The Moody Mom -- And When To Reach Her

by , Nov 13, 2012, 9:50 AM
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Eighteen years of marriage have taught me not to talk to women about their moods, so if you opened this post upset about a man opining on a subject he can’t understand, stay put. This post is about some fascinating insights from women, delivered by a woman, on what makes them different.

At the recent Marketing 2 Moms Conference in Chicago, most presentations discussed the coveted “Millennial Mom.” But Sarah DaVanzo, director of Strategic Planning at Publicis Kaplan Thaler, shared a broader range of insights about reaching the millions of active moms over 30. 

The Boomer Mom Counts

In her talk, DaVanzo began with points that would be familiar to this audience. While Millennial Moms represent an important next wave of diaper-buyers, few of them are mothers yet. In other demographics, the vast majority of women are already moms and remain active moms; older mothers also have more money to spend. Specifically, Boomer Moms have 47 times the disposable income of Millennial Moms. When you add in the millions of women having babies later in life and those who are raising someone else’s young children, the desirability of this market is clear.

Beyond these Boomer basics, DaVanzo delivered far more fascinating data than I can share here (look for a forthcoming white paper), but what interested me most was her insights on mothers’ moods.

Tracking the Mother’s Moods

By using a smartphone app, Publicis asked women to record their day-to-day activities in a “digital diary” as well as record their moods to understand the emotional context of their behaviors.

And these women revealed a mood profile different from the moods of other consumers. On most days, the average American’s mood follows a simple U-curve (like a smile) that begins the day in a good mood, which gradually declines before picking back up in the evening. My days are like that.

But the profile of a mother’s day is notably different. A mother oftenstarts the day in a “bad” mood, one that gradually picks up throughout the day, peaking when the sun goes down and the lights start going off in her own home. A mother wakes up with the burden of her family on her shoulder, a burden from which she is periodically distracted through the day but which is not lifted until she knows her brood is safe, whether in her own home or not. This applies whether the woman’s children are in college, looking for work, or starting to raise their own families. 

A mother’s week also exhibits more swings between highs and lows than the average American. “Mothers of all ages with children living under their roof have unique emotional cadence,” explained DaVanzo. “For example, weekends seem to be less restful for moms because they tend to spend weekend time catching up on chores, shopping for the family, planning for the week ahead, and shuffling kids to appointments. For many moms, the work week is a ‘break’ from weekend activity. The data suggests Friday nights are Mom’s weekly high-point, and thus when she is most receptive to exploring brands and marketing messages.”

Marketing by Mood Ring? 

What does this have to do with marketing?

When a mother — when anyone — is in a better mood, she is more open to new messages. How many of us who send this woman emails think about the mood she’ll be in when she opens her inbox? How many retailers change their sales practices between morning and afternoon? 

When any of us is stressed out, we’re not much use as marketing material. We don’t have the time or interest — and certainly aren’t feeling the trust — to listen to messages from anyone but our family and best friends. Even dim husbands learn not to “market” new messages at times like this.

How many of you are thinking about your customer’s moods when you craft and schedule your communication with her? Most of us want to offer a genuinely useful product or service to the Boomers we want to engage, but how many of us are talking to them about it when they’re in a good enough mood to listen?

2 comments on "The Moody Mom -- And When To Reach Her ".

  1. David Cearley from self employed
    commented on: November 13, 2012 at 6:15 p.m.
    While I agree that timing a marketing message based on probable mood is a good idea, I have to say, Friday afternoon is NOT a low stress time for moms. They are steeling themselves for a weekend of 24/7 child supervision, soccer games, haircuts, the husband's inevitable escape, a messier, louder house, and making sure things are under control enough she can at least get the family out of the house for Friday night dinner. The most stress free time for moms is the sliver of time after the kids are sent to bed, tomorrow's lunch and kid clothes are ready, the dishes are off the table, and the dog's been fed. My wife kicks back on the couch with guilty pleasure TV and her iPad for an hour. The best evening in our house is actually Sunday evening. The house is quier, and the kids will all be off to school in the morning. Oh, and nobody sends emails on Sunday evening...
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: December 6, 2012 at 10:35 p.m.
    The category is Boomers. This is a slip and a miss.

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