Ask a mom how she tackles motherhood today and she’ll probably mention efficiencies. It’s not like she got the title CHO (Chief Household Officer) for nothing. Understanding the shifts in women’s lives from pre-child to parent is an important thing for marketers to acknowledge. According to recent reports by Mintel, women feel a shift in their lifestyle more acutely than men after having a child. No matter the amount of preparation, insanity ensues once their child arrives. Managing their time becomes a priority, so they start to adopt new behaviors to survive the hectic nature of new motherhood. Things like making a grocery list, meal planning, coupon clipping, and making schedules are all behaviors that marketers could acknowledge and help them create efficiencies.
Women’s earnings and economic contributions to their families continue to grow in importance, and black women in particular tend to take on a huge amount of their households’ financial burden. For instance, three-quarters of black women holding breadwinner status are doing it alone. Black moms are more likely than other moms to say that providing for their families makes them feel like a “super-mom.” This reality should be reflected in how motherhood is portrayed in advertising. Simply casting black women in ads is not enough. Marketers must go further to faithfully represent their reality, showing the full scope of their dual role as breadwinner and caregiver.
Studies show that a more mobile web has enabled deeper engagement through video within micro-moments of Mom’s day. Video allows brands to insert themselves in non-disruptive, contextual conversations, connecting with moms during the various stops on their journey. Their two key searches are “how-to” videos and “DIY” content, signaling that ongoing, quick-burst learning is highly valuable for them. Creating branded content that’s equal parts useful and informative (as opposed to simply “ads”) would spur more organic search and build “brand bonds” with moms.
Having a child leads to many lifestyle changes for parents, from decreases in “me” time to variations in spending habits. These changes are more drastic for new parents who are shifting their schedules to accommodate their new baby, working in early a.m. feedings and earlier mornings. This schedule change correlates to a shift in social-media time for new parents as “feeding time” — between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. — provides them with an opportunity to log in and catch up. Knowing that new parents are likely to be online far earlier than the general population gives brands a new window in which to target this audience with relevant content, in a time frame when other advertisers may not be as likely to be spending their money.
We all know getting attention from time-poor millennial moms is tough. Between handling kids, balancing work and planning meals, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest become quick escapes. However, more and more are swapping this social time for another platform — parenting communities. Searching for advice, tips and reassurance from a like-minded audience can provide more value than “pinning” or “liking.” As attention continues to shift from traditional social channels to more niche communities, brands need to rethink where they start conversations with millennial moms. Parenting communities provide an opportunity for brands to position themselves as thought leaders. Keep in mind though that one of the biggest markers on the millennial scorecard is authenticity. Brands that communicate successfully in this way won’t just be accepted, they’ll be championed.
Authenticity is paramount for brands that want to cut through the content clutter and mean something to consumers. Brands out of touch with the trials and daily wins of modern mom face irrelevance. In fact, 7 out of 10 moms say that it’s important for brands to get what it’s like to be a mom. Seeing “super moms” push strollers in high heels and vacuum their ultra-clean homes in full makeup may at one point have been aspirational. Now, it’s just an annoying and unrealistic standard.
Hyper-targeting moms is difficult enough for marketers. So giving them an incentive to try your product based on context — not just content — is more important than ever. “Geofencing” them with coupons is not as invasive as most marketers think. Putting moms in control of their own shopping with money-saving utilities can spur loyalty with a superior retail experience.
Like the fate of every other social network, Moms tend to hop on after their kiddos have made headway. And much to the chagrin of its largely Gen Y audience, it’s Snapchat’s turn. A platform made for nonstop personal storytelling, it lends a window to their children’s’ lives, no matter how mundane. Many moms report a sense of stress relief as they cruise through snaps of bite-sized content. It’s a quick, in-the-moment way for entertainment to be enjoyed throughout the day. With less annoying ads, personal touches and funny moments meant to be shared, it’s become the perfect platform for the on-the-go mom who craves connection with those they love.
The modern dad is often depicted as the confused, aspiring hero who straddles traditional “manhood” and “boyishness.” But this depiction does not accurately reflect modern dads and how moms see them. Samsung’s recent commercials featuring Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell showcase their household dynamic as the parenting partnership that 80% of moms in this study likely recognize.
Never before have dads played such a big role at home, being more involved in day-to-day childcare and household duties than any generation before them.
The “goofy dad” trope has hit its saturation point. Moms want to see their companions featured doing what they love most — being the best dads they can be.
With the drastic shift in societal attitudes towards marriage and childbearing over the last few decades comes an equally drastic shift in family structure as compared to the ’50s and ’60s. What constitutes a traditional family has long changed from the two married parents with 2.4 children that advertising considered the norm 50 years ago. In 2014, the CDC reported that 40% of births in the U.S. were to women who were not married. This is down from its 50% peak in 2007–2008, but so is the overall birth rate. Whether having kids or not, today’s moms are doing things much differently than their mothers and grandmothers, as blended families, LGBT families and cohabitating unions become more and more the norm in American society. In the study, three-quarters of women and men agreed that “[i]t is okay to have and raise children when the parents are living together but not married.”
Move over teenagers. Now it’s mom who can’t put the smartphone down while shopping in-store. In fact, 79.4% of Millennial Moms use their smartphones while shopping in-store to search for better prices, while 68.9% use them to read product reviews. Why? Smartphone apps like Target’s Cartwheel, SavingStar, iBotta, and MobiSave are popular deal apps that help moms slash prices on items and brands they regularly purchase. Some moms claim to spend up to 45 minutes lining up their mobile apps while making their grocery lists before shopping. Smartphones are enabling moms to shop for items and brands they love without having to settle for what’s on sale in store. Product reviews are helping moms try new items, so they feel like they’re getting the best bang for their buck. Smartphones have become a new weapon in Mom’s savvy shopper arsenal.
For June Cleaver’s generation, having multiple children by their mid-20s was a given. But U.S. fertility rates have plummeted to the lowest point on record. Many women are delaying motherhood, with the highest incidence among those pursuing higher degrees and career tracks. While there are social and cultural issues driving this change, the key force is financial. The average cost of raising a child from birth to 18 has risen over the decades, from $198,560 in 1960 to $245,340 in 2013 (U.S. government; adjusted for inflation). Also, delaying motherhood measurably increases a woman’s earnings. A generation of women became daunted by the uphill battle toward financial stability as they dealt with student debt, bleak job prospects, slow wage growth, and skyrocketing costs for rent, health care and child care.
But a dichotomy exists between the wallet and the heart.
While birth rates may have collapsed, the desire to have children has not. Somewhat unexpectedly, younger Americans prefer slightly bigger families than their older counterparts. Asked to name “the ideal number of children,” Americans younger than 30 averaged “2.7.” That’s greater than the country’s rate of fewer than 1.9 children per woman . The bad news for brands is that women having fewer children affects consumer spending. The good news is that there’s a role for brands to play by engaging on real issues that face women who are succeeding in becoming a mom: child care and housing costs, student debt, job empowerment and support for policies like paid maternity leave .
Pew Survey, January 2017