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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Marketing Mom's

Mother's Day is a wonderful time for marketers to talk to moms. After all, mothers are the chief purchasing officers, or CPOs, of their households, making almost all of the spending decisions. From computers to cars, from airlines to appliances, from home improvement to high-definition TVs, women -- the majority of whom are moms -- make 85% of all household purchase decisions in the U.S. Smart marketers can't afford to ignore the power of mom's purse. New media is all the rage these days, and there are several vehicles that are doing a great job of leveraging the power of marketing to moms. is the largest and fastest-growing social-networking site for moms on the web, with 1 million members. Moms have created more than 35,000 groups on for everything from cooking to autism to working at home to raising boys to getting tattoos. CafeMom also prides itself on providing added-value sponsorship programs that allow brands to realistically join the conversation, and blue chip brands such as P&G, Walmart, Kraft and Sony have heeded CafeMom's call.

Marketing to moms makes sense, but beware these common mistakes: Don't assume "mom" is the only aspect of their lives that women with children can relate to. In fact, moms are multidimensional, and when they are in work mode, exercise mode or planning a girlfriends' getaway, the "mom" mind-set is not where their heads are.

Don't assume moms have all the money. In a way, they do; 84% of women over 40 have kids -- ergo, they are mothers. But the real driver of women's spending power kicks in when they are less involved with their kids, not throwing all their dough into diapers and formula. Don't assume moms all have toddlers in the home. Most marketers are thinking in terms of babies and younger kids but only 3.5% of women bear children each year, so that's a pretty limited target audience. And the fact is, most of the household's major baby spending is concentrated around the birth of the first child, making the niche even smaller.

One thing that surprises me is the dearth of content, info, forums, social networking and blogs oriented around the needs and concerns of moms of teens. The difficulties of adolescents are at least as bad as the tantrums of toddlers, and often with far more dire consequences. Yet no one is making it their business to reach out to this under-served and over-stressed segment.

don't make the mistake of using stereotypical "mommy marketing."

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