Focus: Up with Moms
Hail to the Chief (Purchasing Officer)
America is moving to a new matriarchy, a "Momacracy," if you will. A telephone poll of 100 CEO Luxury Marketing Council members and, separately, a spring survey by PR firm Fleishman-Hillard, strongly suggest that women see themselves, and in practice are, the household CEO, CFO, CPO (chief purchasing officer) and COO.
About 89 percent of women interviewed define success on their own terms and see themselves as successful; 59 percent say "highly successful." The definitions of "success" are changing - control of one's destiny, pursuing a self-defined, self-directed path, and wanting to be judged by one's character and personal strengths are among the most important features.
Women are most passionate about, first and foremost, their family, the council found in its survey, followed by love, children, travel, books, health and education (with "career" being more a means to these ends).
Wired to new media, they have profiles on social networking sites, read blogs and post comments about products and services online, according to The Luxury Marketing Council's Greg Furman.
More Than Mommy Bloggers
The U.S. Census estimates that there are 82.5 million mothers of all ages in this country, from baby boomer "soccer moms" to the Gen X and Echo Boom "iMoms." Mothers control 85 percent of household spending, yet 70 percent of them feel that companies aren't doing a good job speaking to them, according to Maria Bailey, founder of the Marketing to Moms Coalition and CEO of BSM Media, a full-service marketing and media firm that specializes in marketing to mothers.
And marketers need to remember that moms are a financial force to be reckoned with outside of the home, according to the coalition. Five million moms own their own business and 90 percent of moms use the same products at home and at the office. About 40 percent of boomer moms are also involved in purchases for their aging parents.
Another group puts the disconnect even higher: Only 20 percent of mothers said that advertisers were doing a good job connecting with mothers, according to Hartford, Conn.-based PME Enterprises LLC, which hosts M2W, an annual conference in its fifth year. Another 70 percent said that marketers are not focused on moms in their advertising, and 30 percent said that they see ads that offend them. And moms have $1.7 trillion annual purchasing power, according to PME.
Dismal stereotypes of moms are still appearing too often, the groups say, "from the frazzled and frantic mom rushing home from the office, to the unrealistic superwoman, simultaneously wielding a mop, dressing her children and making her own soap in a single bound," according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition. But stereotypes are, by definition, hackneyed portrayals.
To their credit, marketers - despite the deficiencies - recognize the need to better connect with moms. Conferences like Blissdom, Mom 2.0, The Startup Princess Academy and BlogHer are attracting hundreds of moms and a significant group of sponsors as well, including Wal-Mart, Weight Watchers, Quaker, Disney and Sony.
Duck and Dial
Aflac launched a new 30-second TV spot in August starring two soccer moms discussing how insurance can help with many financial needs after an accident. The men are out of the picture while the ladies discuss a recent accident one of them had and how insurance covered items such as mortgage payments when the woman was unable to work.
Soaring acrobatically in and out of frame, the Aflac Duck protects the mothers from being hit by a soccer ball, while letting them know that it is Aflac that pays cash when someone is sick or hurt.
"Females are heavily involved in making insurance decisions, not just within their home but at their worksites," Al Johnson, Aflac's vice president of advertising, told OMMA. "A lot of females are business owners. So we feel this is a great target."
M2W asked mothers if they would rather get information from a celebrity mom or an experienced mom like themselves. Sixty-seven percent said they would more likely turn to a peer mom, so the Aflac spot scores points in that regard.
AT&T's family matriarch continues to hoard mobile minutes in the campaign for AT&T's FamilyTalk plan, which allows for unused minutes to be carried over to the next month.
One of the spots, "Yard Sale," shows the mom at a yard sale refusing to let go of her unused minutes, saying, "And these days, we can't afford to be wasteful."
Anthropologist, blogger and author Grant McCracken calls the ad "a joy." And writes "There is lots to love here," in a blog entry entitled "Ads that live, ads that die" (this is the one that lives).
BBDO New York won a silver addy award in 2009 in the National tv Campaign category for the rollover campaign, which also includes "Milky Minutes" and "Sibling Rivalry." The ongoing value message has had success: FamilyTalk accounts for about 60 percent of AT&T's contracted customers.
Mother and Commander
The armed forces may not be your traditional packaged goods marketer, but they also have a product to sell. Enticing young men and women to enlist for service is about the hardest sell out there. The U.S. Navy took a nontraditional approach and targeted moms, who a recruit might look to for advice or approval in making the big decision.
One aspect of the campaign spoke to moms where they live: the shopping mall. The two-month "Navy For Moms" initiative from Inwindow Outdoor launched in May via digital touchscreens in mall storefront displays. Shoppers could manipulate images on a display screen to see videos, postcards and pictures of Navy officers and their moms.
Created by Campbell-Ewald, the campaign also included print and online. The agency won a silver Effie Award for the "Navy Influencer" campaign, which includes an ongoing online social community that brings together proud moms of Navy sailors and skeptical moms of recruits to engage in honest, open discussion of their fears and questions.
"Navy is a powerful brand and navyformoms.com has enabled many moms to be strong brand advocates," says Navy Recruiting Command's Capt. Philip Altizer. "It allows moms to establish relationships with other moms and share their common experiences and pride in the service of their sons and daughters."
The Navy has even used social media services such as Ning to extend into communities. The military has realized that moms weigh in on the most important decisions, appealing to the Momocracy.