February 9, 2015 Jen Maltby

Consider the Children: Why Mom Marketing Often Misses

If you’re a mom, the scene I am about to describe will be all too familiar. Meanwhile, if you are a brand selling to moms, pay attention.

It was a typical Saturday morning: laundry, house cleaning, a stop at the dry cleaner, a trip to my daughter’s dance class and a visit to two (2) different grocery stores. All before lunchtime. So, understandably, I was a little bit frazzled by the time I entered grocery store #2 (and wedged my kids into the giant racecar/grocery cart nightmare that they insist I drive) to complete the last of my errands for the day. Now, if you have ever had the pleasure of grocery shopping with two tired, hungry kids under the age of 9, you will know that I was in a cold sweat before I even entered the store. What was I going to do to keep them quiet and happy so I could just get through this trip? It was in this moment of weakness that I thought, “Well, I will just give them my cell phone. They can play a game.” It’s an alternative that I turn to with both assured relief – and assured guilt.

But then something unexpected happened.

My oldest daughter noticed a sign at the entrance of the store about a “Find the Dinosaur” game that they could play while we were shopping. Apparently this brilliant purveyor of food products had – with kids in mind – created a game by putting dinosaur pictures, drawings and paintings in various places throughout the store. Well, let me tell you, this simple act of kid-friendly entertainment not only made my kids happy the WHOLE time we shopped, it made me far more happy – and took away the impending guilt I knew I would feel if I had resorted to “medicating” my kids with technology while I shopped.

I share this story, because Full Contact recently conducted a fascinating study of 500 moms of young children from the U.S. and the U.K. And, as part of this study, we asked the following question: “What is your biggest concern as a mom today?”

Not surprisingly, most moms answered they were concerned about the overall safety of their children; however, what was surprising was that their second biggest concern (tied with health and happiness) was that their children are getting too much exposure to technology. Here’s what a few of them said:

“They get too much exposure to technology.”
“Electronic media overload and making sure my child is learning how to think creatively and independently.”
“Electronics are killing family time.”

So, we come full circle to my grocery store trip. First, according to this research, I am not alone in my concern over using technology as a parenting crutch. More importantly, however, I realized that moms really don’t feel like a success until they are actually encouraging their children to think and play creatively.

Of course, there are industries and companies that do a great job of this. Toys are obvious; Melissa and Doug is a personal favorite brand in our home. Even some of the electronics (they aren’t all evil!) that my kids play with stimulate creativity by helping my kids create art or compose stories.

But even beyond toys (and my special little local grocer), I have seen many local places get better at this. We love the restaurants that go beyond the typical three broken crayons and a coloring page and, instead, provide a bucket full of crayons, cover the entire table with paper (a full canvas for a budding artist!), and even hang the best works up on the wall. There is even a boutique that has a small in-store nook with a bookshelf stocked with kids’ books.

As a mom, I choose these local gems because they understand I not only need to entertain my kids – but that I also want to do so in a way that makes me feel good.

As a marketer, consider what you are doing to better understand your mom customer and her needs when it comes to visiting your store, restaurant or website, but don’t forget to consider her needs as a mom, too. After all, addressing both of these needs at once will certainly land you a lifelong, loyal customer, like me.

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