Digital Marketing to Today’s Super-Consumers

As the digital age continues to introduce new ways for people to communicate, moms are seeing a change in the way they get information on products, parenting, and any other information they may need. The traditional concept of the neighborhood mom meet up has gone virtual, as play groups and church events are augmented by online communities like Meetup and babysit.com, connecting moms of similar interests globally and locally to discuss topics and influence purchasing decisions like never before.

There are many reasons moms turn to their networks. They have questions and need advice. They are looking for reviews on healthcare options, consumer packaged goods, toys, books, even schools. And these reasons can expand beyond childcare to household concerns, like saving for college and retirement.

According to the Moms In Business Network, moms’ purchasing power accounts for nearly $1.6 trillion in annual spending and is equal to Great Britain’s 2007 total purchasing power. EMarketer forecasts that moms will account for 39.6 million of the online audience by 2012. Further, women make 80 percent of the household purchases and commonly buy for three or more people. With this much influence over consumer purchases, the ability to effectively market to and harness this purchasing segment has a huge impact on brands’ bottom line.

The key to effectively tying your marketing strategy to the potential consumer is accurately matching the brand’s message to where your consumer, in this case the mom, is in her purchasing cycle. By delivering the appropriate message at the appropriate time, marketers nurture the relationship and increase the likelihood of converting moms into purchasers. This can be done with a combination of behavioral, contextual, and demographic targeting to create audience segments of moms and their specific interests and needs.

For example, while conducting product research, moms will be more receptive to product benefits and thorough reviews from other moms. However, once she has moved closer toward purchasing, moms are more interested in price comparison as they look for the best value for their dollars. This is especially effective when accompanied by a positive review reinforcing their previous findings. Delivering a coupon or special offer during this final stage is often a great way to seal the deal.

Several high-profile companies have been able to successfully drive sales by targeting these online forums, review sites, blogs, and communities and establishing a presence there through sponsorships and media buys. ConAgra leverages survey work and other market research online to create new products or to improve existing products to meet moms’ needs with brands like Banquet, Reddi-wip, and Hebrew National. Kraft sponsors “Mom Life,” a Web reality series that complements mom blog Jen and Barb Mom Life. The show provides advice and guidance for moms through anecdotal stories. During the videos, links to Kraft products and coupons run on a smaller screen.

Campbell’s has taken its outreach to mom bloggers to a new level, hosting onsite events for invited moms to tour their facility in New Jersey (and taste its products). During the tour, Campbell’s engages the moms in discussion about how to provide the great meal solutions moms look for. In exchange, the moms blog about their experience and lessons, passing the positive experience on to their readers. As such, Campbell’s has been able to reinforce a positive brand image among moms, enhancing credibility as a caring source for the nutritional products they want for their families.

Fast-food restaurants KFC and McDonald’s have also recognized the influence and purchase power of moms and created the Moms Matter! Advisory Board and the Global Moms Panel, respectively, to get input from moms across the country on how to better address their nutritional concerns. Creating these types of forums to engage in a real dialogue with moms shows their interest not only in delivering a better product but also in implementing feedback from consumers to do so, effectively improving their image and reputation as a brand.

An e-mail marketing strategy to support a forum and review site presence can be hugely helpful, as many online communities communicate with moms through e-mail, sharing coupons and reviews from products mom use in daily life. Vocalpoint, for example, shares coupons and flyers with moms who provide reviews on their products for other moms. Other times, individual moms share online coupons with their network of moms by printing out the flyers and distributing them at Meetup gatherings.

In the not too distant past, many moms had to get their young children to show them how to check e-mail, but those days are long gone. Moms are increasingly plugged in, and the combination of their new wired existence and their incredible purchase power gives marketers unprecedented opportunities to tap into this group to drive revenue. Integrating digital disciplines such as behavioral targeting, social media, and e-mail can ensure that you reach moms in the right place at the right time, providing the information they need and the deals they love to ultimately boost your sales and nurture invaluable customer relationships.

Want more in-depth information on digital moms? Check out a comprehensive study recently released by Razorfish and CafeMom.

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