Brands Are Big Word-Of-Mouth Topics Among New Moms

by , Apr 21, 2008, 5:00 AM
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mother and babeWhen it comes to word-of-mouth (WOM) buzz about products--and specific brands--across a wide range of categories, expectant and new mothers are the champs, according to a new study from online resource BabyCenter and WOM-focused market research firm the Keller Fay Group.

Overall, pregnant women and new moms engage in one-third more WOM conversations per day than women in general or consumers as a whole, and almost two-thirds of their conversations include brand recommendations, the study found.

The studied group reported an average of 109 WOM conversations per week about products, services and brands, versus 83 among total women and 82 among the general public. These include about 70 brand-specific mentions per week, compared to 59 for women as a whole and 55 for the general public.

Furthermore, most of the conversations are positive, and considered highly credible by other moms ... and most of them are driven by information on the Internet, as opposed to other media.

In January, Keller Fay asked 1,721 pregnant women and new mothers (those with children five years old or younger) to fill out an online survey probing specifics about their conversations during the previous 24 hours about products and brands across 14 categories. Respondents were asked to report on any form of conversation, whether it occurred face-to-face, over the phone, or through the Internet.

The women were recruited through BabyCenter's "21st Century Mom Panel," its Web site (estimated to reach over 78% of online expectant/new mothers worldwide), and an external panel. Comparisons to the total public and total women were drawn from TalkTrack, Keller Fay's ongoing, nationwide WOM study.

What are new/soon-to-be mothers talking about, exactly?

As might be guessed, 64% have at least one conversation per day about children's products (versus 33% for total women and 25% for total public).

But discussions go far beyond kid-oriented products/brands. For example, the percentages of new/expectant moms who have at least one chat per day about key categories:

* Food and dining: 76% (versus 62% total women and 57% total public)

* Media and entertainment: 69% (versus 56% and 55%)

* Health/health care: 67% (versus 50% and 38%)

* Financial services: 60% (versus 38% and 32%)

* Beverages: 55% (versus 47% and 46%)

* Shopping, retail and apparel: 54% (versus 44% and 40%)

* The home: 52% (versus 34% and 28%)

* Technology: 48% (versus 36% and 40%)

* Telecommunications: 45% (versus 41% and 42%)

* Household products: 41% (versus 29% and 22%)

* Automotive: 39% (versus 35% and 36%)

* Personal care and beauty: 37% (versus 31% and 27%) and

* Travel services: 32% (versus 28% and 23%).

Perhaps the best news of all these and other marketers being discussed is that 60% of the WOM carries with it a recommendation to buy, try or consider the product/brand.

And since nearly 70% deem what they hear from their fellow moms to be very credible, 51% are likely to pass the information/recommendation along to others, and the same percentage indicate intent to purchase based on the information.

Not surprisingly, marketing/media advertising help drive much of the WOM: 38% of brand mentions also involve one or more references to some kind of marketing activity.

More notable is that 12% of brand mentions among this relatively young group of women result from information or mentions seen on the Internet, versus 11% for TV and just 2% to 5% for media such as magazines/newspapers, product packaging, in-store displays, and coupon circulars.

But as the researchers point out, given that broader studies show that 76% of all U.S. moms say that they use the Net for support and guidance and 70% participate in online communities, it's natural that the Web would tie in closely with their WOM, including offline conversations.

Recommendations from the study include encouraging WOM within a marketing objective; identifying ways to "create contagion" (make it easy for consumers to share with one another); using "artful storytelling" to create differentiation in the consumer's mind; and encouraging participation, collaboration and contribution.

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