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What matters when marketing to modern moms

Mothers are a powerful and discerning group of consumers, whose diversity demands nuanced consideration by marketers. But, asks the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ in its latest issue (Issue 1 2018) are brands listening to moms?

While statistics are hard to come by and consumers are still regularly presented with clichéd images of smiling, supportive moms, Dr Sarah Britten, of marketing agency Labstore South Africa, says that change is afoot in this sector. “Behind the scenes there’s a lot of research into how mothers see the world and what matters to them,” she observes.

An example is research undertaken every 2-3 years by clothing retailer Ackermans into the evolving priorities and challenges of mothers in the mass market. “What became evident to us is that many marketers are guilty of tailoring their communication to mothers based on outdated ideas about what it means to be a mom,” says Customer Marketing Manager, Karin Lombard-de Kock.

Part of the challenge for marketers, she believes, is to stop thinking of moms in traditional or one-dimensional roles. For example, whereas marketers regularly trot out the hackneyed and patronising phrase, ‘Motherhood is the toughest job in the world’, mothers argue that they do not think of taking care of their kids as another job. The trick, advises Lombard-de Kock, is to remember mothers are multifaceted individuals.

The most effective way of communicating with mothers, believes Britten, is by using an omnichannel strategy through which some touch points communicate the brand message. Other touch points ensure products are available and visible at the point of purchase, while further touch points allow for more meaningful engagement. “This is where social media is really useful,” she says.

Mothers and expectant mothers rely on social media for information and support – particularly when they are on maternity leave, observes Britten. In addition to sharing updates and asking for advice on Facebook, mothers are also influenced by so-called ‘mommy bloggers’. “More and more budget is shifting to influencers, and this is especially true of brands that want to reach mothers,” she says.