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Marketing to Digital Moms

  |  November 16, 2010   |  Comments

Since women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population and control 80 percent of purchasing power worldwide, maybe it's time advertisers started marketing to them.

When I attended ad:tech New York two weeks ago, I couldn't help but feel that maybe finally women were receiving their due. The first day's keynote speaker, Lauren Zalaznick, the president of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, though discussing "Redefining 'Digital'," couldn't help but use female-centric examples and data when making her case. The ad:tech conference schedule dedicated two whole sessions to "Marketing to Digital Moms," the first session led by Nancy Galanty of iMom Summit. Since women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population these days and, according to session presenter Terri Walter, chief digital storyteller Microsoft Advertising (love that title!), women control 80 percent of purchasing power worldwide ($5 trillion), I thought it would be nothing short of a disservice not to recap and expand upon the Marketing to Digital Moms topic.

Recurring Themes

In today's world, advertisers will continue to find it harder and harder to directly influence women. Zalaznick said they found that "96% of women say that if they like your product, they will recommend it to 'everyone they know'." A 2010 Harbinger study's results were not as extreme but still persuasive about the power of word-of-mouth influence.


So advertisers need to adapt strategies – rather than buying media by channel, it will be about buying by mindset. In an on-demand world, everyone expects more relevant content where they want it, when they want it, and within the terms they want it. Microsoft's Women's Study found that 58 percent of all women say they never unplug! Moms are more social than even other women (see chart). Sixty-five percent of moms now rely on social media, text messaging, and instant messenger in addition to stalwarts like search and news sites.



More than 13.5 million moms now have smartphones (according to Nielsen Mobile), and the use of mobile by moms has doubled in the last two years. Microsoft's study found that moms are also gamers – half of women play some kind of digital game (online or console), and console play is higher among women with kids 12 or over in the household. (In her "Moms Online" report, eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson cited the need to keep up with their children the reason that moms are among "the most savvy of all online users.")

For moms, of all the screens (PC, mobile, gaming, TV), Walters described what Microsoft Advertising's Multi-Screen Consumer Survey 2010 advised:

  • Use all screens to build brand and awareness
  • Use computers to reach moms at point of research to increase odds of brand consideration and preference (84 percent of moms research products online versus 78 percent of women)
  • Use computers and smartphones to encourage and fulfill purchases (89 percent of moms purchase via computer; 30 percent purchase via smartphone)

When it comes to convergence, Walter described video as the "closest to bridging all three screens, making 'entertainment'-oriented campaigns the ideal approach for integrated cross-platform deals." Pampers has had great success with its MommyCast and podcast series.


More Information About Marketing to Moms

According to the recent State of American Moms 2010 report released by the Marketing to Moms Coalition, over one-third of moms plan to increase their use of e-mail (for mass communication, sales, special offers, and coupons) and cell phones (for texting) or smartphones (for texting, mobile alerts, special offers, entertainment, and grocery deals). The Coalition also found that coupon usage is up and social networking sites are now moms' number one type of site visited regularly, edging out food/cooking and even search sites.


An ExpoTV survey found that 92 percent of moms trust their fellow consumers' description of a product over the brand's description of that same product, and interest in posting video reviews of products is as high as 90 percent.

And Lucid Marketing's research on marketing to moms on Twitter found a vital and active community:

  • Fifty-four percent of Twitter moms check tweets 10+ times a day
  • Moms want to hear from brands and businesses on Twitter because:
    • Seventy-one percent want links to interesting articles and news
    • Sixty-seven percent want links to sales or special Web offers
    • Sixty-three percent want downloadable coupons or discounts
    • Fifty-five percent want new product updates

There's no doubt that today's U.S. mom wields incredible power and influence. To successfully sway moms in their direction, advertisers would do well to think of themselves less as advertisers and more as marketers, because simply buying your way into the American household with advertising has become and will continue to be less and less effective.

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Hollis Thomases

A ClickZ expert columnist since 2005, Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is president and founder of Maryland-based WebAdvantage.net, an online marketing company that provides results-centric, strategic Internet marketing services, including online media planning, SEO, PPC campaign management, social media marketing, and Internet consulting. Author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day and an award-winning entrepreneur, Hollis is the Maryland 2007 SBA Small Business Person of the Year. Hollis speaks extensively on online marketing, having presented for ClickZ, the American Marketing Association, SES, The Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association, The Kelsey Group, and the Vocus Worldwide User Forum. WebAdvantage.net's client list has included Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, K'NEX Construction Toys, and Visit Baltimore. The agency was recognized as a "Small Giant" by the Greater Baltimore Tech Council and was chosen as a "Best Place for Business Women to Work" by "Smart Woman Magazine."

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