Today’s Mom Market holds the key to over $2.1 trillion dollars in annual US spending. Effectively tapping into this market can be lucrative to the bottom line, brand awareness and overall growth of your business. It amazes me that even today, in a world of consumer generated media and YouTube marketing, that many marketers still believe it is necessary to buy expensive television time and print ads in national parenting magazine. Although these efforts reach a large number of moms in one swoop, they don’t provide the relationship, customization or personalization with a brand that moms are seeking. This is good news for companies with small marketing budgets or shrinking resources. As technology, socialization and consumerism have changed, the opportunities to connect with the mom market have expanded in way that increases both ROI and sales for your business. Let’s take a look at three easy and effective ways to reach moms.
You’ve heard about the power of word of mouth and you’ve read the headlines about Mom Influencers. Also known as the “Go-To” moms, these women share information on products, services and retailers regularly with other moms. As you might guess, Mom Mavens earn their spot at the top of the pyramid of peers from their extensive breath of knowledge. We have identified that Mom Mavens share common behaviors and traits that make them an influencer.
BSM Media has developed the Mom Matrix, a system of 18 common behaviors that position a mom to be a distributor of marketing, product and brand information. Some of these qualities include mothers who are group leaders such as PTOs, moms of multiples and moms who run businesses. A combination of two or three of these behaviors allows you to identify moms who have strong established social networks. In word of mouth marketing, these networks are leveraged as outlets for her to share marketing messages. In order to engage these influencers with your message it is necessary to supply them with some type of exclusive nugget of information that elevates them among her peers. It’s important to also give her something to share with others as well as something to share with her child. You might consider hosting a special preview night in your store or providing mom mavens with special discounts they can share with friends.
To identify local mom mavens we suggest scouring the pages of regional parenting publications or local Websites. Identifying the leaders of these groups can be your first step to developing meaningful relationships with Mom Mavens.
Mommy bloggers have been a hot topic in the media recently. Research conducted by BSM Media cites almost 50% of moms now read a blog with a growing number of moms going to blogs for product recommendations. These technology savvy mothers can be an effective way to market your business. Consider them Mom Mavens on steroids. Some mom bloggers have audiences of over 8 million readers and subscribers. However, marketing through bloggers takes time and a great deal of relationship building.
As companies are scrambling to have mom bloggers post about their stores, product and services a great many of them are making severe mistakes along the way. This is one instance where learning from others’ mistakes is invaluable and doing it right is best learned with a list of “What Not to Dos.”
Don’t Google “Mom Bloggers” to pull the names of the top searches and blindly contact them. There have been many documented debacles in the blogosphere about companies who have done just that. One company sent Easter information to a Jewish Mom blogger while another emailed child product samples to a childless women. Spending a few minutes to read the blog and learn about the blogger can go a long way to avoiding such blunders. Get to know the writer so that you establish a meaningful relationship.
Don’t assume the Mom Blogger wants your coupons, samples or product information. After reading the blog for several days, reach out to the mom blogger with a friendly, sincere introduction. Tell her your goals and ask her permission to communicate with her in the future.
Don’t be one-sided. A true relationship flows in two directions. Mom bloggers are looking for special information to share with their audiences. Many run contests or giveaways in their posts as well. Ask the mom writer how you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship and express your willingness to help her reach her goals as well as yours.
YouTube for Mom
Over 75% of moms have viewed at least one online video in the last 7 days. In fact, BSM Media research points to online video as the next preferred media among moms. Think about it – online video allows moms to hear and perhaps watch your message while stirring macaroni and cheese and answering homework questions too! It’s perfect for delivering your message when moms have time to listen. Creating video that showcases your product or retail location doesn’t require expensive production crews or pages of well crafted scripts. The most popular online videos are conversational in nature and run 3-4 minutes in length.
Moms are more likely to watch solution based videos. If you are marketing a product, focus on the solution it provides rather than its features. For instance, if you are selling a stroller with the latest in mobility, create a video titled, “Navigating Narrow Store Aisles with Baby In Tow” and feature ways to make shopping easier for moms rather than focusing on the turning ability of the stroller. Of course, you’ll mention your stroller as one of the solutions for moms but she’s more likely to click on it and watch if it provides a solution to a challenging problem.
Once you’ve produced your video segments there are plenty of online destinations for distribution. YouTube is of course the largest platform for distribution but there are many others. Newbaby.com, www.newbaby.com, allows moms to learn, creates, share and archive videos and offers companies the opportunity to upload videos at no cost. Through the use of a viewer or widget, videos can also enhance the experience of visitors to your website.
While many of these programs require a more significant time commitment than placing an advertisement in a magazine, the end results are sure to be well worth it. Taking the time to cultivate lasting relationships between moms and your brand will translate into brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth communication- both invaluable to your business’s bottom line. And whose bottom line couldn’t afford a piece of Mom’s trillion dollar pie?
The Internet has long been compared to the “anything-goes” Wild West. New trends, however, suggest it is becoming an updated version of the sewing circle of yesteryear.
“Mommy blogs” and related mom-oriented social networks enable merchants to communicate with consumers in a space where they are actively engaged in product discussions. According to Maria Bailey of the consulting firm BSM Media and author of “Trillion Dollar Moms,” as well as an upcoming book about moms and the Internet, there are 10,000 active mommy bloggers (moms who post at least once a month) in the United States. Bailey’s research found that 60 percent of moms read blogs at least once a week and 75 percent said blogs are the medium they are most excited about.
Product evaluations are of special importance on mommy blogs. “Among moms, knowledge confers social status,” Bailey explained. “And knowing about new, useful products or good deals is highly valued.”
A white paper (“Online Communities: What Should Retailers Do?”) published in mid-March by Internet application developer Optaros articulated the advantage this will have for Web-savvy retailers: “What if a store can be placed where the customers are spending their time, rather than trying to get the customers to come to the [store’s Web site]?”
According to Bailey, one of the keys to reaching the online mom community is authenticity. “It’s very, very important,” said Bailey, “if you try to reach out to mommy bloggers, that you don’t just send them a press release.”
Kathy Ireland Worldwide has authenticity in spades. While the company hasn’t gone so far as to actively create an online network, it does allow members to communicate with Ireland. Sometimes, this communication takes unexpected turns. “I get a lot—a lot—of e-mails that are faith-related,” said Ireland. “It’s something that I’m very mindful of, because I never want to exploit my faith. That’s tricky when you sell stuff, but it’s such a huge part of who I am.”
Discussions of faith may seem pretty far afield from mainstream, brand-building operating procedure. But, according to Bailey, authenticity is the coin of the digital realm, in contrast to the lifeless, board-approved copy of press releases.
Not all communications are so personal. Ireland shared a recently received e-mail with Furniture Style as an example: “Your company is rather limited in window treatments. I own some hard window treatments that you’ve made, but I don’t want that in my bedroom. Why have you not addressed this lack of service, and where should I go to find soft window treatments that coordinate with the area rug in my bedroom and my top-of-bed, both of which are from your European Country style guide?”
According to Ireland, her team will respond quickly and might “ask [the customer] to e-mail us a photo of her rug, and we’ll help her tie it together with other items in the room. Any product we don’t carry, we’ll do some research, and find good manufacturers who are in line with our pricing.”
Such back-and-forth communication is a far cry from traditional advertising, where a brand delivers a marketing message—whether through a print, television or banner ad—that the consumer may or may not be receptive to at the time of delivery. Mommy blogs and networks give retailers, including those specializing in home furnishings, the opportunity to engage their primary consumer in a way that is far more meaningful than the typical “Labor Day Sales Event” ad buy.