Why Moms Can't Make A Quick Decision

Ask any mother what her child’s favorite foods are and she’ll probably rattle them off without blinking. Ask her to visit the grocery aisle and choose the medication she would buy if her child is coughing and she’ll hesitate. Not because she doesn’t know, but because she wants to think about it. A lot. 

In a recent nationwide study of 423 moms, we discovered that it takes moms three times longer to choose health-and-wellness products in comparison to products with non-health benefits. Her decision-making process is much slower and more deliberate. She’ll flip over the package, read the details and compare and contrast all her product choices. At times she’ll even ask hard questions from people she trusts. 

Factors That Make Their Decisions More Difficult

We discovered that when it comes to the health-and-wellness purchasing decisions, there are always three concurrent variables at play:

  • They are complex. 
  • They are highly personal. 
  • There are greater risks.



According to the study, the importance moms place on health-and-wellness decisions may be the result of the pressure they place on themselves, which leads to the vulnerable moments that then impact their brand selection process. In fact, she prefers to choose brands that can help reduce her vulnerabilities. And while it would seem commonsense that all moms experience these feelings, few realize they are in constant flux and exist no matter where she is in her motherhood journey

Uncovering Six Universal Need States on Vulnerability

The study unlocked moms’ innermost fears, anxieties and insecurities about motherhood. Despite the seemingly endless feelings of vulnerability that these moms reported, the study was able to condense their emotional exposure into six “need states,” the complex web of emotional, social, environmental, rational and personal triggers that lead individuals to choosing specific brands. They are:

  • Dreading the Unknown, which primarily centers on whether the choices moms make are the “right” ones
  • Cutting the Cord, whether it’s leaving children in someone else’s care or sending them off to school, moms experience a high degree of fear and anxiety
  • Losing the Reins, which is often associated with a child’s unpredictable behavior and leaving moms feeling at a loss and judged 
  • Trying Transitions, thosetime periods in motherhood that can throw life into chaos, like potty training or starting school
  • Stressing the “Firsts” are those first-time experiences moms encounter, whichraise their fears and anxieties to significant heights
  • Feeling Their Pain causes extreme angst when mothers feel they arenot able to take their child’s pain away

Interestingly, the six need states surfaced when tested against product categories, leading us to confirm that they exist across any mom and baby category. When these 423 moms were asked to honestly reveal which vulnerability led them to choose specific brands:

  • 30% chose specific infant formulas because of the anxieties and fears they felt from Stressing the “Firsts”
  • 48% reveal their brand of pain medicines was the result of the vulnerability, Feeling their Pain 
  • 63% say their vitamin purchase can be linked to the anxieties that result from Losing the Reins 
  • 62% indicate that their diaper choices were made under the chaos of Trying Transitions 
  • 45% say that their choice of adhesive bandages were based on Dreading the Unknown

Helping Moms Resolve Their Vulnerabilities

Marketers seeking to build brand loyalty with moms should consider positioning their product through the lens of her vulnerabilities. Marketers who apply this approach would discover what our team discovered in the study—57% say they would be more likely to prefer and purchase products that would resolve her feelings of vulnerability.

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