S. mom market – 75 million. In fact, that figure refers to ALL American moms --- including 80-year-old mothers of 50-year-olds, which are not the target demographic for my clients. Thus the 40 million, which is the approximate number of mothers with children at home.
    • “Of the 36.2 million women actively participating in the blogosphere weekly as either publishers or readers, 46% have children at home.” From the BlogHer Compass Partners Report, presented at the 2008 BlogHer Business Conference, which I attended. The “just over 16.5 million” moms reference is our conservatively rounded-off math for 46% of 36.2 million.
    • “67% of moms online look for help making a purchasing decision.” From Opinion Research Corporation for America Online, 2004. Given the age of that research, I would suspect this is a conservative number for today, and would be interested in learning about any creditable updates.
    • 78% of moms who blog review products. From Mom Central Consulting, 2008

    A note to Lisa from Forrester Research who understood the article to say that 36 million of 40 million moms blog – no; what I actually said was that 16.5 million moms read or post blogs, and that 36.2 million women total – with and without children – take part in the blogosphere.

  15. Athena Menoudakos from Bebalee Corporation , March 18, 2009 at 9:54 p.m.

    As Mom-inventor/owner of Bebalee Corp- home of the SNACKER CATCHER, I can truly say that moms-lead the way. After selling my product for only 8 months, I see how much impact a mother has on family, buying, & final decisions. My product is one that solve a problem for babies BUT for moms too. After a few months of this product on the market, I can truly say that it all comes down to a moms decision. Between mommies blogging & calling me, I can say that I really see this to be true.

  16. Monnick Antilla from Beezy Bee Child Care Center , July 14, 2009 at 8:19 p.m.

    I am an owner of a child care center and a mommy of three. Trust me when I say that Mommies do look towards other mommies on, not only advice on motherhood but, advice on products they may use, this starts to occur as soon as a mommy knows that she has a bun in the oven. I have been feeling like a personal marketer for many companies for the past 12 years that I have been in the realm of mommy hood!

    Mommies though, in my opinion, are more cautious in purchasing of items compared to five years ago. They are making sure that they will get every pennies worth. One of many examples: I have a client who actually asked my opinion on which type of light up crib toy she should purchase for her 4 month old, she even went as far as emailing me her options. She feels in my case that experience matters. Both items where under $30.

    It is wise that companies look towards mommies on the web to market, blogging is the "new thing" that is being talked about on the play ground, I have actually my self told other mommies to "Google it" when they have a question about a product! Another example: a mother of a two year old who was ready to purchase a big girl bed, asked if she should buy the new Dora toddler bed or jump to a twin bed? My response "Google it". I honestly was just to tired to respond after a 12 hour day with 14 babies!

    http://mommywarriors-monnick.blogspot.com/

  17. Esti Berkowitz from Primetime Parenting , January 24, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.

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