Marketing And The Single Mom

A generation or two ago, the single mom -- whether divorced or never married – was hardly a marketing target. Her numbers were relatively small, she typically had no financial clout and, if anyone talked about her at all, it often was in whispers.

That has changed, big time.

Today, it’s not just everyone’s favorite celebrities who opt for single-mom status. Currently, there are about 10 million single mothers in the U.S. with children younger than 18; about 40% of all children now are born to single mothers. 

Yet contrary to the longstanding image of the single mom – young and from a lower socio-economic background -- these moms are older (average age: 39) and about one-third have a live-in partner. While they do tend to have lower household incomes than married moms, about 80% work.

The circumstances of their pregnancies also often defy traditional perceptions. "That old-fashioned idea that a single mother is someone who got pregnant by accident or didn't want a child is just not true anymore. These days, there are plenty of single moms by choice," said Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents/American Baby, in a recent Advertising Age article.



A recent Women at NBCU study divided single moms into four groups, each with its own very different set of experiences, influence and value to marketers:

  • "Girl Interrupted” (13% of moms). This is the most negative of the categorizations. These women are more likely to be Caucasian, young and lower-income. They also tend to live with extended family, but without receiving much support. Yet, they are the most technologically connected of all the mom segments.
  • "Dream Girls" (15% of moms). More likely to be Hispanic and receive a lot of family and friend support, Dream Girls have a more positive outlook on life and are excited about being moms.
  • "Survivor Mom" (13% of moms). She is older, struggling financially and more likely to be divorced or widowed, but also confident in her parenting choices and buying decisions and the most brand loyal.
  • "Secondlife Moms." Also older and more likely to be divorced, these moms tend to be more educated, to work full time, and be financially secure.

Each of these single mom segments offers opportunities for marketers, whether it’s a lower-income mom influencing friends through digital connections or the more mature and higher-earning mom with money to spend. For those companies who have been ignoring the increasing growth in the number of single moms or thinking of them in terms of the age-old stereotypes, now is the time to reconsider.

2 comments about "Marketing And The Single Mom".
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  1. Lydia Estrada from Lydia Estrada Media Services, October 26, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.

    It's always fascinating to see socio-economic trends evolve. I fall into a non-traditional segment and have never doubted my decisions.

    I commend all moms; single, working, married, divorced or in a partnership.
    Raising kids in this society is tough. Daily battles involve wanting to be the enlightened parent while managing life's stresses, whatever they may be to any individual any hour of the day. All of it is hard. Your kids are the ultimate reward, but let's hope marketers remember to honor and commend moms for the work they do to raise humans who will keep evolving the social spectrum.

  2. Patti Minglin from Go Girl Communications, October 26, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.

    Great article, Stephanie. Single women overall tend to get overlooked by marketers and that is especially true in the mom space.

    I agree with Lydia, all moms have a tough job--and the more time brands take to explore the various niche groups within the mom market, the more opportunities they have to provide solutions that will truly help all moms succeed.

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