Top 8 Changes In The Mom Market Over 5 Years

A great deal can be learned by looking back. Of course, there are many fashionable, parenting and philosophical changes that have occurred, but I have elected to focus on those that have impacted marketing.

Consider this blog post a two-part series. I'll focus on the greatest changes I've seen in the past five years here and follow it up next month with part two, my predictions for the next five years.

Here are the top eight changes I've seen in the mom market in the past half decade.

1) Marketing "with" Moms rather than "to" moms

Marketers used to spend millions on a brand message, distribute it to mothers and they would repeat it on the playground or at a PTA meeting. Today, moms read, see and hear that brand message, they define it for themselves and their families and repeat it to other moms as they see fit. Wal-Mart may be the place to "Save Money, Live Better" but to some moms Wal-Mart might mean, fast easy shopping and if that's the way they feel, that may be what turns up in the blog, vlog or YouTube video. Moms have become your marketing partner, not your target market.

2) Motherhood as a brand

Gone are the days of the Stepford wives. Today's moms are branding themselves -- MizFitOnline, Dr.Mommy, and MilitaryMom. Moms are doing it their way and just as companies are trying to build their brands, so are the mothers they are marketing with.

3) Customization

Millennial moms have redefined Burger King's old tagline, "Have it your way." Today's new mothers expect to customize products, media and even the lifestyle of motherhood. They are applying their pre-baby style to post-baby life and customizing motherhood to their daily activities, personal values, goals and philosophies and expect the products they purchase to be customizable to the motherhood they define for themselves.

4) Frugalista Mom

The economy may have forced moms to shop differently but now that they've tasted the sweet success of saving money, they're not going back. The Mom Frugalista is here to stay, regardless of her income level. Moms have discovered that saving money is empowering, fun and a badge of honor among her peers.

5) Emergence of the virtual playground

Moms used to trade ideas and product information on the playground down the block. Today the physical playground as a social platform for mothers has been expanded to a virtual playground. Monkey bars and slides have been replaced with blogs and tweets. Moms mingle on the virtual playground, passing along tips, advice and product recommendations just as they passed along casserole recipes next to the swings on the corner lot.

6) Sphere of influence on steroids

Word of mouth marketing has been the most powerful form of marketing in the world of mothers. Take yesterday's sphere of influence and inject it with steroids and you have Word of Mom 2010. An influencer once was the PTA president or soccer mom but today she is a blogger, business owner, YouTuber, Turbo Tweeter and Facebook Fanatic as well as the team and homeroom mom. Engage her as your brand evangelist and you have word of mom on steroids.

7) It's a small world after all

Moms have gone global. Thanks to technology, moms in Europe can compare business plans with moms in the U.S. or mothers in Australia can trade sleep tips with moms in South Africa. Mothers love nurturing relationships and this includes interacting with moms across the globe.

8) Boomers are becoming grandparents

They may be the youngest group of "nanas" and "grandmas" in history but the good news for marketers is that these young-at-heart boomers are purchasing the same products that they did when they were moms. Loyalty is important to mothers and the fact that this young generation of grandmothers are fully engaged in their new role means that their old favorites still make it into their shopping cart.

Tags: moms
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7 comments about "Top 8 Changes In The Mom Market Over 5 Years".
  1. Nicole Brady from SahmReviews.com , June 2, 2010 at 10:29 a.m.

    Excellent article, Maria. Looking forward to hearing your predictions for the next five years!

  2. Tim Sullivan from School Family Media, Inc. , June 2, 2010 at noon

    Always enjoy Maria's insights and totally agree that the Mom world is changing and that reaching Moms is a different challenge today than in years past.

    Also agree that the traditional PTA meeting and the traditional PTA pesident have changed, but I think it's wrong to overlook the continuing central role that their children's school plays in many Mom's lives. While the old PTA meeting may now be largely the new PTA or PTO email newsletter, it's still school-connected in a big way.

    And while the new PTA or PTO president may not be standing in front of of 100 other Moms telling them what to do (not sure she was ever doing that, frankly), her decisions on what family events to organize and when/if the spaghetti supper will be held almost always go in pen on the family calendar.

    Take the traditionally central role of schools (which hasn't changed) and combine it with the networked school volunteer (PTO leader) and homeroom mom who is also the Facebook Fanatic and Turbo Tweeter -- and there's the real steroids.

    Times have definitely changed, but Mom's surveyed today still mark "education" (especially how their own children's school is thriving or not) as their #1 concern. Important to keep that in mind even as the newest new things get the headlines.

  3. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , June 2, 2010 at 1:38 p.m.

    Great article Maria,

    I think the point which you obliquely bring up, which is:"it's not all about bloggers" is a good one. Moms continue to trade information at the playground but also on Facebook, Flickr and Youtube, as well as emerging platforms...and e-mail.

    As social media matures, our goals have been to develop integrated programs for our clients that include both online and offline elements and maximize the buzz by reinforcing it on multiple platforms.

    Of particular importance is coordinating on and offline sampling programs to reinforce one message to the right mom market.

  4. Lee Rappaport , June 2, 2010 at 2:41 p.m.

    Kudos, Maria! What can I say? An old dog can learn a few new tricks/ideas. I loved all of your ideas and I will try to implement several of these techniques when reaching my marketing partners.

  5. Stacey Mathis from Stacey Mathis Copywriting/Consulting , June 2, 2010 at 3:51 p.m.

    "boomers . . . their old favorites still make it into their shopping cart. "
    I'm glad you brought up babyboomers. We also have to consider that some of them are STILL moms, as they have chosen to have kids later in life. As a matter of fact, off the top of my head, I can think of 8 babyboomer colleagues who have school-age children, and half with kids under 5 years old. Thanks for reminding me of that because my mom-marketing mindset sometimes gets stuck on Gen Y.

  6. Deb New , June 3, 2010 at 9:43 a.m.

    Thanks for the reminder that whether a marketer or a mom... or both, it's always instructive to look at the past while moving forward.

  7. Maruchi Santana from Parham Santana , June 10, 2010 at 4:56 p.m.

    Maria,

    I enjoy your insights! Bravo