StrategyMediaTapping the Mom Market

Tapping the Mom Market

Moms control the purse strings -- to the tune of a trillion dollars annually. Tips for reaching this critical and influential audience online.

As if temper tantrums and dueling siblings aren’t upsetting enough, it seems American mothers are none too happy with the way they’re being addressed by marketers.

According to a survey conducted by Maria Bailey, author of “Marketing to Moms: Getting Your Share of the Trillion-Dollar Market” and founder of specialty marketing firm BSM Media, 70 percent of moms say “advertisers are not acknowledging or recognizing their needs as mothers in ads.” Fifty-five percent frequently see ads that send the wrong message. Thirty percent see ads that offend them. Only 20 percent believe print advertising does a good job of speaking to them, and just 25 percent feel the same way about TV.

Complaints are far fewer when it comes to Internet media (at least, according to this study). Moms seem to have a fairly positive view of the Web. Seventy-one percent are likely to use the Internet to obtain product information and advice. Incredibly, only 6 percent have never purchased a product online.

If you don’t already know it, the “mom market” is a lucrative one for advertisers, online and off-. Companies like BSM Media focus exclusively on tapping this consumer group, worth a total of $1.6 trillion dollars per year.

The amount of control women now have over both family and corporate spending is considerable. Mothers manage 80 percent of household spending. Women as a whole spend $3.7 trillion on consumer goods and services each year. Those employed outside the home are in command of another $1.5 trillion of company dough as purchasing agents.

The collective buying power of U.S. women exceeds Japan’s economy, according to one report.

Now, I’m not yet a mother myself, but I know plenty of women who are. Let me tell you, this is a well-informed, discerning, loyal, and, thus, highly appealing bunch of consumers. Yet if the above study is any indication, advertisers aren’t succeeding in relating to moms.

So what do mothers respond to when it comes to advertising? The thousands of consumer packaged goods (CPG), baby product, maternity clothing, and household appliance companies out there should take a much-needed peek into moms’ minds. Use these tips to help boost your campaigns.

Forget Flu Shots… Get Viral

Lately, it seems no consumer group is immune to online viral marketing (who hasn’t seen Burger King’s disturbing Subservient Chicken campaign?). The tactic is particularly relevant when trying to reach moms.

The BMS Media study finds word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing among moms. Fifty-five percent of respondents say they rely on recommendations when making purchases for the home, and 64 percent do the same when buying products for their children.

When a mother comes across a promising new product or interesting offer, she’s inclined to pass it along, no matter what the situation. Imagine, then, the potential of an online viral marketing campaign targeting moms. A great viral ad campaign can travel the country in a matter of days. Your target audience creates countless ad impressions at no additional cost to you. If you can grab their attention with your ad in a positive fashion, moms will happily spread the word.

Kid Around

Just how do you get mothers to engage with your ads? Tug on their heartstrings and incorporate kids.

Seventy-five percent of surveyed moms rank ads that feature children high in effectiveness. They better relate to ads that mirror some aspect of their own lives. That isn’t to say animation, ad icons, and the like don’t also work (if they didn’t, Procter & Gamble’s Charmin bears would be history). But if the opportunity presents itself, kidding around will only help your cause.

Reach ‘Em While They Research

Locating moms online isn’t much of a challenge if you remember one rule: They primarily use the Web in the first place to conduct research. An April 2004 survey conducted by America Online and the Opinion Research Corporation finds 75 percent of moms go online to plan and research trips; 66 percent to get health information; and 63 percent to find recipes. Consider, too, that 96 percent use email, and you’ve got a bevy of media buys and ad placements to choose from.

Few marketers would turn their noses up at a trillion dollar consumer group, yet many fail to reach it. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re tapping the mom market.


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