In 2009, I jumped into marketing to moms because a consultant told my boss a particular statistic: only 3% of creative directors were female. He went on to explain that it was the reason why there was such a big disconnect between brands and the advertising they create to trying to reach moms. Because I was not only a female creative director but also a parent working for a social media company, my boss asked me to start blogging about marketing to moms through social. The timing was perfect as social media was about to explode. Fast-forward to today, and we’ve made little progress in the space: the percentage of female creative directors has only risen to 7%.
In order to get a better perspective on how marketing and advertising have changed over the last several years, I spoke with Liz O’Donnell, general manager of Double Forte and author of Mogul, Mom & Maid: the Balancing Act of the Modern Woman, to get her thoughts on women and the industry.
My first question for Liz was, “Have advertisers gotten better with their advertising and messages outside of the few examples that are focused on female empowerment?”
Liz replied, “Not really. We still see images of moms in kitchens with babies on their hips. Everyone is focusing on millennial moms as a massive market and they see the huge market and money potential, but honing in on one type of mom misses the mark. It ignores working moms, forgets about moms of tweens and teens and ignores the ‘sandwich’ mom.”
The industry still singularly pegs all women as moms, not multi-faceted individuals with interests outside of motherhood. If brands focused on developing the right marketing messages, they could actually help play an important role in helping the perception of women and mothers evolve.
Liz offered the following advice for marketers looking to reach moms:
1. Create a diverse marketing team. If you want to reach women, you need women on your team.
2. Make her life easier. Today’s mom is busy, so be sure your value proposition is clear: tell her how you will make her life better. Don’t just sell her a coffee maker; sell her a better morning. Don’t just sell her a new car; sell her a better experience carpooling, commuting and chauffeuring her kids.
3. Inspire her, but keep it real. Women want to know you understand their lives. Don’t make housework look like fun; no one is buying it. At the same time, tap into the good parts of her life because there are plenty, and inspire her.
4. Be mobile. Remember that different mothers have different purchasing patterns. Understand where and when she spends money.
5. Focus on parenting, not mothering. Women know that men are parents, too, and are capable of sharing the responsibilities of parenting and running a household. Market to parents, not just to mothers.
The on-demand economy understands the lives of women
So, are there any examples of companies that really understand mom?
Liz offered a few standouts: “Stitch Fix. You don’t have to go to a mall. Stitch Fix provides a stylist and ships you five items of clothing at a frequency and based on a detailed profile she creates. They understand the busy woman/working mom who doesn’t have time to get to the mall. Why does this work? It’s not just curated fashion; it’s personalized. And the more you work, the smarter they get it. Another example is TaskRabbit, which provide affordable virtual assistants.”