Mom Marketing at 35,000 Feet

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.