In the last 10 or 15 years, virtually every aspect of marketing to consumers has changed. The digital revolution and ubiquity of social media, cable television, smart phones….those are just some of the reasons why we’ve reinvented the way we communicate with consumers. But it’s not just technology that’s mandated big changes, it’s behavioral economics.
Consumers, and especially women, are increasingly cynical and distrustful of companies. Consumers feel it’s harder for companies to gain their trust today than it was a few years ago. And a recent Nielsen survey of more than 28,000 online consumers around the world found purchase decisions are more frequently based on online or friend’s recommendations versus traditional advertising.
Women are most skeptical of products that are put on – or in – their bodies and want to be certain these products live up to their claims. A tighter economy, heightened awareness of harmful ingredients and ongoing media coverage of products that may not do what they are touting (pomegranate juice, cold preventing tablets and butt-toning shoes come to mind) are just some of the reasons why.
To gain their trust, we build relationships based on these three principles:
Education: Explaining a product’s mechanism or efficacy (in language we can understand, thank you very much) can help women make informed decisions. We don’t just do this for what you’d consider “high-science” products. A few years ago for Head & Shoulders we facilitated a two-day “Scalp School” for women’s, lifestyle and beauty magazine editors to explain the science behind the Head & Shoulders claim “healthy hair starts at the scalp.” Editors became converts and we informed and inspired how they write about what it takes to get healthy hair.
Endorsement: Securing credible media and influencer endorsements are one of the most important contributions of public relations to the marketing mix. We frequently organize events or meetings with mainstream and online media to explain how and why products work and give them the opportunity to try it themselves. We address their questions on the spot and provide relevant, shareable content to encourage them to spread the word.
Experience: There’s no better way to trust that a product works than trying it yourself. That’s why we create sampling opportunities for consumers wherever they are: online, in store, or in situations where they might be thinking about a product. MMC supported two client activations at the BlogHer ‘12 annual meeting last week, where brands distributed product samples and education to a large portion of the 4,500 attending online influencers.
Once you’ve earned consumer trust, do not take it for granted. Continue to listen and watch….learn and reward and make changes when needed. It’s the cost of entry for being successful in today’s “consumer as boss” world. How are you winning over your cynical consumers?
Some people refer to the 50’s as the last Age of Innocence. Families ate together, kids were polite, family tradition reigned. I’ve been thinking a lot about tradition lately, prompted by the recent Women at NBCUniversal study, “Doing the Family Shuffle,” as well as seemingly not–so-popular adaptations and re-issues of two very traditional books from Emily Post and Dale Carnegie.
While I am a working mom, I do consider myself traditional, and I am guilty of harboring nostalgia for a time when life was simpler. In today’s society, traditions are harder earned and thus even more coveted. Life for moms like me is more complex than ever, driven particularly by the current economy. “There’s a backlash to the complexity of current conditions like the economy and fragmented families,” the NBCU press release states. “At the most unconventional time in motherhood, where only 4% of today’s families fall into the US Census definition of ‘traditional,’ a remarkable 49% of moms say ‘traditional’ is the number one parenting style they aspire to be.”
A Modern Day June Cleaver? The majority of employed moms surveyed by NBCU (53%) feel that while financially they need to work, they would prefer to be stay-at-home moms. The rift between reality and aspiration has never been wider, supported by the startling fact that only 12% of moms in the study say they believe they are very accurately portrayed in advertising. Hooray – it’s time to say goodbye to the “soccer mom.”
I’ve witnessed a craving for tradition that extends across many mom-niches, but especially among working moms where I believe it has become a common denominator. We work hard to prioritize our family time and to really make it count. For me, and many of the moms I know, family traditions offer much-needed connections to both the past and present. I believe that our family’s meaningful traditions – old and new – help provide an antidote to today’s hectic world, so we feel more firmly anchored to our family and our identity in these changing times.
So, what’s a brand to do? How do marketers strike a chord with modern-day moms who aspire to embrace tradition? According to NBCU, “Brands with strong ‘roots’ have an opportunity to play up their heritage or consider resurrecting brand assets from the past. Ultimately, though, women will need products and services that are modern and can keep pace with their everyday realities – traditional cannot mean ‘old school.’”
I personally love the nostalgia brands that appeal to my emotional side – especially foods that the family can make together to mark special occasions (Betty Crocker® is a memory maker in my house and Jif® is certainly a comfort food of choice). But I also greatly appreciate brands and products that offer modern conveniences (Crock-Pot® is a quick and easy way for me to make a home-cooked meal, Swiffer® and how about that Shark® Steam mop?!), freeing up time to create traditions and make meaningful connections.
While nostalgia is a brand relationship driver, traditional brands can’t stay frozen in time and cling to the past while markets and customers are changing. These brands must tread carefully when entering the Twitter age, ensuring any new messaging is true to its DNA.
For example, the recent reissue of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has been met with much criticism, with the NY Times referring to ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age’ as “such a radical — and radically hapless — retooling of Dale Carnegie’s text that it feels almost like an act of brand suicide…The problem …is that its verbal DNA has been not merely tweaked but scrambled.”
There are many traditional brands, however, which have maintained relevance and generated renewed engagement successfully. For example, Old Spice’s “Smell like a man, man” campaign revitalized a traditional American brand for a new consumer base in today’s marketplace. Even the ultimate in establishment and tradition, the British Royal Family, has entered the digital age with an array of social media properties surrounding the recent nuptials of the future King and Queen to be, staying true to their heritage while helping to bring relevance to today’s monarchy.
So, calling all marketers … nostalgic moms of every life stage are gearing up for the “Season of Tradition” – the Holidays. It’s time for brands with a rich heritage to showcase it, or for brands that offer modern conveniences to share how they help moms create meaningful family connections. Whatever your brand DNA, this is the perfect moment to authentically connect with moms, helping us embrace tradition – and pursue the ultimate wish to make life better for our kids. Life is already complicated, so let’s keep it simple, honest and real.
Now that’s surely something Emily Post and Dale Carnegie would celebrate!
As marketers, we sometimes lump all Moms into one niche category, but clearly all Moms are not created equal (and I know this, I am one!) There are endless verticals – ‘green’ Moms (“She is involved, she’s an influencer, and she’s an advocate”)a potential perfect target for marketers – OR “She” can sometimes be your biggest detractor. On another part of the spectrum, the first time mom can be an ultimate sweet spot for marketers. She is not only spending money on herself, but her inner circle is spending money on her as well.
I recently came back from this year’s M2M Conference in Chicago. It was a terrific peer-to-peer and expert learning and relationship building experience and a great place to share and expound on MMC’s deep Marketing to Women and Mom’s core competence. To all that attended or “listened in via tweets”, you were certain to come away with new insights and a directory full of new contacts and potential business alliances! The schedule of speakers and events put all attention and focus on the one consumer that is as involved with brands as she is with the relationships in her own life the incredible mom Chief Purchasing Officer of the household, accounting for 85% of buying!
According to M2Moms – “92% of first time moms will have a baby shower, compared to 49% of second time moms. And 95% will register for baby gifts, compared to 56% of second time moms”. It is important not to ignore who the Mom was before she became pregnant and not to overlook the Moms who work outside or inside the home (this I know as fact)!
I met and rekindled relationships with so many terrific nationwide experts in moms marketing studies and trends. And while at the conference, saw real-world case studies, creative strategies, resources and techniques brought to life. I was also privy to new research and insights that will further inform how we at MMC advance our marketing to moms ROI.
While all Moms may have similar wants and needs, it is vital to recognize who they are as individuals and do so fast! The average mom receives 2.7 brand impressions every minute of every day
..That’s a lot of communication. Moms continue to run the household and dominate purchasing for the family. They are driving economies at home and increasingly, worldwide.
As the ferry takes you across the Great South Bay and the sea breezes fill the air, you are transported to a world of quiet beauty and casual charm. Saltaire, Fire Island is an ideal haven for families with children. The absence of cars on the island allows children the freedom to go safely to the market for an ice cream or to the playground, basketball court or ball field. The small size of the Village makes it easy for children (and parents!) to feel comfortable and find their way.
Children are everywhere on their bikes, running errands to the market or pulling a wagon with books, painted shells or lemonade for sale! Kids can even ride their bikes to the evening movie at the Yacht Club. This unique independence reminded me of many aspects of my own youth and was pure joy to witness our children’s “freedom” from being under lock and key. My husband and I fully believe that this taste of independence as opposed to our usual “hovering” can have a big impact in developing self confidence and a sense of well-being. Once we set the ground rules and limits and insisted on a “no water sports/activity unless one of us was present policy” (although certified lifeguards patrol both beaches), we could relax a bit and take in the environment, knowing our children were having a ball, yet were safe on their bikes having simple yet exhilarating adventures. For those still unconvinced, Saltaire also has a security force and medical office with an award-winning paramedic/EMT team, giving us further assurance to let them explore the confines of the .9 mile wide Village!
Many children join the morning Saltaire Camp which our kids were fortunate to do as well. Together with kids their age, they enjoy sports, arts and crafts, swimming instruction, games, and field trips, while we could catch up on email or savor a chapter of our favorite novel or take in a game of tennis or go for a run. During camp hours, my husband and I could venture to the Village Hall/Library where we thankfully could get a wireless connection. The library was a haven for working parents needing to liaise with their office while still allowing the peace and relaxation they desire on holiday. The library is really the heartbeat of the Village and hosts reading and craft programs and has great books and DVD’s for adults and for children of all ages.
There are many opportunities for children to meet new friends! They can busy themselves taking swimming lessons at the Bay, or join a corkball or soccer league. Sailing, windsurfing and tennis lessons were available for all ages even big kids like me!
We spent a lot of time as a family at the beach making sand castles, shell hunting, fishing, riding the waves, going on long walks and bike rides together as well as kayaking in the Bay. We had a safe and action packed vacation and will be sharing our favorite stories and adventures for a long time to come.
A Saltaire summer vacation
where the living is easy and the memories are long.
A project lands on your desk. So, what is a good communication specialist’s first step? Start developing a plan with goals, objectives and tactics of course. Then, leverage all your resources to ensure the program is efficient and productive. Our ability to put a strategic plan in place and implement it often makes us successful in our careers.
Yet as a working Mom, I tend to leave these tools at the office and not always engage them at home. Why? Because it is not required at home and time is a precious commodity! At home, no one is insisting that we have a plan to manage the family or to reach our life goals. Is it just easier not to plan? Maybe. But, what is the cost?
One alternative is to leverage some of the skills we use at the office every day and make them work for us at home. Personal strategic planning helps identify our hopes for the future, set goals and implement plans to create balance in our life. Having a plan also helps us better manage our time and be more efficient and lets working moms “smell the roses” with their kids as they say…or kiss the dolphins in my case!
Here are a few steps that can aid you in developing a plan:
- Know what matters most to you in your personal life
- Envision what you want your future to look like for you and for your family
- Identify priorities; those things that need to happen to realize your vision and understand the barriers you face
- Create a plan that helps you fulfill your priorities and implement specific tasks that advance them
- Hold yourself accountable and celebrate your successes!
Working moms are challenged to accomplish an awesome amount of responsibilities in a very limited amount of time. Our hectic schedules and competing demands can leave us with very little free time. Unfortunately, we do not carry a magic wand in our briefcase; nor do we possess the power to twitch our noses and have everything managed for us. By taking time to create a plan, we can:
- Focus our time and allow unplanned items to be reprioritized- without being weighted down with that all too familiar feeling of guilt!
- Delight in reaching our goals, instead of the spirit-draining feeling of disappointment
- Create time by being more productive and efficient
- Enjoy a much desired balance between work and home life!
The time invested in creating a personal plan can reap benefits that are truly priceless – more precious and quality time with our fast growing children.
My most recent joy
. a magical afternoon swimming with dolphins, where our two daughters had a wonderful adventure with their Mom and Dad that we will talk and giggle about for years to come.
It was all a part of the plan!