I'm not a mommy, but I am a consumer

It's that time of year again when holiday shopping is top of mind among marketers who want to get consumers in their stores purchasing their goods.

It's that time of year again when holiday shopping is top of mind among marketers who want to get consumers in their stores purchasing their goods.

Red is not only the color of the suit Santa Claus wears, it's also the color of the flag I raise to alert marketers to not be so narrow minded in their consumer targeting this holiday season. 

Red flag: Mom may not be your only target audience.

Fifty percent of American women are not mothers, so marketers should stop ignoring us. The shiny new toy for the past few years has been marketing to moms - mommy bloggers and the like. However, marketers are missing the buying power of a huge, and may I remind you, influential, set of women.

It's not the moms who control and influence 85% of household purchases; it's women as a whole. In fact, recent US Census data states that even fewer women are having children than before. Melanie Notkin, CEO and founder of SavvyAuntie.com says, “We are the consumers that marketers should be focusing on because we have the time, money, and influence they are looking for.”

For instance, Lori, a 34-year-old engineer who is married with three children, says she spends $200 a month on children's clothes. That may be important to some companies like OshKosh, but there are a lot of non-mothers who I know who spend that and more every month buying clothes, shoes, and beauty products for themselves and others in their households, especially when it comes to holiday shopping.

BSMMedia.com goes on to say that in order to best appreciate the power of mothers as consumers, simply visit a popular park in your town. Within minutes of sitting next to a sandbox, you'll hear mothers compare health coverage, gather input on baby foods, critique the hottest family vacation destinations, and utter their 2 cents on the latest political race.

Within minutes of sitting in the early stages of a spin class, you'll hear non-mothers talking about their jobs, what they are cooking, where they bought their sneakers, jewelry, and clothing all while talking about the upcoming weekend's festivities. These women are also seeking suggestions from each other on what to buy for their loved ones during the holidays.

How does this play out online? According to eMarketer, single women and female boomers spend more time and money online than any other demographic. Yet, this market is essentially neglected by most advertisers and marketers. It seems that most of the money online is being spent targeting moms through influential mommy bloggers and mom related websites such as MomCentral.com. However, marketers won't reach 50% of women by solely focusing their marketing spend there.

If you want to be successful with your holiday campaigns, simply knowing that women are your market is not enough. Marketers must understand who she is to connect with her effectively. Think in terms of life stages, not ages. Take the time to listen to her about who is important to her, where she shops, and how she likes to spend her time. Engaging a woman could mean a single woman, a mom, or even a married woman without children. How you speak to each is going to differ every time.

As you develop your plans for the holiday season, don't forget people like me, who shop every weekend buying anything from clothes to accessories, books, and make-up, and even some stuff for my husband, niece, and nephew. I'll be shopping and so will the 50% of woman like me. We have buying power, are influential, and love to shop.

Denise Vitola is SVP and deputy director of the personal care practice in MSLGroup's New York office.

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