Who's Making Big-Ticket Buying Decisions?

Savvy consumers are no longer passively watching commercials or looking at ads; they want brands to listen and understand what is important to them. These traditional marketing tactics are being replaced with "engagement marketing" strategies, creating a two-way, interactive exchange.

Recently, eMarketer published an article, "Facebook Moms Are Marketing-Savvy," with a finding that moms are receptive to marketing when done on their terms and not through ads.

Many brands and industries are leading the way in listening and engaging with moms, yet there are some industries that still prefer to engage primarily with men. I think it's easier for some industries to market to men as they don't require the same level of social engagement as women do. However, in case you missed the memo, moms control over $4 billion in annual spend.

Case in point -- the auto industry. Oh, don't get me wrong, I think they're trying to engage with the mom market by offering test drives to get "mom blogger" reviews as part of a marketing tactic; but how are cars really marketed? How are they sold? If you ask my neighbor, an auto mechanic and dad, he'll tell you it's to men but who makes the buying decision? As he'll tell you, it's his wife.

Recently, another mom told me about her car shopping adventure in Los Angeles. She was at a dealership and wanted some financial information about some cars, and the salesperson told her to "come back with her husband." You're not surprised are you? I've had this happen to me in the past. It's no fun being a single (woman) mom, standing in a showroom filled with salespeople wanting to make deals with men but not with you. No wonder the auto industry needed a bailout.

As many brands have figured out, you need a strategy for brand-building, and understanding your target audience is part of it. People are talking in 140-character bites and igniting a flurry of engagements from support to condemnation. Many brands have even created high level "social media / marketing" positions, while others still look at it as a fad or a part-time gig they can outsource to a few people to blog or tweet about. You can't improvise your social marketing strategy on the fly.

Engaging with moms requires a high level of social interaction to establish trust and loyalty, which means the art of listening is at the root of successfully reaching and keeping us engaged. Oh, and in the words of Aretha Franklin "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me" -- you gotta respect us. Having children did not take away our buying power, it only increased it.

Finally, if you're a brand that is still sitting on the fence and not taking social marketing seriously, conversations are taking place without you. Good, bad or indifferent. Wouldn't you rather be there for them?

Tags: moms
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2 comments about "Who's Making Big-Ticket Buying Decisions?".
  1. Scott Meadow from MCP LLC , February 17, 2010 at 12:29 p.m.

    Great observation on the results of the auto industry not paying enough attention to developing insights that translate to practice on the sales floor.

  2. R.J. Lewis from e-Healthcare Solutions, LLC , February 17, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.

    Not enough online marketing is being done to engage mom's on great sites such as

    http://www.OBGYN.net
    http://www.americanpregnancy.org
    http://www.drspock.com/

    It's amazing that huge budgets are still wasted on television when online targeting is so superior.