It's no secret that Mom is busy and juggling a constant variety of roles, activities, and demands.
But the modern mom is using new devices and digital platforms to do far more than most of us expect -- and maybe more than moms have ever done.
Researching family-friendly restaurants (check)
Recording her child's vaccinations (check)
Capturing the moments that matter (check)
The list can go on and on. And it does, because she is using her smartphone, her Internet-connected TV, her tablet, desktop, and more, all in concert, as tools to help manage the transformation, expectations, and priorities of 21st century motherhood.
We keep a close eye on today's mom: This past April, we unveiled our American Media Mom insights, and just this week, we launched our UK Media Mum report. We're also in eight other global markets now with research on evolving media habits globally.
And no matter where Mom lives, if she can access digital platforms -- via simple text messaging or rich tablet experiences -- she is using them to dramatically alter everything from how she interacts with her social circles to how she shops. Whether it's mobile apps for price comparison or private birth clubs on social networks, today's mom uses digital solutions in ways that place her at the vanguard of new media consumption and device usage.
Specifically, we're seeing that:
New devices may disrupt marketing, but not Mom
She's watching video online and TV via Internet-connected devices. Her prime time is online, all the time.
When compared to the general population, Mom is two-thirds more likely to say that she spends less time with live TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers than she used to.
The U.S. mom spends 100% more time online each month than the general population (66 hours versus 33 hours). In the UK, the difference is 46 hours versus 35 hours.
She's also giving her smartphone a workout. In addition to texting and engaging in social media more than any other consumer group, Mom is 53% more likely to use mobile banking applications and 58% more likely to shop via her mobile phone compared to the general population.
Digital devices are the backbone of the Family Media Manager
Mom over-indexes on ownership and usage of every digital device, including laptops, digital cameras, DVRs, and gaming consoles.
In particular, she's 38% more likely than the general population to own an Internet TV device (e.g., Apple TV, Roku), 28% more likely to use a tablet, and 38% more likely to own a smartphone.
Mom tells us all this helps her more easily cross the items off her to-do list, whether it's banking, grocery shopping, or programming the kids' YouTube channel to help her survive the next family road trip.
Mom has taken on the role of Family Media Manager. She's now controlling not just the purchase of the devices and technologies in the home, but how they're programmed, networked, and used by her kids. And she's making sure she gets the media she needs on her own terms.
Mom is multitasking but not distracted
Half say that they are always or often talking to someone else or using social media while watching TV. Forty percent are also going online on their tablet, mobile phone or texting someone while watching TV.
And while she's catching up on her life, three out of four moms are skipping as many ads as possible while watching TV. That's 20% higher than the general online population.
Even more aggressive trends are being established among UK mums, with 64% saying they use social media while watching TV and 55% saying they go online using phones or tablets during TV time.
Marketers certainly face an increasing challenge reaching and engaging today's mom, but her new media habits mean new and different opportunities to engage. Understanding her mindset and media preferences is critical during this life stage.
Her new path to the register
Along with new media habits come new paths to purchase. Her go-to tool to make the shopping process easy -- and help her score the best deal -- is the mobile phone.
Recently, in the U.S., the six-month period between November 2011 and April 2012 saw Mom's reliance on mobile throughout all aspects of the purchase process increase nearly 100%. The UK has seen a corresponding spike in mobile shopping activity.
Between July 2011 and May 2012, there was a 20% increase in moms shopping via smartphones and usage of shopping apps. About half of moms purchased something through a mobile phone during that period -- a 70% increase in less than one year.
How to reach her
The marketer who succeeds in reaching today's mom is the one who understands the ways in which her life has dramatically and irrevocably changed. And to engage her, an advertiser must offer real value. That could be a solution in the form of content or tools, or an incentive in the form of rewards or discounts.
In the U.S, 68% of moms are more likely to pay attention to ads that relate to their personality or lifestyle. And they're 117% more likely to respond to an ad that includes a contribution to a charitable organization.
In the UK, mums are most likely to say they notice ads on TV. However, they are more likely to notice email offers than magazine ads and more than twice as likely to notice online ads compared to newspaper ads.
Moms tell us that brands that enable them to stretch their family's wallet by featuring free shipping, coupons, and no-hassle returns, as well as products that simplify their life, are the ones winning their favor.
In the end, though, brands that make the biggest impact on Mom are those that demonstrate a genuine understanding of her evolving needs, her unique challenges, her new priorities. By focusing on Mom's mindset, and identifying when and how a product or solution matters most to her, brands have the chance to turn insights into action. The 21st Century Mom is always on, everywhere. She's getting her job done and increasingly living her life by leveraging digital platforms – and if brands meet her there with the right solutions at the right time she will welcome them.