Monday, September 10, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
This weekend, the buzz in the social media mom playground was not a hot new product or clever advertising campaign. It was centered on a new list titled, “Global Top 100 Mommy Bloggers to Treat and Pamper In 2012”. It was published by a marketing firm that, very obviously, is trying to establish its expertise in the world of moms. I am not going to link to the list or the firm's website intentionally, and you'll understand why in the next few paragraphs. I became aware of the list when I suddenly began receiving "please take me off the list" messages across my Facebook feed. Curiosity got the best of me, and I discovered that I was one of the anointed on the list. Now don't get me wrong; I appreciate it when someone recognizes my sphere of influence among other mothers. It has taken many years to build the relationships that I have with moms, and I hold these women and their best interests close to my heart.
My immediate response was not one of jubilation. Instead, it hit me like a bite into a bubble gum filled with a sour gel. I twitched, I cringed and then I did what most influential moms do when something hits them wrong. I turned to my friends on Facebook, posted my feelings and asked them to share theirs. It didn't take long to gain validation from other moms, many of whom were also on the list, that this was absolutely the wrong approach to connecting with influential mommy bloggers.
1) We are not mommy bloggers. At least to people who are taller than 3 feet 5 inches, don't eat chicken nuggets for breakfast and are old enough to vote. Particularly if we have never met each other or communicated in any way. I've written on this subject before on this blog- if you missed it - you can click here. Bottom line is that research supports that moms involved in social media and who own a blog don't really want marketers to call them "mommy.”
2) Influential Moms are not asking to be pampered or "treated" by brands. They are asking to be paid. Most work very hard to build their communities of influence. They sacrifice time with their families, they give up sleep at night and they tolerate the prostitution of their name by companies like the one who published this list. Most moms aren't in this game to be pampered by a strange brand that has no established relationship with them. They are trying to run a business. And in the off chance that they would love your offer for a little time off from the family, I assure you that if they are indeed one of the top influencers, they have piles of invitations on their desks. If your brand strategy is to "out-pamper" other brands, here’s my advice. Save the airline tickets, spa fees and fancy dinners, because you will ultimately fail. Moms want real relationships. The best "treat" you can give one of these moms is to be transparent, sincere and find a common benefit for both her and your brand.
3) Some of the names on the list weren't even moms. They were websites with a collection of mothers who author blogs. This little detail alone makes me believe that the author did little research into the people behind the names.
4) It was very clear to the women on the list (see the discussion on my Facebook page) that this was an SEO and link strategy for the company that published the list. It was clear that its intent was for each of the 100 “mommy bloggers” to post the link to their site in celebration of sharing their new accolade. Oh, they got links and buzz alright. No fewer than 30 of the top 100 posted thoughts of disgust and negative opinions about the company. Many even posted blogs about it such as Kelby Carr, who I proudly personally know and would indeed call an influencer. But that's the important difference. I know Kelby and I can describe her reach outside of her KLOUT score.
Why companies feel that they have to fabricate relationships with social media moms is beyond me. It's so simple. Establish a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both parties. Don't expect them to work for free and respect them as business women as much as power moms.
Friday, August 3, 2012
What's really ironic is when my teenage children point out good Mom Marketing to me. This was the case last week during the Cincinnati Reds game against the Milwaukee Brewers. My son and I were traveling through the Midwest on college tours when he persuaded me to stop in Cincinnati and enjoy a baseball game. Knowing that I was in the land of Proctor & Gamble, I should have expected to find Mom Marketing in the Great American Ball Park but it was the execution of the "Thank you Mom" Olympic campaign that delighted me. My son immediately pointed out the large "Thank you Mom" banner on the wall in right field.
The real surprise came during a fifth-inning break when the camera on the JumboTron scanned the bleachers to find moms with their children. It was great. Every fan they featured on the large screen was a mom sitting in the stands with her children. It was so heartwarming to see so many Moms smiling with their kids. Best of all, the only branding to the entire JumboTron was a small "P&G" in the lower corner. They didn't need to say anything else. No one could deny that P&G understood mothers at that moment.
HP is another brand doing smart Mom Marketing. It's back-to-school season but instead of just telling moms to buy their product, they have partnered with moms to get their solution-based ePrint printers featured on Pinterest. They know that moms are searching for creative and innovative back-to-school supplies that help their family members organize and prioritize during the school year so they enlisted over 100 moms to create Back-to-School boards on Pinterest. Each board features not only a HP ePrint printer but the best of back-to-school tools. Although it's completely visual, it demonstrates that HP knows that conversations with moms take on very different forms.
Did you ever think that a "fascinator' would become an American fashion accessory? In case you don't recognize the word, it's the small ornate hat-like accessory the royals and their guests wear in England. They were made famous during the royal wedding and later the Queen's Jubilee. Cadbury and Blue Bunny combined the fun of fascinators, chocolate and ice cream by engaging moms in hosting Mommy High Tea Parties (www.mommyparties.com). The customized in-home party kits included a fascinator for each mom and child, product samples of the new Cadbury ice cream bars by Blue Bunny, coupons and a porcelain tea set for the host mom to use during her event. Moms and children enjoyed the magical tea party that every mom dreams of while tweeting, Facebook posting and recording every moment. To see some of the great photos produced by the moms who attended check out: https://www.facebook.com/#!/MommyParties.
My final spot-on mom marketing campaign comes from a food brand. The name of the company doesn't matter to us as marketers. I'm sure, however, that the moms involved with the program will definitely remember the name and more. Instead of setting up shop in New York during BlogHer, this meal-solution brand decided to develop their relationship with moms where it mattered most to them -- around the dinner table while they are away from home. The company sent easy-to-make dinner kits to husbands of mom bloggers traveling to New York. The mom blogger may never see the product but I assure you they will remember who fed her children while they were away. And I bet dad will remember, too.
All of these creative and original marketing programs demonstrate that reaching moms can take on many different looks. The common thread is that each of these campaigns hits the heartstrings of moms and speaks to them at the exact right moment.
Monday, July 16, 2012
- Establish Your Goals: Before the first invitation is issued, your company should establish goals in inviting moms to your retail location or headquarters. Is it one-time-only blog posts and tweets you seek or is it a long-term relationship. If it's the latte, you need to have some parameters of budget, communication and contact strategy before you reach out to moms. A random invitation with no real purpose will only confuse the mom and bring you disappointing results in the end. Remember - you are opening the door to a relationship. The first question a social media mom will ask when receiving your invitation is, "What does your brand want from me in return?"
- Pick the Right Date: I recently got an invitation to visit an upscale resort in Mexico with a group of social media moms. The invite was beautiful and the trip looked magnificent. The only problem was that the public relations team putting the event together had neglected to check the calendar of Social Media conferences. They scheduled the trip right in the middle of BlogHer. Although there is no official calendar for Social Media Moms, the most comprehensive list of events and conferences can be found at ShePosts.com, www.sheposts.com. Also take into consideration the life of a mom. Avoid planning events during her busy times, Back to School, Halloween, Spring Break and Graduation season. Mother's Day is another time that she prefers to be with family rather than your marketing team.
- Select the Right Moms: This sounds easy, but I can't tell you how many brands invite moms to events that just don't make sense. Recently, I was on a trip to a family destination for toddlers with moms who had teenagers. They were all popular mom bloggers with large followings but in my opinion didn't fit the brand. Additionally the brand had neglected to invite a culturally diverse group of moms and it was very apparent in the photos we took. The trip was fantastic and I could tell the brand spent a great deal of money on the event. However, I could only imagine the additional exposure they would have received in the mom market by having the right moms at the event. Trust me on this note of experience; sometimes you will gain a deeper, more valuable relationship with a mom who is lesser known than in inviting only the largest, most popular mom bloggers.
- Expect the Unexpected: You are inviting moms. Their lives involve children which mean their lives have many unexpected challenges and obstacles. Don't be surprised when a mom asks you to accommodate her toddler or she needs to join the trip later than you had planned because her child has fallen ill. It happens and in any relationship you have to give and take.
- Establish the Right Follow Up: You've invested a lot of time and money in hosting your media event with moms. You've established a relationship which can easily grow and benefit both you and the social media mom. Talk to the moms before they depart about their expectations for moving forward and how they would like to see the relationship grow. Just ask them. The one thing moms have plenty of is opinions and they will be happy to share them before packing their bags and heading home.
Friday, May 11, 2012
In Apex, N.C., a group of bloggers closed the streets to host a party that included local retailers. Online, the four-hour Twitter party trended #2 trumped only by the release of “Star Trek.” Today, National Mom’s Nite Out boasts 1,100 events with over 100 of them being held at Simon Malls nationwide along with mom events in Korea, Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia.
So why did Moms embrace the idea of a national night out? Because it recognized a common behavior among moms and offered a solution. The reality is that Mother’s Day is actually a lot of work for mothers. Over 85% of mothers report that they have to devote multiple hours of Mother’s Day to the other moms in their lives (i.e., mothers-in-law and grandmothers). More than 70% of moms actually have to celebrate Mother’s Day with more than two other mothers in their families. They are preparing gifts and meals for grandmothers, mothers-in-law, and all the caretakers in the lives of their own children. What began as a day to celebrate Moms, in reality has become a day with lots of chores attached to it.
We recently asked 1,312 moms for their thoughts on taking a night off and Mother’s Day in general. We thought it would be fun to share them with you:
- 82% believe they deserve a night off; however, the greatest challenges are money and finding childcare.
- When mothers do take a night off, they worry most about their spouse not putting the kids to bed on time. Some even report a fear of Dad falling asleep on the job.
- The majority reports having a night out with friends only twice a year while their spouse or partner averages one night a month.
- Over half would elect to have dinner and drinks at their favorite restaurant during a night off followed by going to a chick flick.
- Overwhelmingly, moms wear black when they go out for a mom’s night out; however, they elect jeans over a dress and heels. And let’s not forget the hair: 76% of moms prefer to take their hair out of the ponytail and wear it down.
- 39% would be willing to give up their favorite snack for one year in order to have a night out with friends once a week. Another 28% would give up television.
- 29% feel guilty while they are out, while 37% feel relaxed, and 13% even feel victorious in managing to take a night off.
- The service moms most like to receive to escape from the daily routine is a massage (47%) followed by a manicure and pedicure (38%).
- Finally, we had to ask the silly question: What celebrity guy would you most like to have accompany you and your friends during a night out? Watch out, Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds, you are in demand with the mom segment!
National Mom’s Nite Out is only one example of how brands can successfully connect with moms by identifying common behaviors and offering a solution. Fruschetta Pizza is leveraging the a mom’s desire not to cook on Mother’s Day. It identified that 86% of moms don’t want to cook on their special day so it has launched its Rally for Real Moms campaign, giving moms the chance to voice their thoughts on Facebook/fruschetta.
It may be too late to launch a solution-based campaign for this Mother’s Day; however, these opportunities exist every day. Find the touch point that best aligns with your brand and get in step with the feelings of moms.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom marketers out there. We hope you’ll enjoy National Mom’s Nite out and a task-free day on May 13.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Here’s where the opportunities lie today for marketers.
1) Easter Baskets- Moms are frantically searching for small, fun items to fill their children’s baskets. If you are a toy company with a product under $10, this is the perfect season to become a Peter Cottontail solution! Healthy, kid-friendly snacks and spring clothing companies can also take advantage of a Mom’s need to find special tokens for her children.
2) Graduation- The gift-giving needs of moms don’t just include college and high school graduates. Thanks to the desire to share the milestones of their children, moms now throw special events for nursery school, elementary and middle school graduations. This is a great time for school supply, technology and keepsake brands to let moms know you are here and ready to meet their gift-giving needs.
3) Summer Camp and Activity Planning- In a short few weeks, the school bell will ring for its final time and moms will be challenged to entertain children for the summer. Now is the time that she is seeking out camps that aren’t already filled and booking daytime activities to keep her attention hungry kids busy.
4) Summer School- In some parts of the US, summer means school. North Carolina moms, among others, are on year-round school and it’s time to restock the pencils, pens and notebooks. For college-bound graduates, it means stocking their dorm rooms. Moms are already looking for deals on bed sheets, college tools and new technology to send with their young adults.
5) Summer Eating- The sun is extending the days for moms and this means her cooking pattern changes. In a recent survey by BSM Media, mom confirmed that the summer means a change in the foods she buys and the dinners she serves. Moms are grilling out more and purchasing more "on the go" foods as her family goes in different directions with the relaxed schedule of summer. She prefers lighter foods and individually packaged snacks.
6) Organization- This is the time of the year when mom is getting organized. She’s putting away the winter clothes that her family barely wore this year and attempting to get organized before her children get out of school. If you are a solution for packing away sweaters or clearing off counter tops, now is the time to reach out with your brand.
7) Travel- I left the most obvious for last. Moms are finalizing their summer travel plans. However, you don’t have to be an exotic beach destination to get her attention. With gas prices high and time short, local amusement areas and state parks have the opportunity to lure mom and the family. She’s looking for experiences that are memorable, affordable and fun.
Keeping in step with moms is one of the most important tactics of marketing to her. Leverage these insights to speak in a meaningful and relevant manner that’s timely and solution-driven and you’ll be successful in marketing with moms.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Close to 70% of Dads indicate that they own a smartphone and use it for shopping, with the most popular use listed as “looking up store locations and hours.” Guess this dispels the myth that men don’t ask for directions. Other popular smartphone uses include keeping family and work schedules (48%) and managing grocery lists and using online coupons (37%).
Social Media in the Spotlight
More Dads than ever are using online tools and social media to get information, communicate with others and save money.
- Online coupons are very popular, with almost 79% of Dads admitting they use email coupons, email offers, blog/deal sites and search engines for specific coupons.
- Ninety-three percent use Facebook and 72% use Twitter to communicate with friends and family.
- Almost 40% of these Dads “like” over 20 brands on Facebook, with 85% liking a brand “whose products/services (they) prefer.” In a close second, 81% of Dads like a brand that offers deals, discounts and coupons.
- 62% post on Facebook when they want to share with family and friends, most often posting pictures of family/friends or reposting news.
As marketers looking for a connection with your consumer, you should use technology to create a relevant and meaningful dialogue to turn your Followers and Friends into loyal customers regardless is they are Mom or DAD.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I have the benefit of being a mom and a blogger. In fact, mom is the probably the title I am most proud of possessing. Last week, I even became a West Point Mom. I am also a blogger. However, I am also a podcaster, a radio talk show host, columnist, author and business owner.
And, in some ways, my roles outside of my blogs makes me more influential for the products I love. So if you had to put a name on me, what would it be? I can assure you it would not be "mommy blogger." No one calls me "mommy," not even my children these days. I prefer to be known as a Social Media Mom or even a Social Media Influencer.
I've never, however, liked to use myself as a focus group of one so, recently, I went out on my Facebook page, not my blog, to ask other moms who blog, what they prefer as a title. My mission was to validate a rumor I've heard among mom bloggers that they hate to be called, mommy bloggers. Here's what I got back, although I will use names or blogs to protect the very opinionated.
First of all, the topic was hot. In less than 15 minutes, I received more than 50 responses. I've summarized some of the common themes and comments.
1) All moms who blog are proud of being moms. Some didn't really care if they are called mommy or mom; what was important to them was that their role as a mom was recognized by brands and peers.
2) Many moms don't blog about parenting or children. These moms felt like the term mommy blogger was limiting and implied that they only blogged about diapers, toys and laundry.
3) Mom bloggers don't call each other mommy bloggers. This tells me a lot about the division between moms, marketers and brands. If you truly understand your consumer or target market, then you should at least use their language when you are speaking to them or about them. One popular mom who blogs said it best, "I don't like to be called mommy anything except by my children.”
4) Why don't companies and the media call dad bloggers, "daddy bloggers?" Good question. Many moms asked this question and left it at that.
5) Mom bloggers use mommy blogger only to open the door to media and brands. They know if they use the term, marketers will be more open to talk to them because, after all, it's a term marketers understand since they coined it.
6) Mommy blogger sounds condescending and doesn't represent the professionalism of moms who own blogs. This is perhaps the comment I heard the most. The media is to blame for breeding the sexiness of the term. It started with “mommy wars.” Sexy sells but, honestly, does anyone thing of their own mommy as sexy?
So what do you call a mom who blogs?
I bestowed the title of Social Media Moms on these women a few years ago. I also use Power Moms as I believe their influence goes well beyond social media audiences. There were several terms and titles offered up but the moms on my Facebook page. Social Media Influencers, lifestyle bloggers, writer, and blogger were among those suggested. However, the most popular of all was, "I am a mom and I am a blogger." I'll leave it at that.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
You've heard it a hundred times that moms are a moving target, always on the go and constantly connected via numerous technology tools. Deploying the right marketing strategy that engages moms in a relevant dialogue with you and your brand is essential to earning her loyalty. Here's where you need to be in 2012:
1) On YouTube- As the second largest search engine, YouTube provides moms an easy way to not only search for products, but to also learn how to use them. Create short videos - less than 3 minutes - that tell moms how to create solutions with your product. Use mom vloggers or mom employees to produce videos in order to create a relevant connection with the female audience.
2) On Pinterest- If you haven't discovered this hot, new social media community yet, make it a New Year's Resolution. This is not only where moms are migrating for ideas and product suggestions, but it's cool to her ‘tween and teenage kids as well. The next time a mom blogger tells you she loves your product, ask her to "pin" it on her Pinterest bulletin board.
3) In Her Home- An article by the Associate Press last week, titled “Why Are Toys Selling Out? Might be Mommy Blog Buzz” , focused on the success of LeapPad Explorers and their popularity, thanks to the buzz created by MommyParties . It's using the fun of Tupperware parties without the pressure to buy items. Allowing moms to test and share your product in a social setting is an effective way to fully engage mothers in peer marketing.
4) In Her Email Box: We often forget the power of email, however moms are still reading emails several times a day. In fact, most moms say they learn about sales and promotions via email. They also say they don't want numerous emails promoting the same deal or emails that have no relevance to their lives. In other words, don't send a mother with teenagers an email promoting baby food. An “unsubscribe” is sure to happen, followed by a delete of your company from her buy list.
5) At Smaller Niche Conferences: Brands love to sponsor conferences but often do so without a plan or strategy behind it. Sometimes bigger is not better. There are over 30 mom blogger and social media conferences in 2012. Some of the smaller, more intimate conferences can provide you a better platform to truly ENGAGE with the moms in attendance. It's not about being a logo on a brochure, but rather truly engaging with the moms who are at the conference. There are conferences for Christian Moms, Frugal Moms, Video Moms and many others. Look for the conference that fits your brand and message.
6) On Her iPad: “There's an app for that” and moms on average have 31 of them on her iPad. One third of the apps on her ipad are there at the request of her children. Make sure you are among the solution-oriented apps that she downloads to her wireless device in 2012.
7) On iTunes: More and more moms are listening to podcasts. It's easy and inexpensive to create a podcast for your brand. Consider what solutions you can offer mom and pull up a microphone. For example, if you are a car company, create product podcasts on travel ideas or destinations for families. If you are a food brand, consider a cooking podcast. If you can't find a radio guru in your hallways, think about contracting with a mom podcaster to host your show for you.
I wish everyone a successful 2012. Remember, it's about engaging instead of connecting, relevance instead of inundating, relationships instead of quick hits. With these strategies, you'll find 2012 as your best year ever in the mom market.