An Intro: The Targeted Mom

It’s probably the most over-used phrase in today’s marketing conference rooms:

“We need to reach moms!”

Well, duh!

Moms make almost all household buying decisions and are a pretty fun group to get to know. We do it all – and as much as you want to craft a targeted message that resonates with us, well we also want to receive an actual message that finally “gets us.”

So let’s jump in this together, marketers. I promise to help you understand WHO we are IF you promise to start listening.

For starters: we are not all Millennial Moms… (let that SINK in!)

Birth rates by mom’s age

For me, one of the most fascinating stats is that more and more women are waiting to have children, yet more and more marketers message to the younger mom.

Let’s look at the data

birth rates by age

We see a continued decline in birth rates for the following age groups:

  • 15 – 19
  • 20 – 24
  • 25 – 29

And a steady uptick in birth rates for the following age groups:

  • 30 – 34
  • 35 – 39
  • 40 – 44

To put it another way – more and more moms are having babies in their 30’s and 40’s. Some of these moms are Millennials, some are not.

Be mindful of this when creating messages to target this group.

Think about who you picture in your communications, the messaging, the tone.

What these age groups do have in common is a new baby and the stress that comes with this life event. So make the messages easy to digest and not so heavy-handed. No one wants to see a mom who has it all together at this point – because that’s not how we are viewing ourselves.

Reassure new moms. Offer support. Mentor new moms.

I found this study to be a great data point for a new mom communication strategy. In it they found that a postpartum film made to minimize stress made more of an impact than a postpartum helpline.

The positive effect of the film could be from the messages of the film or simply just having something to watch (hello lighthearted video content!) Remember that new moms are tired, not sleeping, and trying their best to figure it all out.

Be fun. Be informative. Be focused.

Want to see a brand that is getting it right: Check out Dove’s #RealMoms campaign.

Gen X: The Middle Child

Generation X is mostly overlooked.

Sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials – the generational name (“X”) even feels like a placeholder. Or a crossroad marker.

And why should brands pay attention to Gen X? They were known as Slackers, they are small in numbers, and they are pretty difficult to pinpoint. Basically a marketing strategist’s worst nightmare.

But here’s the catch: many Gen X’er Working Moms are at the peak of their careers and earning potential. So start talking to them! 

Need help?

The coming-of age trends that shaped their world view included:

  • Mothers working outside the home
  • Divorce on the rise
  • Downsizing and layoffs

These experiences created defining characteristics and values that differentiate Gen Xers, whether in the workplace or in life:

  • Independent
  • Resilient
  • Adaptable
  • Cautious and skeptical

This generation is practical. They roll up their sleeves and get the jobs done. So don’t sugar coat your messages.

Gen Xers grew up in an era marked by uncertainty and many were the product of two-income households. Weighing the pros and cons of everything became a way of life. To counter this sense of uncertainty, having children and a stable family rank high on their list of priorities, and may include close friends in their definition of family. They are the generation most likely to say that they place greater importance on things like personal life and family rather than finances. 

Wait. Did we just craft your message?

Family matters. Personal life matters. Stability matters. Friends matter.

The Generations of Moms

Every marketer LOVES a targeted segment – so let’s just jump right in!

One size DOES NOT fit all with our group. 

We may have the “mom’ing” in common – but we are definitely not the same.

Instead of asking our age, let’s instead break this out by the two generations that I know the most about, and the two that you most likely know the least about:

Gen Y / Millennials and Gen X (my personal wheelhouse)  

Moms

The greater overlap of Working / Gen X and Stay-at-home / Gen Y is largely due to the age of our kids. Many moms stay home when the children are young because (spoiler alert!) child care is expensive.

So, this begins the first multi-layered messaging approach: Moms work. Moms stay home. And sometimes we try to do both.

Want the Moms slide? It’s yours!

Men and women are different: “the controversial view”

I stumbled upon the article “The truth about marketing to women” and read it because of this intro paragraph:

“Men and women are different, and businesses need to market to them differently. That’s the controversial view of marketing expert Robert Craven, who believes firms that don’t change their approach to marketing to women will get left behind.”

Controversial view? I’m confused…

I kept reading.

“If men and women behave and act differently from each other, then maybe their approach to marketing and selling, and more importantly buying, is also different.The female market is an under-developed opportunity, possibly the number-one opportunity, for those who really understand what women really want.”

Bingo!

But how is this controversial? 

“Companies think they’re marketing to women – who buy 80% of the products and control 80% of the money – but they’re not. They’re not talking to women. They don’t know how to talk to women. Just like they have no clue what to give their wives for their birthdays.”

Now we’re talking! 

This is exactly why I started this blog:  to help YOU get US. I am focusing on moms, but the overlap of moms who are also women is pretty damn high. 😉

One of my all-time favorite advertising quotes comes from David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man: The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife. 

But most brands don’t understand that. And they don’t care. They want to reach women – but don’t really want to take the time to develop a strategy to do so. The conversation remains heavily targeted to a man because people tend to communicate in the way that they personally like to receive information.

But here’s the thing: women reach purchasing decisions in a different way than men so you really need to change up the messaging.

“Men and women don’t communicate in the same way, and they don’t buy for the same reasons… He simply wants the transaction to take place. She’s interested in creating a relationship.”

The relationships are key. We want to build a connection with the brand. Think about it as a date – court us, explain why you are suitable to be with, woo us with those limited time offers, and speak our language. Don’t just assume that we are an item: work for it!

Dos and don’ts for marketing to women

There is no one-size-fits-all guide to marketing to women. Every customer base is different, but here are some general dos and don’ts:

  • Build relationships. Gather customer intelligence and use personalized tools to target female consumers with specific messages.
  • Avoid negative campaigns – give women positive reasons to buy.
  • Don’t forget that women usually shop around and do their research before they buy. Make sure you promote all the details such as after-sales service and warranties.
  • Don’t stereotype women (greying grannies and brainless secretaries).
  • Don’t go to extremes. Marketing to women is about catering to all their needs – not just focusing on the ways in which they differ to men.