Three Words All Communicators Need to Know When Marketing to Moms from the M2Moms Conference

new-kelleyThe weather was perfect, the room was full and the connections were abundant when I recently attended and spoke at the largest marketing-to-moms conference in the country, M2Moms. The annual event is a terrific venue to network and trend-spot. Typically held in Chicago, the conference moved to downtown New York this year, which shifted the composition of the hundreds of attendees and mompreneurs to more of a national, versus mostly Midwest, crowd.

While the attendees, brands and companies were very diverse, the hot topics were very consistent. If I were to create a word cloud based off of the sessions, I’d bet three words would dominate the graphic: work, influencers and millennials (click to tweet). I learned some surprising data points and implications at this year’s M2Moms Conference that I think are worth sharing—as so many brands count on moms as their primary buyer.

Work: The “juggle struggle” was cited by many speakers as a source of angst, and opportunity, as many working moms navigate the challenges of taking care of family and managing a career. Despite their prominent and dual-roles as consumer and professional, most mothers still feel misunderstood by the companies trying to target them as consumers. With 73 percent of moms in the workforce (50 percent of whom havs salaries equal to or on par with a partner) companies are losing these talented employees at staggering rates.

The solutions? Experts advocated for brands to make her life easier, be mobile and create a diverse marketing team. Advice to moms themselves included giving feedback to brands and companies, finding companies that value working moms and working for the type of person who understands a mom best—a mompreneur. Mompreneurs, in particular, who buy for themselves, a family and a business represent triple buying power and pose a lucrative opportunity for brands that recognize their complex roles.

Influencers: The blocking of online ads via apps is predicted to reach 100 percent by 2018. As a result, influencer revenue is predicted to outpace (and then replace) banner ad revenue. Given those dynamics, the role of social influencers will skyrocket within the next few years. By my count at least half of the sessions at the conference specifically addressed influencers and that the social and digital influence business is growing exponentially. However, 70 percent of online mom influencers feel that there is a substantial gap between what type of content works with their audiences and what content brands think works.

The implications? Earned (vs. paid) influence is poised to be the new “it” girl. Consumers will still value search, but will do so without the influence of paid ads, making content from influencers who have rankings and scale “super-influential.” For those of us who live in the world of earned attention, it’s a huge opportunity that can be capitalized on if we apply our earned expertise, and ability to create mom-right content to “influence the influencers.”

Millennials: The largest and most diverse generation in U.S. history, millennials have created a turnaround in the declining US birthrate. Almost 83 percent of new moms are millennials. At the same time, marriage among millennials is on the decline—meaning over 50 percent (and growing) of babies are being born to single parent households, where mom is typically in charge of household decision making. This mom is highly educated, mobile, online and social, especially when it comes to motherhood.

The opportunities? Communicators hear the word “millennial” a million times a day, and for good reason. Millennial moms pose huge opportunities for brands and, at the same time, it’s a very cluttered and hotly-contested environment. Three breakthrough ideas struck me as I listened to the many presenters.

  • Millennial moms are about quality moments along the journey, not the destination. So, helping her every day without an “eye on the prize,” will be more effective.
  • Marketing needs to be driven by her “always-on” need state, not by a traditional marketing calendar.
  • While “millennial” is THE buzzword, there are millions of non-millennial moms who, mom-for-mom, have more significant income and buying power than their younger counterparts. Think appliances, cars, financial products, etc.

Work, influencers and millennials—I am very excited to see how these words resonate and shape marketing-to-moms landscape in the year to come.