Moms Wield Power

June 28th, 2010

We’ve all instinctively known that since we were old enough to sass her. And the marketplace power of moms is nothing new to marketers, either. As household CEOs, moms control 85% of household spending and are worth more than $2 trillion to U.S. brands.

While moms have always been socially and politically active, their online savvy and growing organizational sophistication has expanded their market power and influence.

According to Nielsen, there are 32 million online Moms between the ages 25-54, who have at least one child under the age of 18.

That’s about 40% of all women online in the U.S. today and nearly 20% of the active online population overall.

With nearly 75% of moms with children under 18 working outside the home, they rely on technology to get things done. They use it to pay bills, order groceries, school shop, download coupons and hunt for ideas for their next family vacation. They also embrace technology to socialize, stay in touch and express themselves.

As social and communicative humans, moms have particularly embraced social networking with uncommon ardor, from Facebook to Twitter to mom-specific networks.

Moms, more so than other consumers, depend on pals and peers for product recommendations. The web has given that word of mouth a massive dose of steroids. Yet, some marketers are slow to recognize how much moms really don’t like traditional, intrusive advertising. Moms are too busy to pay attention. You can’t summon them; you have to find them where they are. What’s more, they want and expect to engage in conversation.

Mom Bloggers are an increasingly powerful group which has given rise to networks like MomBloggersClub.com and TwitterMoms.com.

Take the “Motrin Moms” incident. Some moms took offense at an online painkiller ad they believed portrayed mothers as shallow and slightly unglued. They quickly responded and took their thoughts online. Motrin took notice, apologized for the ad and removed it. The impromptu campaign got results — and the attention of mainstream media.

Same goes for “nursing gate,” when moms launched the “Facebook Sucks” campaign to get the social network to reverse its policy banning photos of breastfeeding mothers; mobilization was swift, huge and creative, leading to nursing videos on YouTube and even the formation of the Facebook group “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!” The group boasts close to 250,000 members and prominently features pictures of happy nursers — despite Facebook never officially reversing the policy.

Marketers are beginning to realize they have to earn the trust of savvy online moms. They must move away from developing “messaging” to integrating “listening”. Listening to online discussions is as an ultra sensitive weathervane to hear the unexpected and to observe entirely new ways in which brands, categories and unmet needs may be expressed.

While marketers today have so many opportunities to connect with moms at various life stages (having a first or second baby, child entering school, return to work), the challenge is sensing her distinct needs and responding in a way that truly resonates. This forces marketers to redraw the vision of mom in our head.

Moms are far from a single, simple marketing segment. Factors like age, their child’s age and lifestage influence attitudes and behaviors.

Established moms:
between the ages of 40-50 with three or more children, are heavy online shoppers. They are more receptive to advertising deals and special promotions. They are heavy users of email and are starting to dabble in social networking with Facebook as the primary site. According to Facebook, this is the fastest growing user demographic.

Newbie Moms:
aged 25-34 with one or two children at home, also enjoy online shopping, but social networking sites play a much more prominent role in their daily interactions. They’re more likely to use Twitter and to blog as a means to share their lives and express points of view.

For more information and links to research on moms, visit bozellthinking.com.

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