The 1-2-3’s of Mom Engagement

In the spirit of the back-to-school season, let’s open our math books and look at some big numbers. Moms spend an estimated $2.4 trillion on products and services every year. The global baby care market is expected to exceed $66 billion in US dollars by 2017, with close to 4 million babies born in the US each year. My often quoted and rarely attributed number of a $2.4 trillion mom market is the golden egg for marketers. How to tap in to this very lucrative market is what has built my company, filled six of my books and motivates me to write number book number seven (now in draft).

Offline and Online Influencers. Take a stroll through any shopping plaza, in any large store or small boutique and you’ll find moms pushing strollers with one hand, juggling phones in the other, with designer water or hand-crafted beverages in the stroller cup holders. While shopping, they are using their phones to text pictures to other moms, ask advice, compare prices and search for product reviews online. Once they leave a store or complete their online purchases, moms still love to share with other moms in an informal setting. If you eavesdrop on a conversation on the playground at parks or play dates, plenty of talk will revolve around specific products and brands. Marketing efforts in offline and online settings, online mom meetups and offline MommyParties <> , for instance, engage moms in their favorite places and spaces.

Know Your Millennials. Millennial moms are all the buzz right now and with good reason. This generation of women represents 83% of new moms; each wanting a unique, customized experience from the moment the pregnancy test stick shows a positive.  These moms believe there are better ways to do things and are determined to find the best in baby gear, furniture, clothing, health products and more. Products of their Boomer parents’ affluence and overall attitude of indulgence, Millennials seek unique and customized experiences. Keeping up with Millennials as early adopters of new social media and technology (witness Instagram and Vine) means making sure your brand is playing in their virtual playgrounds.

Know Your “Older” Target Markets. While Millennials are certainly the group to focus on first, there are categories of moms and moms-to-be that should not be overlooked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnancy rates for women aged 30 and over increased while other age categories declined. These moms, mostly Gen X women, are still very tech-savvy like their Millennial counterparts. However, due to their age and experiences, these moms see themselves as “mavens” who have strong opinions and more influence (real and perceived) with larger groups of moms.

Only the Best for Baby. Despite a downward trend in the US birthrate the last few years, total sales in the baby care market are projected to reach $66 billion dollars by 2017. That is billions, not a typo. New parents want the best products available and are willing to disregard high costs to get the best for baby. A quick search through Pinterest, for example, supports this trend; ultra chic, designer-looking nurseries tempt even the most frugal mom to create a magazine-worthy room. When it comes to safety (a core value detailed below), moms and dads are also more than willing to disregard a budget when purchasing baby gear like car seats, strollers and cribs.

Remember The Core Values. As I gather information and resources for my seventh book, the five core values from my earliest books remain true today. Despite rapid changes in social media, mobile technology and a natural progression in personal buying styles as needs change, these five values motivate moms: Health and Safety, Saving Time, Simplicity, Value and Child Enrichment. The health and safety of their children is the number one value that motivates moms. They want to feel that companies sincerely care about family health and well-being. Saving Time and Simplicity go hand in hand. Moms value time, and any product or service that can help save even a few minutes in an otherwise busy day will go far in building brand loyalty. Products that offer simplification usually give back time. Value rates high for moms of all ages, but it is not to be confused with price. Moms don’t necessarily want the cheapest product but one that comes with a competitive price combined with good quality and customer service. Child Enrichment speaks to the desire raise and nurture superior offspring. To be better mothers and provide more than they had as children is the main motivation behind this value. These core values should be the starting point for any programs, and ultimately meaningful engagement with moms.

In my years of researching and studying behaviors and trends in marketing to moms, one constant remains; the mom market is fluid and ever changing.  Social media contributes to rapid change and growth in how brands should engage with moms, however the core values above serve as a valuable baseline that crosses generational lines. Many factors affect how and why moms shop, from background and personal experiences to current socioeconomic factors. Knowing moms’ motivations and values (and how they change) are critical to meaningful engagement, brand loyalty and powerful ‘word of mom’.

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