Mindset Matters

I love Facebook. I can post articles, keep tabs on my best friends from college and share long forgotten photos with former kindergarten classmates. Yet, while this type of connectedness appeals to the executive and friend in me -- it does little for me as a mom.

When I'm in mom mode, I'm looking for something more meaningful than chit-chat and funny reminders of moments past. I need advice, guidance and the connections you can only feel with someone who has experienced what you're going through, when you're going through it. Right here, right now. Mindset matters.

To better understand the social mindset of moms, here at BabyCenter we recently conducted a series of social surveys that revealed the vast difference in how moms engage in mom-centric communities versus mass social networks.

Moms visit parenting communities to learn from other moms.

21st-century moms rely on crowd-sourcing mom-to-mom wisdom. Eighty-seven percent of moms report having read information or advice posted by other moms on community, social networking or blog sites. Additionally, 48% of moms said they look to parenting communities to find other moms compared to less popular sources, including offline local mom groups (25%), school (19%), online local mom groups (16%), or mainstream social networking sites (16%).

Parenting social networks are the ultimate level playing field.

Within these communities, things like location, job, education, religion and political affiliation are somewhat inconsequential. What matters is their shared experiences based on commonalities like due date, child's birthday or perhaps the special needs of their child. So who do they trust? Seventy-two percent of moms surveyed said that sharing a similar experience and having children the same age are the two factors enabling them to trust other moms.

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Moms welcome communications with marketers in mom-centric social networks.

Early motherhood is a significant time for product testing and trial. It is a time when moms welcome new ideas, products and services that could potentially make their lives easier. Marketers should tap into the power of mom word of mouth. Our research with Keller Fay Group shows that pregnant and new moms have one-third more word-of-mouth conversations per day than women in general.

Moms average 109 word-of-mouth conversations per week about products, services and brands, most of which are positive and considered highly credible by other moms. We also found that 71% think companies should interact with them through our community. Additionally, 73% feel they find trustworthy information about products and services through online communities focused on their specific interests such as parenting -- more than any other type of media including magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and mass social networks.

Although social media provide significant opportunities for marketers to connect with moms, a recent survey from M2Moms revealed 60% of moms feel that marketers are ignoring their needs and 73% feel that advertisers don't really understand what it's like to be a mom.

Let's change that perception. Let's move beyond simply looking at where moms spend their time, and focus on what they are trying to accomplish at that moment. Right here, right now. Clearly, mindset really does matter.

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8 comments about "Mindset Matters ".
  1. Ruth Mckinnie braun from SuchASmartMom.com , May 13, 2009 at 2:38 p.m.

    Tina,
    You have made my day. I have a Web site for parents of school-age kids (http://suchasmartmom.com) and could not agree with you more.

    I was a reporter and editor for The San Diego Union-Tribune before leaving to start my site. I'm also a mom of two and a diehard PTA mom. Parents appreciate news and advice from other parents who share their experiences. I think this is particularly true for parents with older kids. Parents of middle- and high-schoolers are hungry for information.

    Thanks for your insight!

    Ruth McKinnie Braun
    SuchASmartMom.com

  2. Jon Keller from Channel M , May 13, 2009 at 2:50 p.m.

    Tina,

    I can understand and appreciate the online community as an effective way to reach Moms when the mindset is perfect. I would be curious to see what you and others think of this question: once Mom leaves the home and is out in the marketplace, what LOCATIONS would be most appropriate for her?

    There is a tremendous amount of messaging going on outside the home and some of it is specifically for Mom. From gas stations, to coffee shops, to doctor’s offices, and kid’s gyms, Mom is approached by a variety of brands. Which place(s) would seem "best" in terms of Mom's mindset?

    Thanks.

  3. Rebekah Cooksey from Moms Out Loud , May 13, 2009 at 3:08 p.m.

    Tina,
    I could not agree with you more! As a Mom of 2 young children, working in the consumer products industry, I felt the disconnect the industry had with Moms. I left and started my own business-a website, www.MomsOutLoud.com- which is a combination of local information/family event calendar for Dallas-Ft. Worth which also includes content written by Moms in blogs and researched articles. Moms tell us that they trust us, because we're Moms, too. Now that we have an established Moms community, we are working with marketers to help them understand how to best reach our Moms...because you're right - Moms don't feel like the marketers using traditional practices understand their needs.

  4. Jim Banister from SpectrumDNA, Inc. , May 13, 2009 at 5:14 p.m.

    Here, here, Tina. I'm not a mom, but am a dad who feels that "general social networks" don't service us in our normal hobbies, lifestyles and industries. The context of Facebook is "social networking." The context of BabyCenter is being a parent-- a substantially more targeted behavior.

    I have felt for some time that the "features" or "utilities" represented by the likes of Facebook ("social networking"), Twitter ("micro-blogging"), Flickr ("photo-sharing"), YouTube ("video sharing"), and all the other web mega-utilities will ultimately be subsumed and incorporated into niche and mega-niche social networks... (social niche-works?)... focused on an archetypal behavior-- like being a parent and BabyCenter. As it should be.

    In fact, I felt so strongly about this, I had my company create PlanetTagger, a location-based services engine that can be incorporated by any existing community to offer to their affinity group as a tool to enhance their "first lives" instead of getting them to build a "second life." For moms, it's a way to share information and content around locations, people and events. All geo-contextual, which is important for a parent. Schools, shopping, recreation, get-togethers, and even Amber alerts. Very cool. You may want to take a look: http://www.spectrumdna.com/?p=230

    You have great insights. I'll be blogging about your comments myself.

  5. Sal Tofano from Visionary Communications , May 13, 2009 at 10:48 p.m.

    Hi Tina,

    Hope you are well. I just wanted to commend you on the Mindset Matter article in Media Post.
    The social networking information and mom-centric marketing metrics were very insightful; a further testament to the brand power and level of engagement that BabyCenter offers moms and parents and advertisers.

    Best regards,

    Sal Tofano

  6. Barbie Shipley from E. W. Scripps Newspaper interactive , May 14, 2009 at 11:22 a.m.

    Tina,
    Great article appreciate the insight. I will take a little tiny bit of issue with the location inconsequential. In local mom sites, moms have the added benefit of connecting in real life, but also getting advice about important every day issues, like where to find good child care or a new pediatrician.
    I'm finding that the users of local mom online communities also visit national sites and are engaged fully in both.
    Barbie

  7. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , May 15, 2009 at 8:48 a.m.

    Tina,

    Great insightful article. I 've always thought of Babycenter as a leader in the niche community area - one that, as you point out will grow in the coming years.

    There is a huge opportunity for these specialized niche communities to thrive and advertisers should be thrilled as the very tight targeting allows them to maximize their ad spend.

    There are a number of high purchase influence/purchaser markets being underserved by new media - specialized communities, well done, fill that gap and provide a valuable advertising venue.

  8. Catherine Maino from Taboo Truths , May 21, 2009 at 10:42 p.m.

    Again, this shows that woman who are Mother's trust other woman...who are Mother's over "experts" who are not! There is nothing that replaces hands on experience. Learning from each other, social marketing/communication has opened our world to one on one connections! For Mother's with daughters in their late teens...connections and direction are even more dehydrated! That's my reason for Taboo Truths! Opening to share my thoughts and hearing yours!
    (new location...the8tabootruths.com)