Cadena: Five things brands should know about Millennial moms

There are 90 million Millennials in the US, a quarter of whom are parents with a spending power of $200 billion and growing.

Adrienne Cadena
Adrienne Cadena

Many consumer brands have gotten the memo: moms and Millennials are two extremely important groups to target in today’s marketplace.

As a Millennial myself, it’s been interesting to see how brands are vying for our attention, looking for different ways to engage us in a more organic, social, and digital way.

However, over the past eight months, my perspective has changed as I’ve entered into the next phase of my life: parenthood. As a Millennial mom in the marketing industry, I’ve reflected on how my mindset, tendencies, and shopping habits have changed as a consumer.

There are 90 million Millennials in the US, a quarter of whom are parents with a spending power of $200 billion and growing. With these numbers increasing exponentially, brands can’t afford to get this emerging target audience wrong. Here are some things companies should consider when trying to win over Millennial moms.

Mobile is everything
Millennial moms use their smartphones for just about everything, from organizing their days, taking pictures, and looking up recipes to purchasing products and seeking advice online. It is important for brands to not get caught up in simply offering deals and discounts; rather, brands should incorporate other engagement tactics, including helping them save time, be entertained, and connect with friends and family. For example, Starbucks’ mobile-payment app integrates rewards, quick access to payment features, and entertainment elements like app and free song downloads. This multifaceted mobile approach is much more effective for Millennial moms than the one-dimensional promotional discount some brands are stuck on.

Move toward digital
We know that Millennial moms are spending about 90% of their time in the digital space, and that is where they are getting their information. Due to this insight, some brands such as Fisher-Price are deciding to take a 100% digital approach.

In 2014, the brand created a series of video vignettes to highlight the company’s products and how they are solutions for parents as well as kids. These videos were used in the social space, but they were also embedded in websites and apps, such as BabyCenter and Parent.com, where moms are spending their time.

The brand conducted another digital-only campaign tied to the royal baby’s first birthday. Sweepstakes were anchored on BabyCenter where moms could win 12 classic toys, a savings bond, cake, and royal-themed party kit for 25 attendees. By integrating a Facebook application called Make Your Baby Royal, which allowed parents to add royal-themed accessories to their kid’s photo, in addition to sponsoring six-hour birthday-planning discussions on BabyCenter.com, Fisher-Price is evolving its marketing efforts to effectively attract Millennial moms.

Convenience and timeliness is key
This consumer segment is busy, with more than 70% of Millennial moms working outside the home. Companies that offer products and apps that can minimize the complexity of their lives will have the upper hand. A retailer that is getting it right is Target. The brand partnered with Facebook to create an app called Cartwheel, which gives consumers an efficient way to save on hundreds of items throughout the store by bundling all of the retailer’s coupons in one place. The app also integrates social, another important piece to Millennial moms, allowing consumers to share deals on Facebook. This type of engagement has increased Target’s average shopping-cart dollar amount, while making Millennial moms feel good about the time and money they are saving. Since the app’s release, 7.7 million users have saved more than $84 million.

Where can you engage them to sample
With virtually every hour of the day accounted for in Millennial moms’ smartphone calendars, it can be challenging for companies to find and connect with them. Brands should adjust their trial programs by taking a more integrated approach, using digital to engage and drive these consumers to retail, where product trial can occur most efficiently.

Knowing that Millennial moms are going grocery shopping at least one or two times a week, it’s a smart move to get them to try your product and influence others through their sharing tendencies. Ella’s Kitchen, an organic baby food, is following this strategy. Promoting their nutritional drinks for kids, the brand created an online microsite, Ella’s Farmacy, where parents can personalize their own shakes with hand-picked ingredients, even naming it with a photo and background art uploads. Not only can parents share this creation with friends and family on social, but they can be entered into a sweepstakes and receive a $25 gift card to Target to try even more of their products. By sampling at Target throughout the campaign, it would reinforce the quality and convenience message we know Millennial moms seek.

Be transparent and authentic
Similar to Millennials in general, Millennial moms want transparency and authenticity from brands. They are skeptical when it comes to marketing, and they have the luxury of being discerning. Brands such as Johnson & Johnson understand this notion and have been using social media programs to reach this generation of moms focusing on the promise to remove controversial ingredients from products in the name of "transparency communications."

If companies are honest and authentic with this group, Millennial moms will show significant loyalty to the brands they choose. More than generations before them, this new group of moms considers the brands they buy as extensions of their own values. Since they identify with them personally, they also want to buy products that support charities or bigger causes, which is something marketers should prioritize if they haven’t already.

Adrienne Cadena is a VP at Havas Formula.

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