External vs. Internal Motivations of Women: Are Marketers Getting it Right?

This year’s Marketing-to-Women (M2W) Conference was packed full of research. One session that really struck a chord with me was presented by Anthem! and focused on the expectations and motivations of women.

As a mom of a preschooler, with another on the way, I’m drawn to marketing that speaks to moms – and of course, a lot of it leaves me scratching my head.  For example, there’s a campaign with Kelly Ripa as the spokesperson.  Here she is looking skinny and gorgeous, running around her million-dollar NYC condo with heels, makeup and perfect hair cooking a full turkey while entertaining the kids and doing laundry.

Yes, I get that the commercial is implying the product is what makes it possible, but after viewing the commercial it just makes me annoyed.  I mean, what mom really looks like that at home, and is so happy to do all of those things at once?

Cue the research from Anthem! which explains my annoyance.

While it’s true that women today have more power than ever before (more education, doing better than men in job market, etc.) this doesn’t mean they feel added pressure to do more.  On the contrary, women today are shunning traditional external expectations (e.g., I need to look good, do everything and be nice) in favor of their personal internal motivations.

For brand marketers to be successful they should hit these true internal motivations. Some examples:

  • External Expectations (things women feel pressured to do): have a career, be a good mom, do it all, be attractive, be feminine, contribute to society
  • Internal Motivations (things women at their core are motivated to do – not something they do because of pressure): be healthy, have children, be in a relationship, be financially independent, have a balanced life, be fulfilled, follow my personal motivations

The previously mentioned ad hits external expectations too hard not what is internally motivating to women.  It puts too much pressure on women to look good and do it all and frankly, we’re too tired to do it all and nor do we want to!

But it’s not all bad out there.  There is a new campaign that’s doing it right.  A campaign featuring real moms across the globe as they get their kids up, feed them breakfast and shuttle them to sports really touches on the internal motivations of women. This campaign is tied to the upcoming London Olympic games and every time I watch it, I get a little teary.  What I love is that the moms are real – no makeup, houses are messy and the kids are kids.  To see it, click here

To hear more about what motivates women, I’d like to invite you to tune into our “Best of M2W” webinar on May 9. Click here to register.

Alison leads Ketchum North America’s Food & Beverage industry including Ketchum’s Cultivate offering. She is a registered dietitian with a masters in nutrition.