In my 20 years of marketing to moms, one observation has always been there: Moms are busy. But it’s not an insight, and the solution isn’t “let’s play up how convenient the product is!”
Moms’ busyness has become such a generic rallying point for brands that I fear it hurts more than it helps. I doubt moms want to hear about how busy they are. About how brands X, Y, and Z have quick and easy solutions to cut down on time. I worry that the sum of the busyness messaging is a nagging, deflating reminder to moms, rather than a refreshing message of hope and help.
Just take these facts about U.S. women from Ketchum’s 2014 Marketing to Moms study:
It’s a striking picture of the increasingly heavy burden that moms are taking on, and it is this which has righted my thinking. Now, I’m less concerned about boring, repetitive insights and a whitewash of “busy” brand communications than I am about moms’ health and happiness.
As a marketer, I find this challenge reinvigorating and motivating. It’s a reminder to fight for brand solutions that do more than give mom an “on-the-go” solution, or reduce her prep time from 15 to 10 minutes. I want to give mom her weekends back. I want her to spend more time with family and friends. I want her to know that she can play with her kids without feeling rushed.
No special bag of veggies that steam cooks in the microwave is going to get us there. Looking at the big picture, these time-shavers have a negligible impact on moms’ time.
Improvement can only come if we provide meaningful utility that changes behavior. Not just something that’s quicker, but something that gives her more power over how she spends her time.
At last week’s Shopper Marketing Expo in Minneapolis, Andy Murray, SVP Creative at Walmart, captured this perfectly. He spoke about Walmart’s ambition to create new value for shoppers instead of just to communicate value. I believe that’s what needs to happen on a larger scale.
In household shopping, for example, brands and retailers are introducing new digital shopping models like order-and-deliver and order-and-pick-up. All are welcome innovations. We should vigorously pursue anything that significantly shortens the time and energy moms spend.
Retailers are focused on the potential impact on sales — higher basket rings, attracting shoppers with higher incomes, and repurposing shoppers’ saved time to drive incremental purchases. But they’re not prioritizing the most meaningful, valuable impact on consumers’ lives — giving back hours. As it stands, the simple hurdle of delivery fees is preventing scale participation.
I encourage brands and retailers to work together to make a difference. Partner to eliminate the hurdle of delivery fees in digital grocery shopping. Combine efforts to invite moms to try it, let them experience the convenience firsthand, and make this a benefit for the many versus the few.
Marketers, I urge you to go the extra mile in your programs to give moms significant time savings. Do more than launch another quick fix or super-convenient option that packs well in a purse or adds to their already full to-do lists. Let’s get creative to enable this change. Our moms deserve it.