Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This week, the Marketing to Moms Coalition, a professional industry organization of which I am a proud founder, awarded its fifth annual H.E.R Award to Quaker Oats for its "Afterschool Rocks" campaign for Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. In the event you aren't aware of the coalition or its award, let me fill you in. The coalition is an independent organization dedicated to supporting and promoting an understanding of mothers as the most powerful consumer group in the United States. It serves as a resource for industry professionals and is dedicated to providing insights, identifying trends and connecting members. Membership is free and you can learn more here.
The H.E.R. Award is presented each year to a company that has executed a high-impact marketing campaign that honors, empowers and respects mothers. Past winners include Purex, Clorox, Sara Lee and Whirlpool. Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars now adds itself to the list of honorees.
The Quaker "Afterschool Rocks' rocked with moms because it identified a common behavior of this consumer group -- bonding with their children through music -- and leveraged it via multiple mediums. It integrated pop culture to engage the child and offered moms a philanthropic tie-in via a cause-marketing affiliation with the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization.
Quaker partnered with VerveLife, a tech-driven music marketing solution to offer exclusive video content from artists such as Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo. The content smartly focused on the impact the moms of each of these artists had on their career positioning moms as a hero in the eyes of her child. Yay! A micro-site offered a library of 250 "mom approved" songs which could be downloaded.
In-store end-caps and on-package messaging spoke to mom while she was in the purchasing mode. According to Bill Fiely, director of Quaker Snack Bars, "The goal of the campaign was to use music to inspire healthy lifestyles, balanced nutrition and the importance of staying active afterschool." Congratulations, Bill, not only did you succeed in reaching your goal, but you did it in way that was creative, respectful of mom's desire to be cool, hip and up to date with her child's music and afterschool activities. You also elevated her in the eyes of her child.
Brands who want to successfully engage today's mothers need to create campaigns that empower mom to reach her goals. Universal among mothers are five key themes that motivate them toward reaching their goals. Pick one: Nurturing Relationships, Sharing, Doing it Better and Simpler, Raising Happy and Healthy Children, and The Sense of Accomplishment.
Quaker built its campaign on mom's goal of nurturing relationships. Marketing programs built on one of these key motivators and that deliver the message through multiple platforms allow brands to develop a dialogue with moms that is relevant, intuitive and valuable. Apply it to your next campaign and perhaps next year your brand will earn the H.E.R. Award.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Last month, I wrote the first of a two-part article unveiling the results of a survey aimed at discovering any shifts in the shopping habits of the most powerful consumer group known as “Moms”. From the dozens of questions asked by BSM Media and Totsy.com to over 1,900 Moms, the results were sifted down into four key topics. Read about the first two topics; the impact of the recession and the emotions behind shopping, in April’s Engage post. The two remaining topics reveal online shopping patterns and the current trends in seasonal shopping occasions, with comparisons between generational groups.
Online Shopping Trends
It’s safe to say that almost every Mom has purchased an item online, because of cost-savings, the convenience of shopping from a desktop, finding the elusive toy-of-the-season or a combination of all three (or more). Different factors drive the family CFO to the Internet, but the fact that every Mom from every generation uses the Internet for purchases or research is a significant trend that is not going anywhere but up.
· Online research and online sales sites are the most popular methods moms use when finding deals on the Internet.
· The majority of women in the survey indicated that they occasionally shop at online sales sites, with Groupon leading the way as the most widely known.
· Clothing is the most popular item purchased from online sales sites. Moms are more likely to shop for themselves and their home via online sales sites, and less likely to purchase kid’s items.
· Generational comparisons show that Gen Y is the most prevalent generation using online sales sites, however Gen X accounts for nearly as many purchases. (Use these numbers for the generational splits: Gen Y and Millennial Moms were born in mid-1970s, Gen X Moms were born from 1976 back to 1965 and Boomer Moms were born between 1964 to 1946.)
· Clothing, home items and entertainment were the most popular items purchased in 2010, although GenX had an exceptional interest in food deals.
Seasonal and Holiday Spending
With a major spending occasion in every season, it’s appropriate to address holiday and seasonal shopping occasions – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Summertime, and Back-to-School - which account for sales peaks that make or break retailers.
· In terms of overall gift buying at every holiday, toys are still the most popular product category. Between 50% and 75% of parents surveyed had purchased at least one toy online in 2010, with many Gen X and Boomer Moms allowing their children to help them with the online shopping, most likely due to the children’s ages.
· Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are two of the rare holidays that don’t involve toys. However, these holidays have more meaning with younger children, and moms are more likely to be treated to an experience and time together while Dads are more likely to receive a present relating to a hobby or activity. Both parents make sure their spouse unwraps a gift from the children, with handmade, keepsake gifts topping the list as most valuable.
· Summertime is a leading seasonal spending category, mostly focused on weather-appropriate clothing and entertainment. Moms indicated in the survey that books are the most popular item to keep children occupied during summer months, especially during travel. Toys and electronics ranked second after books. Comparing generations, Gen Y Moms are more likely to purchase toys and games for the summer months, while Gen X Moms frequently buy sports equipment.
· Back-to-School Spending is universal among Moms. Viewed as an opportunity to provide their child with a good start to the school year, Moms place the highest importance on clothing and school supplies. In the survey, 63% of Moms indicated they would purchase new items even though their child didn’t need them-an interesting perspective in a recession.
· Most Moms involve their children in shopping for school supplies, but reserve the final say at checkout.
Considering the recent economic crisis, it’s interesting to note that while three generations of mothers have altered their shopping patterns, Moms continue to spend money on their children and the home (putting personal purchases low on the list). Moms are turning to online sales sites, discount shopping and the Internet for the best price or research, with seasonal and holiday spending ranking high in the family budget. Are your online marketing strategies taking advantage of these trends?
Monday, May 9, 2011
Recently, over 1,900 Moms across the U.S. completed an online survey conducted by Totsy.com and BSM Media, with results offering valuable insight on Mom's shopping habits and trends. Via dozens of survey questions, this is the first in a two-part series that offer a fresh look at the impact of the recession on moms and shopping, and the emotions behind shopping.
It's hard to find anyone not impacted by the current recession. As we optimistically look for the upswing in the economy, the lessons learned from the recent economic climate are lasting ones. The recession's impact on Moms and their shopping habits is reflected with the emergence of the Frugalista Mom, a discerning shopper who clips coupons, shops sales and prices and is proud of the money she saves at the cash register.
- When a Mom can save her family hundreds of dollars each year for a relatively small amount of time clipping coupons and comparing prices online, it's worth it to her as she becomes the financial hero of the house and feels a sense of pride for helping with the bottom line.
- Moms continue to spend for special occasions, with winter holidays and birthdays being occasions where they are most likely to splurge.
- 80% of Moms have adopted new techniques and plan to continue using them, including spending less, using more coupons and purchasing items when they are on sale. Generational differences emerged when Moms were asked to identify these money-saving techniques. To spend less overall, Boomer moms turn to generic products, bulk purchases and traditional in-store tactics compared to Generation X and Y moms, who are most likely to look for deals online using research and social media.
- Online private sales are emerging as a cost-savings technique with 32% of Moms surveyed using them, with the highest concentration among Generation Y moms.
- Where have moms reduced spending during the recession? Travel, entertainment and beauty products lead the list as the first items to get cut from the family budget. The majority of Moms admitted that they buy less for themselves and spend less on the items they purchase.
Retail therapy is real. We've all heard this term that definitely resonates with moms. In the survey, we explored how emotions play a role in mom's shopping habits. Surprisingly, shopping is associated with a high level of stress for moms, though most moms responded that shopping is a mood booster.
- Moms feel a sense of accomplishment, especially when they get a good deal. To get those deals, 65% of moms surveyed preferred to shop regular retail, but on sale. A total of 88% described their preferred method of shopping as rational-spending -- a little money for a lot of product.
- Getting that good deal is held in high regard, similar to guiltless chocolate or a special night out with friends or family.
- Shopping as a mood booster for moms translated to 94% of respondents admitting to buying "feel good" purchases a few times each year.
- Generation X and Y moms make more "feel good" purchases than Boomer moms. Items that fit this category, ranked in order, are clothing, sweet treats and accessories such as shoes, handbags and jewelry.
- Even though most moms enjoy shopping, there is a certain level of stress associated with it, particularly when buying bathing suits, jeans and gifts for other people. One of the highest sources of stress? Buying gifts for spouses.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I think about the mysterious county I've just left, the Marketing to Mom Conference in Turkey, and the interesting dialogue that occurred between marketers and Muslim mothers, several of whom were bloggers. You might be surprised to learn they circled back to the same conservations we have shared on this very blog over the past couple of years. In fact, I am quietly chuckling here in seat 4A as I recall finishing the sentence of my Turkish interpreter as she translated the discussion between Elif Dogan, a popular mom blogger, and marketers in the audience.
"How do your readers know if you are sincere in recommending a product you've received for free from a company?" one brand manager asked. Another quickly follows with, "What if I send you a product and you don't like it, will you write a bad review?" And without hesitation, Elif gives the same answers that social media moms in the U.S. have given marketers for years. You see, engaging mom bloggers is new and many companies are unsure on how to work with these influential mothers to promote their products. Sound familiar?
In fact, engaging moms in most types of marketing is new and may provide an explanation as to why this conference would fly an American mom marketer halfway around the world to talk about marketing. The attendees weren't there to hear how connecting with the 20 million Turkish mothers could boost their bottom line. They were eager to hear the lessons learned by American brands.
Two dozen brands from Frito Lay to Mercedes Benz were interested in learning from our hindsights in engaging moms. They wanted to know the successes, best-in-class marketing programs and, most importantly, the mistakes made by U.S. companies.
So here at 35,000 feet, I reflect on the lessons the industry has learned in the decade since Marketing to Moms was published. At a time when marketers are looking for what's next and beyond blogging, it's probably a good time to review some of the lessons I presented in Turkey. After all, they are still valuable in the land where they originated.
Engage the right mom for your brand.
Call them mom bloggers. Call them Social Media Moms. Call them what you want but get to know them before you engage with them. Read their tweets. Follow them on Facebook and read their blogs for more than one day. It's important to work with moms who share your brand values and have common interests.
Develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
Moms want more than a generic email and press release that starts off, "I thought your audience would enjoy this information." Moms want a relationship with you. They want you to think of building their brand as well as your own. And if you don't know how to do this, just ask her. I'm sure she has several ideas on how a mutually beneficial relationship partnership can work for her and you as well.
The sphere of influence of a mother extends beyond her life stage and city limits.
Want to launch a product for newly pregnant moms? Go to new moms. Trying to build a toddler brand? Engage with moms of preschoolers. The influence of experienced moms descends to less experience moms just as much as it does laterally between moms in the same peer group. It also expands beyond geographical borders. A mom in California can be just as influential in the day care decisions of a mom in Florida as a mom in her own city as Facebook and other social media platforms create a virtual playground for moms.
Moms do more than just read blogs.
They listen to podcasts and watch videos online. They share photos and hold mixers in their homes and local communities. She's trading coupons, shopping private sales and producing online webisodes. This is where the future lies for companies looking for creative marketing programs. It's in engaging with her wherever she is and whatever she is doing.
There are probably a few lessons you would add to my list and I encourage you to leave them as a comment. Learning from each other is very valuable. In my present, reflective mental state, I'm reminded of the Dalai Lama who says, "Don't lose the lesson," and somehow I think his philosophy applies to marketing, too.
There's still another five hours of flight ahead and I'm tired. I think I'll join my fellow passengers and shut my eyes. Perhaps I'll dream of the next big thing in Mom Marketing and share it with you next month.
If you've heard me speak lately or have followed my Engage:Mom posts, the message won't come as a surprise as I've been preaching it for months to both brands and bloggers. It's simple" Mom influencers, the ones who share product recommendations with other moms, persuade their peers to buy a particular brand or share samples of your products with other mothers, can be found outside of Mommy Bloggers.
There are so many incredibly influential mothers out there in the mom community who have never written, read or commented on a blog yet are engaging with large groups of mothers and talking about your products. Additionally, there are moms who blog that are doing so much more than receiving your free products and posting about it.
Marketers, public relations agencies and brands have enjoyed a time of being able to obtain quick hits of word of mom buzz online but the effectiveness of this strategy is being questioned by both brands and mothers. It's time to get creative with your marketing, reach beyond blogger reviews and develop a multi-platform marketing plan using mom influencers of all varieties.
And just to be transparent, I preach this same message to my friends who are mom bloggers. They, too, need to expand their reach to stay relevant to markers. It's time to identify the best Power Moms for your brand and allow them to deliver your product message while they are engaging with moms along their journey.
Before you head over to Google and search Mom Influencers, let me introduce you to a few mothers I consider Power Mom Mavens.
Trisha Novotry, known online as 24/7 Mom. Yes, she has a blog but ask most of her thousands of followers and they will tell you it's her live webcast that keeps them connected. You will find her at the Mom Congress each year interacting with moms, educators and legislators. She influences moms in her community as a former board member of MOPS and now as an active member in her church and children's school.
Andrea Deckard, known online as the founder of www.Savingslifestyle.com. She began in the mom market as a blogger but her influence has transcended the blogosphere. This mother of three boys not only engages moms online with money-saving techniques but also educates community members on frugal living. Her local seminars bring out 80-100 women every time she speaks. She appears on local news shows who promote her advice on their websites. Outside of empowering moms with coupon-wise advice, Andrea connects with women while she supports the athletic activities of her sons. You can also find Andrea participating in church missions and numerous women conferences.
Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides. Lisa is the perfect example of a mother who touches thousands of moms and did so long before blogging became a verb. Stroller Strides is a franchise company that promotes fitness among new moms. They have over 1,200 groups in 44 states. Lisa connects with each of these women. That's a lot of moms she's influencing. You can see her in print in Entrepreneur magazine, on television, on stage as well as in video. She's the author of numerous books on fitness and the founder of her own product line.
Pamela Nagata, coordinator for Parents Connect of San Diego. You probably have never heard of Pamela but ask any of the 4,000 mom members of Parents Connect and they know exactly who she is. Parents Connect, the largest group of moms in Southern California, is now owned by Scripts and runs Sandiegoparent.com. If I'm looking for mothers or events with promotional opportunities, she's my go-to gal.
Molly Gold, founder of Go Mom Inc. Molly has run a website since way back in the '90s when she launched her first product. She has empowered millions of mothers over the years with scheduling and organization skills as well as product ideas. Today she tweets incisively and broadcasts her message on her live show on MomTV.com and with additional webcasts on her site.
There are dads too who are making a mark through their multi-media endeavors. Dads like Jim Silver of www.timetoplaymag.com and Tim Sullivan, publisher of PTO magazine.
Technology has made it easier in many ways to for marketers to reach moms. However, just as moms are consuming multiple media and going about their offline lives, it's important for marketers to move into the next horizon of mom marketing.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
For marketers, these events can present great opportunities to get to know moms and, of course, to get products in front of them. So to prepare marketers for 2011 and this growing trend of CyberEvents, I've composed this tutorial: "CyberEvents 101."
Twitter Parties: Describing a Twitter party to someone who has never attended one is like trying to describe the experience of walking on the moon. Twitter Parties were invented by Amy Lupold Bair of ResourcefulMommy.com, although there are many others attempting to replicate them. Basically, a Twitter Party is a one-hour event on Twitter where all the attendees use the same (#) hashtag so they can follow along in the conversation. The organizer of the Twitter Party sets an agenda that normally includes discussion points and lots of prizes for the attendees. It's a great way to bring awareness to your brand or drive traffic to your site. The challenge for most independent party organizers is gaining attendance to their parties; that is why most marketers hire people like Resourcefulmommy (@ResourcefulMom on Twitter) to run them on their behalf. The benefit to Twitter Parties is that all the followers of all the moms in attendance will see your branded hashtag and many will peek over to see what's happening during the party.
Online Mom Socials: These are the newest CyberEvents that are attracting hundreds of moms. They were introduced by MomTV.com and are best described as a Live Twitter Party. Moms can attend via Twitter or live chat on a pre-assigned MomTV channel. The host leads the conversation, showing off products and giving away prizes all via live video. A typical online social can attract 200-2,000 mothers, depending on the party theme and prizes. The benefit to marketers? Moms can actually see your product and the host can demonstrate the features in real time. Additionally, your brand still generates branded tweets extending the reach to Twitter as well. Unlike a Twitter Party, the video is archived and lives online for moms to see well after the party is over.
Live Talks and Facebook Chats: Earlier this year, The Motherhood, introduced Live Talks for moms. They are created around a subject of interest to moms and several guest host moms lead the discussion. Similar to Twitter Parties, the moms type in their dialogue; however, the Live Talks are hosted in a closed environment on TheMotherhood.com. Facebook Chats are becoming popular as well. Again, there is typically a discussion leader, in many cases a well-known expert on a particular subject. Moms are invited to attend and the attendees post their thoughts on a dedicated thread on the brand's Facebook page. Both of these CyberEvents can attract hundreds of mothers. Attracting moms is a challenge unless you are leveraging the relationships of a peer group. Cooper and Emily are both well-known and well-liked moms, so it is easy for them to attract moms to their Live Talks on The Motherhood. For an unknown brand with few mom friends, it can be more challenging. (Think of going to a party when you don't know a soul in the room. No one likes that feeling.)
Keep in mind that a party is only as good as the hostess or host. As a marketer, this responsibility lies in your lap. Just as you would prepare for an event in the physical world, it's important to make all the appropriate plans before rushing out to invite moms to attend, including a plan for party crashers. Remember, a good party is never complete without fun, friends and lots of great dialogue. Follow these "CyberEvents 101" guidelines, and your brand or message will be the life of the party.