Follow these do’s and don’ts when marketing and advertising to moms
More than other audiences, moms find themselves the subject of marketing and advertising campaigns—and often for products not directly related to motherhood like children’s clothing, pet food, household supplies, furniture and even men’s clothes. That’s because moms act as decision-makers not only for products for their own use but also for their children, spouses and other family members, like parents and in-laws. In fact, in the U.S., women are responsible for 85% of household income spending—so creating a marketing campaign that captures moms’ attention and trust can be a big win for your brand. As a women-owned, women-led business with plenty of moms on the team and experience marketing to moms and moms-to-be, we know what it takes to stand out and connect with this over-marketed consumer segment. Check out our seven tips for what to do and avoid when marketing to moms.
Do: Be Realistic and Authentic Without Overselling
“It is painfully obvious to moms when a brand doesn’t have real-world experience in the problem they are trying to solve. The first hint to me? Fluffy content. If you want to connect with moms, make sure your communication resonates on an emotional level or else we will see right through it!” explains Ashley Logan, Yakkety Yak CEO and a mom of three.
Make sure the message you’re sending to moms cuts through general platitudes and comes from a place of authenticity. That means, don’t rely on overused messages like, “You got this, Mama,” and “You’re stronger than you think,” which can be a big tip-off that a brand doesn’t actually understand the varied experiences of motherhood. If the messaging around a brand feels ungenuine, moms will see through it and look for a brand with more authentic messaging and products that fit their experience.
Don’t: Contribute to Unrealistic and Unhealthy Narratives
“In a best-case scenario, marketing plays on desires and wants. In the worst case, it plays on your fears,” says Abby Callard, a content editor and mom of one.
As many as 46% of moms think mom-related marketing presents unrealistic ideals. While it’s undeniable that people like to see beautiful images on social media, there’s a careful line to toe between showing how a product can help and only showing perfect, glamorous moments. At the very least, this kind of content can be alienating; at its worst, it can be damaging to a mother who feels like she is struggling alone and judging herself by unrealistic expectations.
Another narrative we’d like to see go? The mommy as a martyr narrative. This depiction of mothers frames parenting decisions in absolutes with an offensive and damaging underlying sentiment—if you don’t do this, you aren’t a good mother—that ignores the nuances that make everyone’s experience different. Marketing shouldn’t make moms feel worse about the important and near-constant list of choices they make daily. All decisions have trade-offs and moms are professional decision-makers. Brands should deliver what mothers need to know about a product and trust them to make the choice that best fits their life, their child and their personal situation.
Do: Show How Your Brand Can Make Moms’ Lives Easier
“Moms should be able to say, ‘That will make my life easier. That is something I can try today,’” explains VP of Business Strategy Florence Ann Romano, who also moonlights as Windy City Nanny.
The bottom line: Moms are busy. If a business throws an obstacle in their path, they will find a different place to spend their money. This emphasis on ease of usability extends from products to the whole customer service experience, including shipping, exchanges and reaching out to right an issue if one occurs. Customer service that goes the extra mile has the potential to earn loyal customers who will not only make multiple purchases but also tout their experience by word of mouth. And trust us, moms talk.
When it comes to creating content for moms, Florence Ann also recommends quick, snackable content that is actionable on a daily basis. This includes relatable photos, short but impactful videos and useful listicles and infographics that provide info and tips—especially for new moms who are up and looking for answers to dozens of questions during a three a.m. feeding.
Don’t: Generalize and Simplify Moms
“Moms are not ‘one size fits all.’ They are not all looking for the same thing, so you shouldn’t assume that just because someone identifies as a mom, that she should be bucketed into one monolithic segment,” says Director of Operations Lindsay Swift, who is also a mom of three.
When marketing to moms, consider the factors that identify your ideal customer, from demographic information like age, location and income to her job and the number of kids she has. A full-time working mom and stay-at-home mom have different wants, needs and struggles. A single mom lives a different experience than one with a partner. Finally, consider the ages of her children. Is she a mom of a newborn, infant or toddler? Or maybe she’s the mom of an elementary-schooler, preteen or teenager. At these different life stages, moms and their children need different things. Narrowing down who exactly you are marketing to helps avoid generalizations and make your messaging meaningful.
Do: Get to Know Your Specific Audience
“All the things I cared about before having kids I still care about,” says Abby Callard.
Moms had their own interests and causes they supported before having kids and that they will continue to care about as moms. Honing in on a subset of the consumer-mom segment helps define your audience and focus your marketing tactics. Whether your target audience of moms is interested in art, music, entrepreneurship, social justice, climate change causes or something else, these interests provide an opportunity to connect on a meaningful level.
To get to know your audience better, conduct interviews with members of your target audience or hold focus groups to learn about the things they care about and how exactly a product or service can make their lives easier. This allows better tailoring of your offerings and communication directly to those moms who need it most. Getting to know ideal customers on a deeper level helps firmly position them in the center of a marketing campaign.
Don’t: Exclude Other Caregivers From the Conversation
“I like seeing real, diverse moms and families represented in marketing materials. There is a movement to avoid alienating our non-“mom” caregiving counterparts like dads, grandparents and foster parents. We’re teaching our kids that all families look different, and so, seeing that reflected in your marketing can be powerful,” says Lindsay Swift.
While moms are an important market segment, don’t exclude other caregivers from your marketing materials—especially if what you’re selling has the potential to make the lives of these other caregivers easier as well. Showcasing real families in your videos and imagery shows that your brand is in tune with the reality most families face, their differences and their struggles. This advice translates to other marketing segments as well: Be sure your message resonates with the people you’re trying to reach.
Do: Nurture a Tribe
“A lot of what moms need is friendship. We all understand how to be a friend. With friendship comes empathy—a lot of what parents need is that tribe,” says Florence Ann.
Marketing to moms is more than creating ads that appeal to them. Moms want to feel heard, supported and respected (as real people!) through content that’s relatable, true to their experience and useful. Nurture your tribe of brand enthusiasts by winning moms’ hearts with helpful products and services, engaging content and stellar customer service. To make a buying decision, parents and caregivers need to establish trust in a brand, and it’s that trust that keeps them coming back and turns them into fans and advocates who recommend that brand to their circles. Remember, moms are powerful, informed decision-makers responsible for spending decisions across the whole household.
“Communicate your values. Be clear. Give moms the info and help them make a decision in the shortest amount of time possible. And finally, just keep it real,” says Ashley Logan.
Whether you’re looking to market your brand to moms or any other audience, we can help tell your story in a way that forges meaningful connections. Yakkety Yak fuses strategy and content production to craft high-impact stories for brands and businesses that care about doing good. Check out our services page to learn more or subscribe to our newsletter below for more marketing tips and resources.