Marketing to Moms: Five Emerging Opportunities

Having recently attended the annual M2Moms Conference in New York, I was very impressed not only by the presenters and their materials, but by the prestigious and exciting array of brands that were in attendance. As moms’ buying power and influence only continue to grow, they are a primary audience for both big and iconic brands as well as newer tech-focused start-ups. As a testament to the continued and growing interest in moms, Google showed in its presentation that worldwide searches on google.com related to Mom have skyrocketed from 20 million in 2004 to 100 million in 2016.

Now that 83 percent of first-time moms are millennials, the term millennials and first-time moms are almost synonymous with one another. “First births” provide huge opportunities for marketers, as new parents are buying myriad new products and services to care for baby. While first births drive a certain sector of product sales, the opportunity to market to moms, and parents, hardly ends there, which is why major brands from every sector from healthcare to food and beverage were in attendance.

My primary observation is simple: Many mom segments are being under-marketed as companies fixate on millennials, and I have identified five areas that struck me as emerging, high-potential Marketing-to-Moms opportunities.

1. “Daughterhood” Moms:
Author Liz O’Donnell presented compelling data and stories about what she calls “daughterhood,” the state of being an adult daughter who is caring for aging parents and their own children. Having just presented at the SMASH Conference (senior living marketing) a few weeks prior on the “decider-in-chief,” an adult daughter who is the primary decision maker for her parents assisted living/skilled nursing/nursing home needs, the topic was familiar. Given the size of the boomer generation, this topic is not going away. Marketing to moms, who are also adult daughters and buying for three generations, presents huge opportunities to sell everything from senior care to toilet paper.

2. Latin Moms:
Over half of the nation’s population growth is attributable to Hispanic families. However, the amount of research being done, and the marketing attention given to this booming audience, seems to pale in comparison to the burgeoning opportunity. Now is the time to better understand and invest in this growing mom segment.

3. Good Tech, Bad Tech:
It’s a “life-saver” and, at the same time,  it’s “killing me”. There are two sides to every coin, and tech is the latest currency with a good side and a bad one. Google’s presentation focused on the dueling sides of technology—products and services that improve lives and answer every question, yet at the same time leaving consumers overwhelmed and deluged by what’s available at their fingertips. Brands that understand and can help solve this good tech/bad tech challenge will be winners with moms. To quote one of the presenters, “There are so many ways to be a great mom, but they never feel like they are succeeding.”

4. Influencers:
While the term influencer seems to be ubiquitous among marketers, and especially among agencies, confusion still abounds with the concept. Who truly are influencers? How do you find them? How do you activate them? How do you measure them? More than half of the presentations at M2Moms included the idea of influencer marketing, but there is clearly not consensus yet on best practices. Influencer marketing is on the rise but is a work in progress.

5. Tech-enabled Parenting:
Moms’ main screens are now their mobile device and, to a lesser degree, her TV. She loves Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and the next group of moms will be bringing Snapchat to their daily parenting routine. Tracking apps and health monitoring, especially wearables, is on the rise for moms of all ages. And she buys more than half of her baby products online. Technology now underpins the work of parenting, and there will be product categories that will be winners and losers as moms use new technology to replace some traditional products and retailers.
I’ll be keeping an eye on these trends and looking for opportunities to ride these waves to better market to moms, and parents, moving forward.

About Kelley Skoloda

Kelley is a Partner and Director of Ketchum's Global Brand Marketing Practice. She is the author of of the business book, Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women (Praeger/Mar 2009) and the architect of the widely-publicized Women 25to54 offering.