A Lesson Plan For Today

Now that kids are back to school, families are focused on new daily routines and goals, making it a perfect time for marketers to reassess strategies to reach and engage today’s mom. Mom is over-scheduled but not under-resourced. She’s found ways to manage all the appointments and activities, to accomplish all that she and her family need. Here are five key lessons that help us connect with our 29 million moms around the globe – and five suggested assignments to help your brand rise to the top of the class. 

1. New priorities trigger new choices

New moms are faced with an average of eight new hours of parenting to-do’s each day. Any new mom or dad will tell you that all the feeding and bedtimes and laundry come at the expense of socializing, quality time with a spouse, personal hobbies, and, of course, sleep.

These logistical challenges also demand shifts in Mom’s priorities. Knowing what’s top of her list is critical to breaking through. For example, a full 93%  of new moms now find themselves managing the health and well-being of the entire family. And while design used to be her top priority when buying apparel, moms tell us it’s now down to sixth. First? A tie between price and comfort. 

Your assignment

Realize that new and expectant moms are incredibly receptive to marketing messages, but their perspectives have shifted dramatically. A new life stage means moms have entirely new needs to be solved – sure, it’s diapers and bottles but it’s also life insurance, consumer electronics, and college savings plans. Seventy-three% also totally reconsider beauty routines and products. New brand choices are being made more rapidly than at any other time in the life of this consumer. Answer Mom’s clear call for convenience and demonstrate an understanding of her shifting priorities and preferences. The choices she makes now will last a lifetime. 

2. Say hello to new “friends”

Motherhood is a trigger for social media usage. Faced with an incredible array of decisions to make and problems to solve, Mom is finding the information, advice, and support she needs on Facebook – spending twice as much time there as the general population (gen pop) – on a variety of blogs, Twitter, and in parenting communities online. Moms use social media in general 45% more than gen pop, and more than half regularly use parenting-specific social media sites to get advice. But not all social sites are created equal when it comes to meeting the needs of Mom. For example, she’s using Facebook primarily to socialize and to share, while she’s using communities like ours to get questions answered and for product recommendations.

Your assignment

To engage Mom, you need to understand her mindset, how she’s using each channel, and the context in which your message is delivered. Is she sharing a photo of her baby’s messy mealtime or asking for smartphone recommendations? She’s doing both, every day, on Facebook, Twitter, and in parenting-specific communities. But she’s using each in different ways for different reasons, and that means she’ll react to the same message you deliver differently. Create a social media and communications strategy that helps Mom experience your brand in the way you want her to, leveraging the knowledge you have about what channels she’s using and why. 

3. Technology as tool, not toy 

Motherhood puts women on the fast track of technology adoption. Usage of traditional media platforms like reading magazines and watching TV drops dramatically. While they are 38% more likely than gen pop to own an Internet TV device such as Apple TV or Roku, 28% more likely to use a tablet, and 38% more likely to own a smartphone. Managing media for her family as well as herself, she records more shows for later viewing, consumes more streaming media, and spends more total time on media than she used to.  

Your assignment

Mom is changing the rules for marketers. She’s consuming media on her own terms, whenever, wherever she wants. She’s multitasking throughout the day and likes it that way. So test and learn from some truly integrated marketing strategies that span media devices and platforms. Build them so that your message and media plan leverage the inherent value, purpose, and form factor of each. Brand-building creative via broadcast, interactive tutorials online, scan-able rewards at retail – be where Mom is with the right message for the medium at the right time. You will drive much more than clicks or awareness or even preference – you create trust.

4. Mobile is fundamental

Mom brings her entire life with her everywhere she goes, from the friends she consults via her smartphone in a dressing room to appointments she schedules to the digital photos she shares. Relative to gen pop, Mom is much more likely to own a smartphone or tablet – and to know how to use them, over-indexing on mobile social media usage (55%), mobile banking (53%), and mobile shopping (58%). That’s an enormous difference, but it's not surprising when you consider how tailor-made mobile devices are for a lifestyle that now revolves around waiting rooms, school drop-offs, work demands, swim meets, homework help, and a never-ending list of errands. 

Your assignment

Do more than dip your toe in the mobile waters. Yes, tie it to your online, print, or TV campaign so you don’t miss her, but also start adapting creative and considering unique solutions and success metrics for the medium because Mom will absolutely reward you for it. Don’t have a mobile-optimized site? No problem. Leverage feature-rich mobile media ads with click to call, click to text, or store locator capabilities to engage your audience. With so few marketers embracing the one media channel that is perpetually in the palm of this consumer’s hand, there’s no easier way to break through. Win her over by meeting her on her own terms, where she’s living so much of her life. 

5. The path to the register is redefined

In those halcyon pre-baby days, shopping made women feel relaxed, impulsive, and fun. Now it’s all business – and a challenging one at that: Moms describe their shopping experience as rushed , overwhelming, stressful, and deal-driven (+158%, +67%, +88%, +43% compared to the US online general population, respectively). Leaving nothing to chance, Mom leans heavily on recommendations via word of mouth (68%), parenting or mom-oriented websites (47%), and online reviews (64%). She also over-indexes on sharing deals and discount codes with her social graph (44% vs. 35% for gen pop). Mom is also taking on a lot of additional purchase responsibility well beyond nursery items, anticipating and more likely to make major future purchases in financial services, airfare, hotels, cars, and other big-ticket items. 

Your assignment

Mom likes a deal. And she expects it. She also expects to be able to get product information, reviews, seamless transactions, and great customer support. Remember that enabling Mom to share the results of her efforts is key. She’s researching and buying for herself and for her growing family, getting and giving advice and recommendations at every turn. Social shopping is here and now. Enable her to connect, comment, and share a deal. Ask for her feedback on your product or the customer service your team provided. Give her currency to share – useful information, coupons, rewards – and you may win a customer for life.  

Marketing to Mom effectively requires a planned evolution in how you reach a consumer who’s getting more done with less time and who’s empowered by technology. With a focus on turning insights into action you’ll find there’s no end to the opportunity for a brand to reach and excite Mom in new ways. With her many new needs and so many ways to find solutions, she’s more open than ever to any service, any solution, any brand that truly supports her on her journey. Do that.

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1 comment about "A Lesson Plan For Today ".
  1. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , September 14, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
    Nice post- understanding not only the shift in priorities but shift in technology use that comes with parenthood is a great point!