Mother's Day Hangover

Post-Mother’s Day, and we made it through. While not quite the holiday retail rush that the last quarter of the year brings, it was still a ubiquitous time of gift-giving. With over 85+ million mothers in the U.S. in 2009, with 1.6 children and roughly 5 million of those mothers staying at home, you have a pretty active base that drives so much of our economy.

I realize that we try to think of segmentation along many terms, but in reality it is all about gender. Women own the purse strings, the purchase influence, and the vast majority of household purchase decisions -- and are operating in the business world on much more equal terms than at any point in our history in the U.S. If you doubt that, reflect on this past weekend.

As we build marketing programs and aspire to build customer engagement that promotes repeated purchase habits, we must continually question the way we do things. In the spirit of challenging the obvious, I’ve listed a few questions that I aspire to answer this year:

  1. How much is too much email? (This is the question that all email marketers strive to answer. Not just what is the threshold to diminishing returns, but from an organizational standpoint, how do you set standards?)
  2. What is email’s real attribution to a purchase and LTV? (more email = more revenue and we have decades of proof that it works, but what does it really do? Or is that even important when more=more? If you answer #1 effectively, #2 becomes the rationale for better budget management).
  3. Is the mobile device impacting email-driven purchasing patterns?  (I believe this is the year that we will see a pretty dramatic shift in purchase patterns. The mobile device and smartphone are ubiquitous, and it takes years for habits to change. This will be something to watch closely this year, to see how consumers shop, share and sync as well as email’s influence.)
  4. Can you really operationalize email retargeting and real-time content at scale?  (We've gotta do something with the 50% of our user base that won’t respond via email, even if the goal is not “sales”-driven. And we have to do something to streamline the creative process for smarter experiences. But can this live outside in our production email world? )
  5. Will Facebook advertising really work? (This is the year of testing Facebook. With over 1 billion users, it’s silly to ignore. The real question is, how does it work for advertising and how do you build episodic experiences that connect email and social?)
  6. Will women rule the world? I’m watching one macro trend this year: women’s consumer shifts. The mobile device and social are making a huge impact on this audience, which in turn has huge impact on the rest of the household and neighborhoods. We will be optimizing to this audience as the buyer, influencer and household “wallet” going forward. 



There is a theme to all of this. Email’s up! Attribution is unclear! Coordinating channels has been a pipe dream for most!  And doing more with less doesn’t lead to innovating the customer experience at scale. And with a women-dominated marketplace, good, repeated experiences are the next marketing currency. 




2 comments about "Mother's Day Hangover".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, May 14, 2013 at 4:38 a.m.

    Why does nobody fact check? Actually no, the evidence is that women don't own the purse strings, but it's more equal. For example, "In a survey conducted last year of nearly 4,000 Americans 16 and older by Futures Co., a London consulting firm, just 37% of women said they have primary responsibility for shopping decisions in their household, while 85% said they have primary or shared responsibility. The respective figures for men were similar: 31% and 84%." and

  2. david Baker from RedPill, May 15, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.

    @Pete....Always love your perspectives and appreciate your readership.

    First of all: We all Fast Check and I love debate when everyone respects each other's points. I have books, articles and research that more than support this...... .. Here's a recent bit you might read. and happy to direct you to numerous other reputable groups, research arms and books that speak to this exact topic, which I happen to agree with:

    Women own the purse strings and have more influence over household and retail spend than men.

    U.S. Women Hold The Purse Strings

    Good reading!

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