How Marketers Can Win Moms’ Hearts

Since Similac’s “Sisterhood of Motherhood” ad back in 2015 shined a satirical spotlight on marketing to moms, countless brands have called for an end to the mommy wars, telling us women to stop fighting and start getting along. Well, for the past year-plus, the pandemic has waged a war on moms, and most brands haven’t said boo!

Since March 2020, nearly 3 million women have left the workforce, most citing childcare demands. And about 10 million working moms are experiencing burnout. According to Ketchum’s New Essentials workforce study, 52% of working parents living with kids under 18 say they feel more burned out in their jobs now than at the beginning of the pandemic. Media have covered the topic, including a brilliant article from the New York Times called “The Primal Scream: America’s Mothers Are in Crisis.” With Mother’s Day approaching, I am hoping we see more brands like our client Lorissa’s Kitchen step forward and offer help.

How Marketers Can Win Moms’ Hearts - Lorissa's List: This Mothers's Day, we're supporting mom-owned businesses

Mother’s Day is the third-largest retail holiday in the U.S., and National Retail Foundation predicts record sales of about $28 billion this year. Consumers plan to spend an average of $220.48 on Mother’s Day items, up $16 from last year and the highest in the survey’s history.

And damn, do we deserve it!

Recognizing this huge spending holiday opportunity as a call to arms to support mom-owned businesses, protein snack brand Lorissa’s Kitchen, with Ketchum’s support, has curated a list of small mom-owned businesses offering goods and services that make fantastic Mother’s Day gifts. Through Lorissa’s List, the brand is encouraging consumers to “shop mom” and promoting these mom-centered businesses. It’s perfectly in line with the brand’s mission to fuel moms and their families.

As brands consider marketing efforts in support of mothers ­— not only through Mother’s Day, but all year round, including back-to-school — take a page from Lorissa’s Kitchen:

  • Don’t call it hard without offering help. If you are going to lean into the struggles of motherhood, then make sure you are offering tangible help over and above your product and services alone. For example, the 40 mompreneurs chosen for Lorissa’s List are receiving access to tools to help grow their businesses through national promotion and a membership to HeyMama®, a community for women who are growing families, businesses, and careers.
  • Look inside. Examine your organization and ensure your treatment of your own employees is in line with your external messages. For instance, last year after surveying Ketchum parents (who make up 33% of our workforce in the U.S.), we launched the Ketchum Pandemic Parenting Program, featuring pilot benefits around schedule and workload (including internal meeting-free hours), day-to-day child needs and enrichment (including access to a virtual learning platform, “babysitting” and homework help) and fostering internal support networks (including the creation of micro-communities to connect parents of similarly-aged children).
  • Focus. There are about 85 million mothers in America. Find a specific group of moms to support in line with your brand’s story or values. In Lorissa’s case, this was mom business owners, but it could also be moms of color, single moms, LGBTQ moms or any of the many other diverse examples of motherhood out there.
  • Mamma said. Amplify real moms’ voices and stories (and compensate them accordingly). Rather than paying for actors and manufacturing storylines, find real mothers out there telling their stories and lend them your platform. Two years ago for Mother’s Day, Dove evolved its Real Beauty campaign to a #RealMoms campaign to launch its new babycare line with a wide variety of moms from a cattle rancher to a stay-at-home-mom, a transgender mom to a break dancing mom.
  • Mother’s intuition. Make sure to bring moms from your organization to the table for the discussion – even if they’re not in marketing roles. It will help ensure your thinking is rooted in a true insight and meaningful activation. If there isn’t a mother to contribute (which is hard to believe – we’re everywhere!), test the concept with moms you know from elsewhere.

At Ketchum, there are plenty of parents and other people who are passionate about supporting mothers —as well as companies who support mothers, whether they’re employees, consumers or both. If you’d like to talk about how we can help you, just get in touch.

Lauren Sugarman is an SVP, Strategic & Creative Planner who works with Ketchum client across categories including food, retail and CPG. She’s also a children’s book author, mom or three and Bravo-holic.