Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marketing insights into the journey of motherhood

By Lori Luechtefeld
If you want to connect with moms, you must understand what drives their activities in the mobile and social spheres. Consider the marketing implications revealed by BabyCenter's Tina Sharkey as she takes a look at the daily life of the modern mom.

When a woman becomes a mom, her daily schedule dramatically changes. She has less time for consuming media. Thus, marketers who want to reach this valued demographic must understand what drives a mom at every stage of her journey through motherhood.

During her keynote address at this week's iMoms iMedia Summit, Tina Sharkey, chairman and global president of BabyCenter LLC, shared insights into the daily life of the modern mom, including her increasing dependency on mobile and what drives her in the social sphere.

The motherhood journey beginsA new mom is born every seven seconds, Sharkey pointed out. And when a woman becomes a mom, she takes on many new roles -- all of which are relevant to how marketers interact with her. Consider these roles:
Dr. Moms: As Sharkey pointed out, 15 minutes with a doctor is not enough for a mom. Thus, given that nearly all moms are managing the health and well-being of their households, 84 percent say they use the web to learn about children's health, and nearly the same percentage say they would go online for a second opinion.
Mealtime moms: About 85 of moms do most of the mealtime preparation in their households. Thus, most are using the internet to look up kid-friendly food recipes.
Green moms: New moms are looking to protect more than just the polar bears, Sharkey said. Their No. 1 reason for making environmentally conscious decisions is the well-being of their children. More than 90 percent of moms say their concern for their children inspires them to be eco-friendly, and nine out of 10 moms buy green products at least sometimes.
Gadget moms: Moms want tools, not toys. About 55 percent say that simplicity, multi-use, and convenience are their priorities when purchasing new technology and electronics -- not feature richness.
What does this mean for marketers?
Sharkey noted:
  • Motherhood is a profound transformation. Life transitions open up customers to marketing messages.
  • A mom becomes a new kind of consumer. The decisions she makes when she becomes a mom influence her brand choices for years.
  • Her time matters more when she becomes a mom. Thus, be engaging and stand out.
How social plays into the mixSocial media is mass media for all moms, Sharkey said. And when a woman becomes a mother, she goes about creating new social circles. That said, a small percentage of moms do the vast majority of the sharing via social media. So who is it that brands want to reach? Consider these three groups of influencers:
Field experts: These expert influencers are passionate on very specific mom-centric topics. They draw on their personal opinions and are driven to share because they've faced certain challenges as mothers.
Lifecasters: These women are living in public and will tell you everything about anything. They are always connected, and although they don't take deep dives into any one topic, you never know when they'll throw out a useful piece of advice. They love to share, and that includes bargains and deals.
Pros: These are the mom bloggers who have turned their passion into a profession. They take social media seriously, and they tend to build vast Twitter networks as a means of distributing their information.
What does this mean for marketers?
Sharkey noted:
  • Mindset matters. Marketers should build social strategies around inflection points at which consumers are seeking new relationships and information.
  • Context frames the conversation. Moms use different social sites to fulfill different needs.
  • The 80/20 rule applies. About 18 percent of social moms wield 78 percent of the influence.
How mobile supports a mom's new roleMoms are more mobile than the rest of us, Sharkey said. About 53 percent of moms purchased a smartphone as a result of becoming a mom, and their phones serve many purposes. They are a helping hand, serving as a means of entertaining kids when moms need a few moments. They connect moms with the information they need to make decisions for their families. They serve as a source of relaxation as well; apps such as Facebook and Angry Birds become guilty pleasures for moms. And unlike other consumer groups, many moms are happy to engage with mobile ads when they offer value -- particularly in the form of coupons.
What does this mean for marketers?
Sharkey noted:
  • Mobile gives moms super powers. They feel empowered, connected, and more confident.
  • No social strategy is complete without mobile. Moms are using social via mobile to achieve different goals throughout their days.
  • Mobile creates limitless new ways to engage. This includes new ways to learn, share, and act -- not to mention connect with brands.
Lori Luechtefeld is senior editor of iMedia Connection.
On Twitter? Follow Luechtefeld at @loriluechtefeld. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet, and stay up to date on happenings at this week's iMoms summit through the hashtag #iMediaSummit.

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