On the long plane ride to Hong Kong last month, I pushed the SEND button and off it went my sixth book on the Mom Market. Now, before you think this is going to be a pre-published sales pitch, it’s not. In fact, I am not even going to mention the title. However, I would like to share with you the main message of the book and build on its theme in this blog post.
If you’ve heard me speak lately or have followed my Engage:Mom posts, the message won’t come as a surprise as I’ve been preaching it for months to both brands and bloggers. It’s simple” Mom influencers, the ones who share product recommendations with other moms, persuade their peers to buy a particular brand or share samples of your products with other mothers, can be found outside of Mommy Bloggers.
There are so many incredibly influential mothers out there in the mom community who have never written, read or commented on a blog yet are engaging with large groups of mothers and talking about your products. Additionally, there are moms who blog that are doing so much more than receiving your free products and posting about it.
Marketers, public relations agencies and brands have enjoyed a time of being able to obtain quick hits of word of mom buzz online but the effectiveness of this strategy is being questioned by both brands and mothers. It’s time to get creative with your marketing, reach beyond blogger reviews and develop a multi-platform marketing plan using mom influencers of all varieties.
And just to be transparent, I preach this same message to my friends who are mom bloggers. They, too, need to expand their reach to stay relevant to markers. It’s time to identify the best Power Moms for your brand and allow them to deliver your product message while they are engaging with moms along their journey.
Before you head over to Google and search Mom Influencers, let me introduce you to a few mothers I consider Power Mom Mavens.
Trisha Novotry, known online as 24/7 Mom. Yes, she has a blog but ask most of her thousands of followers and they will tell you it’s her live webcast that keeps them connected. You will find her at the Mom Congress each year interacting with moms, educators and legislators. She influences moms in her community as a former board member of MOPS and now as an active member in her church and children’s school.
Andrea Deckard, known online as the founder of www.Savingslifestyle.com. She began in the mom market as a blogger but her influence has transcended the blogosphere. This mother of three boys not only engages moms online with money-saving techniques but also educates community members on frugal living. Her local seminars bring out 80-100 women every time she speaks. She appears on local news shows who promote her advice on their websites. Outside of empowering moms with coupon-wise advice, Andrea connects with women while she supports the athletic activities of her sons. You can also find Andrea participating in church missions and numerous women conferences.
Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides. Lisa is the perfect example of a mother who touches thousands of moms and did so long before blogging became a verb. Stroller Strides is a franchise company that promotes fitness among new moms. They have over 1,200 groups in 44 states. Lisa connects with each of these women. That’s a lot of moms she’s influencing. You can see her in print inEntrepreneur magazine, on television, on stage as well as in video. She’s the author of numerous books on fitness and the founder of her own product line.
Pamela Nagata, coordinator for Parents Connect of San Diego. You probably have never heard of Pamela but ask any of the 4,000 mom members of Parents Connect and they know exactly who she is. Parents Connect, the largest group of moms in Southern California, is now owned by Scripts and runs Sandiegoparent.com. If I’m looking for mothers or events with promotional opportunities, she’s my go-to gal.
Molly Gold, founder of Go Mom Inc. Molly has run a website since way back in the ’90s when she launched her first product. She has empowered millions of mothers over the years with scheduling and organization skills as well as product ideas. Today she tweets incisively and broadcasts her message on her live show on MomTV.com and with additional webcasts on her site.
There are dads too who are making a mark through their multi-media endeavors. Dads like Jim Silver of www.timetoplaymag.com and Tim Sullivan, publisher of PTO magazine.
Technology has made it easier in many ways to for marketers to reach moms. However, just as moms are consuming multiple media and going about their offline lives, it’s important for marketers to move into the next horizon of mom marketing.
It’s my guess that many passengers flying for 11 hours become engaged in a state of reflection and I am no different. I am only a little half way into a long flight from Istanbul to the Big Apple, USA. Everyone around me is sleeping and it’s dark but I’m determined to make my unwired time productive so my thoughts wander.
I think about the mysterious county I’ve just left, the Marketing to Mom Conference in Turkey, and the interesting dialogue that occurred between marketers and Muslim mothers, several of whom were bloggers. You might be surprised to learn they circled back to the same conservations we have shared on this very blog over the past couple of years. In fact, I am quietly chuckling here in seat 4A as I recall finishing the sentence of my Turkish interpreter as she translated the discussion between Elif Dogan, a popular mom blogger, and marketers in the audience.
“How do your readers know if you are sincere in recommending a product you’ve received for free from a company?” one brand manager asked. Another quickly follows with, “What if I send you a product and you don’t like it, will you write a bad review?” And without hesitation, Elif gives the same answers that social media moms in the U.S. have given marketers for years. You see, engaging mom bloggers is new and many companies are unsure on how to work with these influential mothers to promote their products. Sound familiar?
In fact, engaging moms in most types of marketing is new and may provide an explanation as to why this conference would fly an American mom marketer halfway around the world to talk about marketing. The attendees weren’t there to hear how connecting with the 20 million Turkish mothers could boost their bottom line. They were eager to hear the lessons learned by American brands.
Two dozen brands from Frito Lay to Mercedes Benz were interested in learning from our hindsights in engaging moms. They wanted to know the successes, best-in-class marketing programs and, most importantly, the mistakes made by U.S. companies.
So here at 35,000 feet, I reflect on the lessons the industry has learned in the decade since Marketing to Moms was published. At a time when marketers are looking for what’s next and beyond blogging, it’s probably a good time to review some of the lessons I presented in Turkey. After all, they are still valuable in the land where they originated.
Engage the right mom for your brand.
Call them mom bloggers. Call them Social Media Moms. Call them what you want but get to know them before you engage with them. Read their tweets. Follow them on Facebook and read their blogs for more than one day. It’s important to work with moms who share your brand values and have common interests.
Develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
Moms want more than a generic email and press release that starts off, “I thought your audience would enjoy this information.” Moms want a relationship with you. They want you to think of building their brand as well as your own. And if you don’t know how to do this, just ask her. I’m sure she has several ideas on how a mutually beneficial relationship partnership can work for her and you as well.
The sphere of influence of a mother extends beyond her life stage and city limits.
Want to launch a product for newly pregnant moms? Go to new moms. Trying to build a toddler brand? Engage with moms of preschoolers. The influence of experienced moms descends to less experience moms just as much as it does laterally between moms in the same peer group. It also expands beyond geographical borders. A mom in California can be just as influential in the day care decisions of a mom in Florida as a mom in her own city as Facebook and other social media platforms create a virtual playground for moms.
Moms do more than just read blogs.
They listen to podcasts and watch videos online. They share photos and hold mixers in their homes and local communities. She’s trading coupons, shopping private sales and producing online webisodes. This is where the future lies for companies looking for creative marketing programs. It’s in engaging with her wherever she is and whatever she is doing.
There are probably a few lessons you would add to my list and I encourage you to leave them as a comment. Learning from each other is very valuable. In my present, reflective mental state, I’m reminded of the Dalai Lama who says, “Don’t lose the lesson,” and somehow I think his philosophy applies to marketing, too.
There’s still another five hours of flight ahead and I’m tired. I think I’ll join my fellow passengers and shut my eyes. Perhaps I’ll dream of the next big thing in Mom Marketing and share it with you next month.