insights from the “mom olympics”

While some are calling The Games the “Mobile Olympics”, I’m inclined to call them the “Mom Olympics” due to all the focus on the athlete’s Moms.  The Games’ coverage is peppered with cutaways of cringing, praying, cheering Moms watching their children perform. Or, ads, like P&G’s “Thank You Mom” highlighting the Moms behind the athletes and appreciating them with the nod:  “The Hardest Job in the World is the Best Job in the World.

marketing to mom -> mucho bucks!

The “mommification” of The Games is not surprising because media companies who want to appeal to Mom viewers, like NBC, and marketing powerhouses who want to sell products to Mom, like P&G, understand that Moms in America are the business. Literally.Moms control +80% of all purchase decisions. Moms run this economy. Moms are the 3rd largest consumer segment in America. There are more Moms in America than all men in America over the age of 29 years! Nearly 30% of the total US population is a Mom.

Yet, for such a large and influential market segment, “75% of Moms feel that brands do not acknowledge or recognize their needs as mothers.” A separate study found that “66% of Moms feel misunderstood by healthcare marketers.”

moms in america = M.I.A

The acronym for “Moms in America” is M.I.A, which is apropos given that Moms are also “missing in action.”  Brands are missing the mark on the Mom target – they don’t get Mom, they don’t portray her accurately and they don’t speak to her the way she wants to be spoken with. Moms feel they are underserved, missing out on products and services designed especially for them… the real them. Modern Moms. Not stereotyped Moms.

To get my head around this critical market segment (and cultural force), I conducted a deep dive analysis of all the secondary research I could find on “Moms in America”. What was surprising was the dearth of research into Moms, given their numbers. And, conversely, the number of studies that assumed 85 million women can be lumped into ONE psychographic and behavioral group, completely ignoring nuanced differences between “Cool Moms” (click to watch the Ford ad left), “Sugar Moms”, “Power Moms”, “Digital Moms”, “Alpha Moms”, etc. The most research exists on Millennial Moms, highlighting the vast generational differences amongst Moms. Very little seems to be known about Gen X and Boomer Moms today, which control 47-times the spending of Millennial Moms!

marketing to mom brains 

A few of the most surprising findings of my Moms in America (M.I.A) study include:

  • Mom brains are literally hard wired differently than non-Moms from chemical changes of pregnancy, and their senses (especially smell) are heightened, making them the most ideal candidates for experiential marketing.
  • Mom brains respond to stories. That’s why brands that relay personal stories (e.g., Mom to Mom testimonials) are so powerful.
  • Moms are innately more curious: scouring the Internet and every information outlet, from friends to ads, for insights into products.
  • Moms are looking more to make the most of their family time, than to make more time; resigned to multi-tasking and being time-starved she wants products to enhance scarce family time and turn chores into memorable times.
  • Mom wants to be a magnet. She wants her kids and their friends to want to be around her and her friends to come to her. Possessing cool products and brands and knowledge help her magnetism.
  • To cope, Mom has a sense of humor. Funny Moms have a lot of marketing influence. And similarly, she identifies with imperfect Moms (but not bumbling).
  • Moms are naturally more competitive (personally and with their brood), and thus seek out tips, tools and tricks that give them an edge, which explains the appeal of media and brands that offer expert access.
  • Mom feels underappreciated. She’s a little resentful that she has to sacrifice and pull more than her weight… without getting any gold medals!

We live in a Mom-driven culture. Moms shape entire generations of citizens – thought, behavior, skills, values, and table manners. We need to learn more about Moms in America, who are truly M.I.A.

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