By Kim Lawton
Today, more than 8 in 10 new moms are Millennials. Compared with previous generations, they’re busier, more digitally savvy, and more in-tune with pop culture. Unfortunately, they’re also not connecting with marketers’ attempts to reach them.
Public relations firm Weber Shandwick, in conjunction with KRC Research, recently found that 42 percent of Millennial moms believe that “most advertising and marketing is not geared toward women like me.” With $200 billion in annual purchasing power in 2017, this discerning demographic is one advertisers can’t afford to fail with.
Reaching Millennial moms, then, begins with understanding the modern family. Perhaps surprisingly, the stay-at-home mom has made a bit of a comeback. According to the aforementioned Weber Shandwick study, 35 percent of Millennial moms self-identify as “homemakers,” while just 30 percent are employed full-time. Fortunately, many of these moms have some help, with Millennial dads providing more assistance with daily household tasks than ever before.
Given Millennial parents’ blurring of traditional gender roles, it’s imperative that brands craft experiences for multitalented moms. As an experience design agency, my company does so using these three rules:
Make it quick and easy
With kids to corral, a household to manage, a social life, and more, Millennial moms don’t have time to waste. They’re looking for products that simplify their lives, so brands hoping to reach today’s on-the-go-moms must engineer experiences to match.
Method, the self-titled “people against dirty,” recently partnered with Cleanly to launch a free pop-up launderette in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Participating moms simply logged on to Method’s site, described how they wanted their clothes laundered, and provided an address for pickup.
To keep things simple for on-the-go moms, give brand ambassadors extensive product training before launching your experiential campaign. Put them in mock social situations so that when real moms arrive, the ambassadors can quickly communicate to them the value of your product. Respect moms’ time; in return, they’ll respect your brand.
Take the footprint online.
Today’s moms are more connected than any generation before. Ninety percent of them share opinions online about retail stores, apparel, and food and drink, with most having three or more social media accounts. So, when conducting your experiential campaign, don’t forget about their online lives. Give them opportunities to share and interact on social media, both with the brand and with other moms.
For example, for our Thomas’ Breakfast Like No Other tour, we invited prominent bloggers — most of whom double-shift as moms — to select events, encouraging them to share content while consuming their breakfast sandwiches. By sharing their opinions online, the mom bloggers generated nearly 15 million social impressions. Millennial moms may be busy, but they find time to consume — and create — plenty of online media.
Remind her that no mom is perfect — and that’s OK.
For too long, marketing campaigns and media have shown moms as one-dimensional caretakers and happy housewives. But in reality, they’re complex, independent people who simply don’t see themselves in marketers’ perfectionist portrayals. By reminding moms that everyone has flaws, marketers stand to gain a much more receptive audience.
Recently, Lean Cuisine set up scales in Grand Central Station where moms could “weigh in.” But instead of real scales, the frozen food brand used whiteboards on which women could describe how they truly wanted to be judged. Rather than focus on weight or size, participants thought positively about areas of their lives they felt proud of. One woman shared that she was the lone provider for four sons, while another felt fulfilled by the 200 homeless children she helped to care for. Give moms a boost with your own experiential campaign, and don’t blame them for not having everything figured out. We’re all works in progress.
Millennial mothers are capable, multifaceted people. They work hard, maintain online lives, and care for their kids as best they can — but they’re not flawless. The sooner brands recognize that and architect experiences to suit, the sooner Millennial moms will let marketers into their lives.
Kim Lawton is SVP of Operations at Inspira Marketing Group, an experiential marketing agency headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. With more than 25 years of experience in marketing and media, Kim is also founder and CEO of Enthuse Marketing Group, a woman-owned small business based in New York.