Beyond The Mommy Blogger

A lot has been written about "mommy bloggers" -- a term, by the way, that most moms who blog dislike. Marketers clamor to sites with trips, product samples and incentives by the thousands. Rightfully so, marketers recognize the powerful influence these women have on their peers. It is a 180-degree move in the right direction and a long way from where companies were when Marketing to Moms was published a decade ago.

However, there is risk involved in extremes, and focusing too narrowly on mom bloggers as your moms strategy can be dangerous. Before I go any further, I want to say that I believe wholeheartedly in the power of mom bloggers. In fact, I proudly count myself among the population of mom bloggers. But beyond being a blogger, I am a mom Vlogger, a Mom Tweeple, a Mom Webmaster, and a Mom Podcaster.

Successful marketing in any segment of consumers requires an integrated approach of delivering relevant messages through multiple channels of communication. It is no different in the mom market. Marketers solely focusing their efforts on mom bloggers not only execute a partial marketing plan, but also miss two-thirds of the overall U.S. mom market.

Consider the numbers. Respected social media groups estimate between 23 million and 26 million moms are in the blogosphere. Sounds like a huge group; however, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 83 million moms in our country. This means that only about one-third of all U.S. moms participate in blogging. If marketers are speaking to mothers only via bloggers, they are leaving two-thirds of their target audience untouched. To be successful, marketers must utilize a variety of channels to create a meaningful dialogue with mothers:

1. Video and Vlogging: According to BSM Media research, 90% of mothers have watched an online video in the past week. Yahoo says it's even higher. Moms visiting Newbaby.com, www.newbaby.com, a YouTube for moms, view 11-15 videos per session and they currently have over 500 mom Vloggers. Video is fun, and a mom can watch a three-minute solution-based video while cooking chicken tenders. Brand videos don't have to be fancy. They can even be B roll. Simply upload it to one of many mom video sites, or while you are sending product to bloggers, look for mom bloggers who do video.

2. In-Home Parties: Moms love to socialize and share. In-home parties or mom mixers are a great way to put your brand in the conversation. Moms invite their peers to share in themed gatherings that include product samples and fun activities. We've found that 80% of the moms who attend will tell three to five other moms about the sponsor brand. Another 10% will tell five to ten other mothers. That's powerful word of mouth at work.

3. Radio and Podcasts: There is no other communication medium that keeps up with the pace of mothers better than radio. Moms spend up to 75 minutes a day in their cars with radio. Podcasting takes it even one step further because it allows moms to enjoy selected programs as they push strollers or shop for groceries. Producing a podcast allows a company to connect with moms on iTunes or other podcast directories. If you aren't into broadcasting your own branded show, there are plenty of great Mom shows out there to sponsor.

Today's mothers are carrying on hundreds of conversations a day and receiving information from numerous sources along the way. As a marketer, it's important to establish a meaningful dialogue with your consumer through multiple channels -- in blogs but also in their homes, in their cars and even face-to-face.

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7 comments about "Beyond The Mommy Blogger ".
  1. Jon Keller from Channel M , May 27, 2009 at 11:44 a.m.

    Maria,

    I'd like to add one more channel for consideration - Kids Gyms. My Gym, Little Gym, and Kidville are excellent venues to reach Mom in a community environment that focuses on the health & well-being of their children. During the week Mom takes her children to classes and on the weekends these gyms host birthday parties for their members.

    It's all about fun, health, and fitness and a great place for Mom to "blog" face-to-face in a more communal setting!

  2. Karie Reynolds from Grand Avenue PR , May 27, 2009 at 11:51 a.m.

    So many excellent points. Maria, thank you for sharing your insight.

  3. David Schoenberger , May 27, 2009 at 12:50 p.m.

    As a marketer of family-based products, I know first-hand that depending upon any a single channel is a dangerous strategy. Your comments are spot-on, Maria; marketing to 33% of a population is unfair to all parties involved. If marketing exists to inform/entice, then a marketer's job is to carefully segment the population and inform/entice via a whole host of tactics including but not limited to mothers who blog (no matter how wonderful & powerful they might be)...

  4. Marile Borden from Metal Creative , May 27, 2009 at 12:55 p.m.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head here. While Mom bloggers are undoubtedly a very powerful force in terms of reaching todays Moms, we cannot ignore the legions of Moms who may not have the time or inclination to involve themselves in the blogosphere but who still wield the same, considerable purchasing power.

    One other channel that I think is important to include in the conversation is email. According to the 2009 RazorFish/CafeMom joint report on Digital Moms, 95% of todays "digital" Moms are regularly using email (this report puts online video usage at only 36%, and blogs even lower at 29%).

    We've recently launched a free, subscription-based daily email publication for Moms (www.momicillin.com) that takes some of the best qualities of the Mom blog experience (entertaining and validating stories, plus thoughtful, practical product reviews) and delivers it in a medium that, we think, will engage a wider and more diverse audience of Moms.

  5. Laura Wilber from clear channel radio , May 27, 2009 at 1:28 p.m.

    Thank you for recognizing radio as a great place to reach moms Maria. It's one voice to one person in real time. What would you say if you could have a :60 second conversation with a mom about your brand? Multiply that conversation by the number of moms listening to a given station and you've got a cost effective way to extend your word-of-mouth campaign.

    Take it a step further and team up with your local station to host shopping parties for moms, moms night out events, find a station personality who's a mom to endorse your product or service, create an opt-in text and/or email group for moms with special offers. If you can dream it, there's a good chance the right radio partners can do it for you.

    Laura Wilber
    Clear Channel Radio, Online & Mobile Los Angeles
    3400 W. Olive Ave. #550 Burbank, CA 91505
    Phone: 818-566-4579 Mobile: 818-220-7917
    laurawilber@clearchannel.com

    Reaching more than 8 million consumers every week in Southern California on-air, online and on their cell phones.
    Have you experienced LA traffic? You come to appreciate your radio and cell phone when you're trapped in the car for hours on end...

  6. Nicole Brady from SahmReviews.com , May 27, 2009 at 2:36 p.m.

    Maria -

    As a mom who blogs, I want to insert my comments. But first, I feel the need to acknowledge that I have the privilege of working with your companies. I have received products in support of events like National Moms Night Out, as well as through MomSelect. Blah blah blah, but I don't want someone saying "Nicole's just saying nice things about Maria because she has received swag through Maria's programs." I'm all about honesty so I'm putting it out there first.

    Now, with that out of the way, I want to say that you hit the nail on the head. I didn't realize the number of moms with blogs was 1/3 of all moms. Between local blog programs, traditional platform blogging and various social media sites, I would have suspected the number much higher. Although blogging is a great way for me, as a mom, to communicate, just as others have pointed out, it isn't the only way. For example, right now, things are too hectic for me to provide the amount of blog posts that I want. I'm spending all my time with end-of-school stuff and other mom-related chaos. That means I'm talking about my favorite products face-to-face primarily. No matter how much we blog, we will always be in the natural setting at games, school events, etc.

    WoM and In-home party programs like HouseParty are awesome to supplement my desires to blab about products that I love. Not only that, but HouseParty and "Moms Night Out" give women a much needed excuse to gather around for totally selfish reasons. My husband refers to me as a social personality because I have no problem talking to strangers... I just see it as an untapped resource to share my opinions. Programs like BzzAgent, VocalPoint, Pssst and SheSpeaks provide products and coupons to arm me when I'm in the mood to be opinionated.

    As for radio, podcasts, vlogging and the like - those are such untapped resources. I know many people like myself would love to venture into those avenues but it's a learning curve as well as limited by the proper equipment/software. I absolutely see those as the direction for more advanced bloggers while non-bloggers casually move into basic blogging.

    Awesome, awesome article. It's been a great adventure seeing how the whole "telegraph, telephone, tell a mommy blogger" mentality has spread. I look forward to seeing what is to come.

  7. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , May 28, 2009 at 8:14 a.m.

    Maria,

    Nice piece as always.

    Your point that we really need to take an IMC approach when developing an online strategy is a good one. In particular I think Vlogging will become very important! But marketers need to use the same strategies they use offline to build an effective IMC approach online – synergistic and wide ranging tactics – Blogs, vlogs, Flickr, and emerging online/offline tactics including Tweet-ups and Twitter/Facebook parties and tours and don’t forget forums!

    Actually the fact that 1/3rd of all Moms blog is also pretty important – the hitch is that there are THOUSANDS of blogs. The volume though opens up the blogsphere to smaller player who can tightly target the right mommy bloggers for their particular target. This is really an exciting opportunity for companies outside the traditional CPG companies with a broad target market.