Moms to Advertisers: The Shoe Don’t Fit

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Maggie O'Neill.

Maggies mmmblogFifty years ago, Marketing to Moms was perceivably simple.  Based on historic icons and a few episodes of Mad Men, reaching moms was one dimensional and focused purely on making June Cleaver’s life easier.  Now, the women of that time may disagree about the singular dimension approach, but it worked.  And it worked well for large ad agencies relying on piles of research to identify the singular mom audience.  Not anymore.

According to a recent blog from EmpowHER, 91% of women feel that advertisers do not understand her.  The problem here is that “her” is more multi-dimensional than ever, and old research methods and blanket ad campaigns are just not getting it.  Marketers today need to be more nimble and have honest dialogues with their female consumers.  The secret sauce that worked to sell home appliances to the perfect housewife now involves 25+ recipes to reach the moms of today.  Let’s start with the basics – there are single moms, divorced moms, married moms, moms by mistake, grandmoms being moms, moms to pets, etc.  Then we get into situation analysis like the miserable moms, the perfect moms (or they think they are), the active moms and more.  So how can one brand or agency claim to be able to reach this moving target? 

Listening is the first step and recognizing that no amount of expensive research can uncover what honest conversations can.  Second is having these conversations where your consumer is and not forcing them to come to your sandbox.  For example, last year Frito-Lay made great strides communicating their healthy brand promise by partnering with Farmville to let social gamers learn about the ingredients in their products.  And it worked.  And finally, it has to be authentic.  Let’s be honest, Kelly Ripa doing laundry and cooking with her Electrolux appliances is about as un-authentic as you can get (at least in this blogger’s mind).  Why not show real women – and all types– struggling with daily chores, re-heating the takeout and running to Home Depot to fix things herself. 

Agencies that continue to target just June Cleaver are not only getting left behind, but ignored by moms and trampled on by other, more authentic brands.  They can’t see themselves in June’s shoes and they are letting brands know this loud and clear. Remember, hell hath no fury…

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