Brands lean on social media to win the approval of mom

Moms control about 85% of household spending in the US.

Moms control about 85% of household spending in the US. As such, brands deem them to be among their most important consumers, according to Mom Central Consulting. And because moms are so demographically diverse, companies are using emotional tactics to draw them in.

Mom Central Consulting interviewed 1,000 moms. A key finding, says CEO Stacy DeBroff, was that they feel more isolated than they did in prior years because many no longer live near close friends or relatives.

Devoted to digital
This rise in physical detachment has prompted moms, regardless of their age, to increasingly turn to social media.

The study also revealed that only 50% of moms describe themselves as brand loyalists and 89% are open to trying new brands and products. As such, "it's never been easier to win or lose customers," DeBroff notes.

Brooke Hovey, SVP in Cohn & Wolfe's digital practice, says when creating a client campaign targeting moms, she incorporates a helpful service element.

"Moms are looking for anything a brand can provide them that offers convenience and savings," she explains. "Basically, anything that makes their lives easier."

Warehouse retailer Sam's Club launched a blogger event last December aimed at recreating situations moms face on a daily basis. The "Holiday Entertaining on Any Budget" activity involved a group of nine bloggers given a budget of $50, $60, or $75 and challenged them to use the money to buy products from Sam's Club to create holiday meals for their families.

Bloggers documented their experiences and posted photos and videos on their pages, generating nearly 1.5 million impressions.

"As a brand that is relied on for bulk items and wow items, such as apparel and jewelry, we're trying to figure out how we can fit in and tell our brand story," explains Carrie Foster, senior PR manager for Sam's Club.

She says Sam's has also started engaging moms with Twitter parties every Wednesday, discussing topics such as table-setting tips.

Making mobile matter to mom

Mobile apps are a big craze in the marketing world, but brands may need to rethink strategies when it comes to moms, says Stacy DeBroff, CEO of Mom Central Consulting.

"Moms tend to change apps on their phones like Kleenex," she says.

DeBroff thinks marketers need to focus on "pragmatic" apps that can help moms make faster and more efficient purchasing choices or apps with "connectivity" that allow moms to get advice from their peers.

Value of engagement
"The real value to Sam's Club is these moms are highly engaged with the brand, the subject matter, and the reach of these conversations is amplified through followers and retweets," adds Hovey.

Sam's is considering connecting with moms through Pinterest, since the average time spent on the virtual pinboard site is 10 minutes.

"We are always thinking beyond the written word," says Hovey.

Another way brands are engaging moms is through ambassador programs, which allow for direct interaction with consumers.

"To form relationships, brands should start with customers who love them," explains DeBroff, who helped Whirlpool create an ambassador program last December.

Whirlpool gave new washers and dryers to 50 brand-loyal moms and asked them to produce content about their experiences with the products.

"By harnessing the power of 50 moms, the brand was able to see the different ways that laundry affects its target market and educate the moms' networks of friends and family," says Monica Teague, senior manager of brand experience at Whirlpool.

In a post-campaign survey, 53% of participants said a friend or relative bought a Whirlpool appliance as a result of their participation in the program. As of January, the initiative garnered 200-plus blog and Facebook posts and about 2,100 tweets using the hashtag #WhirlpoolMoms.

Stephanie Smirnov, president at DeVries Public Relations, says bloggers were key to the success of Procter & Gamble's Facebook campaign thanking moms involved in the Special Olympics. Three months after launch, the Facebook page went from "practically zero to 200,000 fans," she says, adding that as of February 2012, the page had more than 460,000 fans.

Smirnov says the campaign remains successful because of P&G's ongoing engagement with bloggers.

"Once you establish a relationship with moms, keep nurturing it," she advises. "Don't love them and leave them."

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