Don’t take mom for granted. She didn’t like it when you were a kid, and she definitely does not like it now that you’re trying to sell her something. Everyone knows that mom rules the roost, but do you know what makes her crow? The key to getting your product off the shelf and into the shopping basket is understanding who the mom is that continues to make the everyday buying decisions for her family. She’s complex. She’s making calculated decisions. And she’s using technology to help her make them. Here’s the breakdown on reaching out to dear old mom.
Who exactly are we dealing with?
Before you launch into a campaign directed at moms, let’s first take a look at who she is and what she’s thinking. According to MRI data moms between the ages of 25 and 49 are:
- Smart and involved with their community (cause branding anyone?)
- Adventurous and willing to try new things (so don’t make it dull!)
- Interested in many things and well-balanced (a little culture never hurt anyone…)
- Looking for convenience, quality and a good price when they shop (isn’t everyone?)
Now that we’ve painted this picture of “mom,” we want to focus on some of the more interesting trends that we’ve seen related to them. You’ll soon find there’s more to marketing to mom than offering something that’s “new and improved.” Moms are not defined by their title; they are not one neat niche market that you can blanket with messages aimed at all moms. Not all moms are the same and they are driven by their choices.
More Moms are Choosing to Stay at Home
If we had to pick the most important trend with moms in 2004, it would have to be that more and more are choosing not to work. This is significant because, as you’ll learn later in this piece, just because moms are at home, doesn’t mean they aren’t working. If you ask her, mom will tell you that the most important thing in her life is her family.[i] And for an ever increasing number of moms, taking care of her family means staying at home.
According to ADWEEK, a study done last year by Redbook magazine about mothers of young kids confirmed that the working-mother role is losing its appeal.[ii] Among mothers of infants, the percentage who work outside the home fell between 1998 and 2000 – “the first significant decline,” since 1976, the first year the census bureau began tracking these kinds of numbers.
In this day and age of a 50 percent divorce rate, moms are doing everything they can to preserve the family unit. What does this mean for you? It means that you have to be sensitive to the choice these moms are making. It’s okay again to stay at home. No one is going to think a mom isn’t reaching her full potential by not climbing the corporate ladder. Your messages need to reflect a sensitivity to this. But don’t go so far as to turn-off the moms who are working.
Moms who Work are Major Earners
Working moms – and remember most have no choice but to work – are earning more money than ever. A change that has manifested over the last 25 years. In 1979, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women who worked full-time made 63 percent as much as men. Fast forward to 2002 and the figure had risen to 78 percent. A Gallup Poll survey[iii] released last year found that only 54 percent of working married people live in households in which the husband brings in all or most of the family income. In only 28 percent of these cases is the husband the “sole earner.” [iv] These numbers are not staggering and while the trend is toward more moms staying home, the numbers indicate that many are still going to work every day. This means that where they get their marketing messages from is different than stay at home moms. Working moms are seeing more billboards, listening to more radio and spending less time in front of the television.
This trend is especially visible in African American families. The U.S. African American Market -5th Edition released earlier this year revealed that African American woman are major earners for the family with an aggregate income equal to 49% of the total income of the Black population [v] They are more also likely than women in other population groups to make the key decisions for her household for an array of products and services..[vi] The lesson here is not to undervalue African-American women, and moms, as consumers. Learn what their specific needs are and how they prefer to receive information. You’ll be ahead of the game.
Moms are Business Savvy
Whether they are currently in the workplace are not, moms are running their homes like a business. Earlier this month, a major appliance manufacturer released the results of its first-ever “State of the Home” survey of 1,000 American women.[vii] The results showed that:
- Ninety-five percent of moms delegate household tasks to other family members
- More than half say they keep to-do-lists at home for themselves and their family members
- Almost two out of three rank themselves as “very efficient” in managing their homes
Moms know they are good business women, and now so do you. The findings of the survey prompted the manufacturer to coin the phrase “Chief Home Officer,” or CHO. (Nothing like adding another acronym to the marketing mix!) The lesson here is that moms are smart and they know how to run things efficiently. Buzzwords like “time-saving” and “cost-cutting” are as appropriate for the CHO as they were for “Susie Homemaker.” This feeds nicely into our next thought about moms.
Moms are turning into to techno-geeks
With family members going in a million different directions, moms need to keep up with hectic schedules and in touch with loved ones. Just because your product may be high-tech or cutting edge, don’t be afraid to market it to mom. She can handle it. She’s a business woman after all. Consumer reports indicate that moms are using Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s) and desktop computers to run their households. [viii]
And it’s not just about keeping-up and in touch. With kids going from a school play to a soccer game in one afternoon, moms want to preserve those precious moments. A CNET Personal Tech Radar survey[ix] conducted during last year’s holiday gift buying season found that moms favored such high-tech gifts as digital cameras and camcorders so that they can capture those rare moments when the family is all together or little Johnny hits that home run.
Both of these instances are evidence of a booming technology market among moms. And not only are they buying technology, they are using it to make purchases. Online shopping sales went through the roof last year, particularly during the holidays[x]. Site like eBay and Amazon are one-stop shopping outlets for everything under the sun and all from the comfort of home.