MediaPost- Engage Moms
Last feed update: Monday November 24th, 2014 10:55:32 AM
Is waking up at 4 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving really becoming a thing of the past? As one of the biggest shopping days of the year approaches, stories are once again making headlines on whether Black Friday, the uniquely American phenomenon of fabulous deals and frenzied buying, is dead. With Black Friday-level prices showing up earlier and earlier (my inbox agrees), Thanksgiving Day store hours pulling shoppers in the doors and online shopping taking its share, the impact of this one-day event is definitely changing.
The other day, I was standing in line at Target when this child in line caught my eye - or rather, my ear. He was going bananas - yelling, screaming, grabbing just about everything in sight and heaving it to the floor. Meanwhile, his young Mom couldn't be bothered. Instead of paying attention to the needs of her child, she had her eyes fixated on the screen of her new iPhone6, no doubt checking out how many of her fellow Millennials decided on Pumpkin Spice Lattes that morning. Or was she?
For a lot of working moms, just getting through the day can feel like running a marathon. And as any marathon runner will tell you, if you're not making health and fitness a priority in your life, you're never going to make it to the finish line.
Many brands recognize the purchasing power of the female demographic and seek to target women as their primary consumer, for anything from consumer package goods and household appliances to automobiles, financial services and luxury vacations. However, brands that don't take into account the below marketing misconceptions when targeting women in a rapidly evolving social media environment, are missing a real opportunity to gain positive awareness and build brand loyalty.
Three in four moms consider themselves the sole decision-maker when it comes to new car purchases. Yet, 91% of women feel misunderstood by car manufacturers. I wondered why, so I reached out to Jody Devere of "Ask Patty," an automotive expert who lives and breathes the automotive space every day.
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!"
We tend to think of moms as children's first teachers, their guides as they learn about and explore the world. But as digital technology becomes a greater part of kids' everyday lives, are mothers the ones shepherding them online to engage in interactive experiences? When looking at the media and technology co-consumption behaviors of moms and dads with their children, interesting patterns emerge.
As you head to the store to pick up your bag of Halloween candy and last-minute costume items, you will notice that sitting next to the brightly lit jack-o-lanterns are brightly lit Christmas trees. Yes, it appears that the holiday shopping season is upon us and as soon as Nov. 1 hits, you might find yourself in a full holiday panic.
Holiday season is in full swing and many marketers will once again turn to the influence of Mom Bloggers. Just as technology has changed since last holiday season, so have the most effective ways to leverage your relationships with moms. Here are a few ways to expand your tactics and maximize your marketing with these social media mavens.
After graduating from business school, I jumped right into the marketing world with a job as associate brand manager. One of the perks of the job was that I had the opportunity to spend a year learning how things work "on the other side of the fence" - that is, on the digital publishing side. I'm about three-quarters of the way through my year - focused specifically on the mom marketplace - and so far it's been a wonderfully eye-opening experience. In business school, or even in traditional brand marketing jobs, we don't usually get this kind of hands-on experience with the complicated world of digital publishing. To help bridge that gap, I thought I'd share some of the key lessons I've learned from my experience in the "real" digital world:
Pinterest is at the forefront of changing media habits and some of the most active users are Millennial Moms. Not just a giant recipe box for planning meals, Pinterest plays an important role in anything she is planning. According to Bob Gilbreath, the president of Ahalogy, a leading Pinterest marketing optimization company, the Millennial mom is using Pinterest for search and planning all along the entire purchase funnel.
Yes, it's only September and there are a steady stream of emails that are laying the foundation for a busy holiday sales season. And if this week's U.S. News & World Report story is any indication, it will be a prosperous year for products and brands with major players like Wal-Mart, UPS and FedEx reporting sharp increases in holiday hiring (always a good indicator of a positive forecast).
You just left the house, you're in your car, and you're halfway down the block when you realize you left your wallet on the kitchen table. Do you turn the car around and go back? Now imagine that instead of your wallet, you've left your smartphone. Are your tires squealing as you make that U-turn?
It's that time of year and parents are all in the midst of settling into new back-to-school routines. I recently interviewed Tim Sullivan, President of School Family Media. School Family Media was founded 15 years ago and works with PTAs and PTOs helping parents connect with schools and teachers in grades K through 8.
As marketers evaluate our ever-evolving leisure-time environment, the critical role played by Millennial Moms cannot be overstated. Not only do they represent an audience of influential customers with expanding economic power today, they are also responsible for teaching content consumption behaviors to next generation audiences, their kids. According to our research, these moms are using new tools to connect, communicate and consume content and their kids are watching and modeling these new media behaviors.
With the back-to-school rush complete, you have a few weeks to take a breath before the madness of the holiday season begins. September is a great time to look at your overall marketing to mom strategies and see where you are finding success and where you might want to put in a little more effort as we head into the very important Q4.
In the spirit of the back-to-school season, let's open our math books and look at some big numbers. Moms spend an estimated $2.4 trillion on products and services every year. The global baby care market is expected to exceed $66 billion in U.S. dollars by 2017, with close to 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year.
If it says "mom," is it a turnoff? Have we gotten to the point where marketing to "mom" works against us? Does "moms love this!" fall on deaf ears? Have we saturated the market with mom messages to the point moms no longer hear them? Are we too myopic in our focus on mothers?
In late July, I attended the 10th anniversary celebration of BlogHer, the world's largest conference for female bloggers. This marked my seventh BlogHer event: Twice, I have been a panelist, the rest of the time an avid listener as both a blogger and marketer. Even after all these years, the women there never cease to amaze me, with their back stories, their passion, their pursuit of truth for a broad diversity of constituencies, their inclusion of topics ranging from parenting to mental illness to autism to politics to technology. Some have chosen to make a difference with their blogs, others simply to make money. The best balance both.
Everyone's getting excited for the Fall TV Season, but is that really what we should be calling it? These days, a better term might be the Fall Screen Season or the Fall Entertainment Season. Or the Fall Cross-Platform Media-Mashup Season.
The voice of Mom is powerful. It’s something that brands are desperate to attract and at the same time, it’s one thing that brands fear the most. The motivated voice of one mom can mobilize a movement against a brand, having real impact right where it hurts – online and at the shelf. We all remember what happened to Pampers Dry Max diapers. A mom loyal to Pampers Cruisers was taken by surprise when she discovered structural changes to the diapers. Well, her baby developed diaper rash. She called Procter & Gamble out on it and received an inadequate response. So she rallied other moms and amassed an 11,000-strong Facebook group: Pampers bring back the OLD CRUISERS/SWADDLERS. The overwhelming number of complaints drove the Consumer Product Safety Commission to review the claims, and though they found no link between the Dry Max diapers and the diaper rash, P&G had to settle a lawsuit and is still dealing with the mama drama on its website, using paid search ads to steer the conversation. P&G is a global, multi-billion dollar company and all it took was one jilted mom with a Facebook account to get their attention. These stories aside (you can read a ton of them in Paul Gillin’s Attack of the Customers: Why Critics Assault Brands Online and How To Avoid Becoming a Victim), when it comes to brand affinity, the voice of the mom consumer shows love with silence and dollars, and dislike with the volume turned up to 11. A Social Media Explorer study tracked and ranked the top 50 brands by social media mentions associated with love and hate. Interestingly, brands overall had seven times more hate mentions than love mentions. So, since it’s more likely that hate is fueling moms’ contributions to social media, marketers need to steer clear of behaviors that land them swiftly and squarely on moms’ sh*t lists. Here are just a few things to avoid: 1. Change Without Notice – As we saw with Pampers, when a product changes its form, size, or contents, even subtly, moms’ eyebrows raise. Moms are a sophisticated audience, and they know brands make changes to keep costs down. The damage comes when they feel the brand attempted to sneak a change by them unnoticed. A transparent, proactive approach is always best when introducing any changes to a brand. 2. Pestering Promotions – Moms are often deluged with requests to help their kids collect ’em all, like that complete set of licensed figurines from the latest superhero movie franchise, or those trading cards from that weird cartoon. Free with purchase. But it means buying kids’ meals or cereal boxes for six straight weeks. Moms are quick to see these schemes as doomed from the start, and the brands behind them become something to avoid altogether. 3. Manipulation – It’s a challenge for brands to avoid being seen as manipulative because consumers are keenly aware of the fact that marketers’ goal is to entice them to buy more stuff. A brand built on altruism can be especially susceptible. Take Dove. The Real Beauty concept has skillfully earned moms’ love with emotive videos and feel-good messaging. But while the most recent iteration featuring placebo beauty patches is on message, it serves as a strong reminder that Dove is really, really good at duping you. 4. Pinkification – It’s great to market a product that is uniquely made for women. But it really has to be made for women. As in, a man would not get the same quality experience when using the product. When a tool set, beer, or pen is splashed in pink, turning it into the “For Her” version, it’s just shallow, off-putting, and insulting to women’s intelligence. (I’m looking at you, Bic.) Just don’t do it. 5. Ignoring the Basics – It’s common to see a great marketing effort succeed in getting moms’ family-sized wallets in the door, only to be waylaid by missing some of her basic expectations. We’ve all seen those kids’ clothing stores that are merchandised so tightly they’re impossible to navigate with a stroller, the restaurants with great kids’ deals and too few high chairs, and the happy “family-friendly” airlines with no family pre-boarding. Make the brand story match the brand experience and you’ll have smooth sailing. These tips are common sense, but I find that they all fall under one of moms’ trusty parenting adages: treat others the way you would like to be treated. It’s that simple. If you consistently shape your brand’s actions through this lens, you’ll be fine. And yet, many brands have a hard time staying off mom’s sh*t list.
If you are like many mom marketers, you are probably spending this week recovering from BlogHer, the annual blogging conference that just celebrated its 10th anniversary in San Jose. You might be, as blogger Janie Emaus calls it, "BlogHerized"- a mind-boggling state of sorting through the Who, Where, Why and When of What you experienced at the conference. You met some amazing bloggers, but how do you begin finding those blogs that will be the best partners for your brand?
On any given night, on a not-so-infrequent basis, you can find me at the Forever 21 store in New York's Times Square. Call it a guilty pleasure or perhaps a convenient stop at 11 p.m. after a business dinner; however, I just can't help myself from stopping in on my way back to my hotel. At that hour, the store is still buzzing with deal-seeking fashionistas.
When a woman becomes a mom, her life fills with "firsts": first bath, first steps, first time sleeping through the night. While each first gives moms a reason to celebrate, many usher in a new set of challenges.
There is no doubt that moms have found their voice in countries all around the world. I recently spoke to Aaron Sherinian, VP of communications and public relations for the UN Foundation, who said, "Ask a mom today where she lives, and she will tell you she has a global zip code. Don't assume she only cares about one issue or cause and don't assume that it's a cause that lives in her backyard. She communicates on more than one channel and is interested in a host of issues. Today's mom may want to help out at her local school, but she's also worried about economic development, health care, climate, education, poverty, hunger and human rights issues around the world. It's important to meet her where she is and help her as she bridges her involvement in both local and global issues."
Becoming a mom changes everything: your priorities, your schedule, your ability to sleep more than four hours in a row. But nothing feels as dramatic and surprising as the changes in your shape and body image. In just a few months you go from using a rubber band to keep your jeans closed to wearing what can feel like a small tent. And for most women, the body image roller-coaster ride doesn't stop after childbirth. Maybe you go back to your pre-pregnancy weight, but none of your old clothes fit. Maybe you struggle with stretch marks or changes in your breasts. Some women even go up a shoe size!
I love surveys, data and statistics that turn opinions and emotions in to concrete, quantifiable numbers. Whether it's for social media conferences we host, the dozens I attend each year or at the request of a client, survey data bring it all together. That's why I'm pleased to see this recent report by Kelby Carr of Type-A Parent, "Parent Bloggers Mean Business." It's refreshing to see more validation of what we know about moms who blog, the blogosphere, and particularly what we have been telling brands for a long time.
I've been attending mom blogger conferences for years-this summer will be my seventh BlogHer event. Yet this month was the first time I had the opportunity to turn out for the Mom 2.0 Summit, which took place in Atlanta. Staff members who had gone in the past highly recommended it, and finally, this year, I had no scheduling conflicts.
A new study from DeVries Global focuses on the power and influence of the "otherhood," a word used to describe women who are not moms. The word is actually the title of a new book by SavvyAuntie.com founder Melanie Notkin. In fact, Notkin partnered with DeVries Global on the study, which sheds new light on a demographic of women-moving them beyond the "Sex and the City" stereotypes and showing women who are smart, savvy and discerning in all aspects of their lives.
Yesterday, actress Gwyneth Paltrow called for an end to the Mommy Wars. What she doesn't realize is that most moms are one step ahead of her. Our new research shows that the battle between stay-at-home moms and working moms isn't raging as fiercely as it once did. Moms today are showing more respect and empathy for each other's choices.
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