Friday, May 9, 2008
Excerpt from Maria Bailey's upcoming new book, "Mom 3.0"
In over a decade of formally studying moms, I have never seen as much of a frenzy surrounding one type of marketing initiative as I’ve seen with mom bloggers. In the recent history of marketing to moms there have been certain initiatives that gather attention of media, marketers and the consumer. Few will forget the popularity of affiliate marketing in the hay day of the Internet. It was a popular way for companies to form an alliance with mom webmasters that included a revenue stream for the mom and access to the mom’s peers. Freebie offers and online coupons soon followed giving moms access to special discounts they could electronically share with their friends. Chat rooms and message boards created forums for dialogues between, moms, brands and experts. Technology evolved and then podcasting became a popular way to connect with moms. Attention turned to consumer generated content as word of mouth marketing formalized itself into a national association and Time put YOU on the cover in 2006 as Person of the Year. Through all these stages of marketing to moms the media has never focused so much on the involvement and engagement of companies and moms as it has on Mommy Bloggers. Companies have never scrambled so quickly to understand mom bloggers. I’ve watched media buyers, public relations and advertising managers blindly spend unallocated budgets on mommy blogger programs with little regard for reach, impressions or other measurements. Adding to the rush to play are the accidental business women formerly known as mom bloggers. Mothers who simply started a blog to chronicle their journey as a mother or to find like-minded women with children are suddenly receiving hundreds of product samples, special event invitations and free merchandise in their in-boxes. In fact, the present activity in the mom blogosphere makes this chapter the most exciting to write yet the most difficult. My fear is that the mom blogosphere is changing and evolving so quickly that what I write today will not be relevant six months or a year from now. However I remind myself that there is a great of knowledge in understanding the evolution of a media as well as knowing how to execute successful campaigns with it. As I write this book, blogging is the most explosive marketing initiative in the marketplace today; however I feel it is only halfway to maturity. I believe the progression of mom blogging as it approaches maturity will affect not only how marketers of the future will deliver their messages but also what consumers expect from companies when they deliver that message to their peers. The days of free word of mouth marketing might be coming to an end. Only time will tell.