The essentials of marketing to moms online

Just about every brand has recognized the power moms have gained through social media. And who wouldn't want to have a piece of the $2 trillion of spending they control? Moms are the driving force behind social media today, and this activity is affecting the way brands communicate and do business. The "connected mom" of today rules the social web: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, and FriendFeed, among many others. She also makes practically all purchase decisions in (and out of) the home -- including food, fashion, finance, fun, technology, travel, health care, and cars. In other words, there isn't a brand on Earth that doesn't want to connect with moms right now.

To effectively gain "mom-entum," marketers need to forget everything they know about marketing. They need to stop selling and start listening. They need to lead with her agenda first and not theirs. The first mistake many brands make is considering moms to be a singular, two-dimensional archetype. Understanding moms is not as simple as bucketing women into age brackets: Gen Y or Gen X versus boomer moms, for example. Moms are much more complicated than that, and they would appreciate you demonstrating this fact.

Brands need to know who Mom is, what she likes, and where she spends her time. You also need to know what she thinks about and what she's interested in -- because when Mom wakes up at 6 a.m., she's not thinking about your brand. You need find out what she is thinking about and how you can be useful and relevant to her in the context of her life. This requires brands to think like publishers -- to create meaningful content that helps or entertains first and sells second.

The hard part is balancing that content with your brand messaging. Brands must find the right tone and be authentic if they want to build relationships -- meaningful engagement points that start with a mom's agenda and naturally migrate to the brand's agenda. The important thing is to start with what is important to her. The more you know about her in the beginning, the easier it will be to develop programs with her over time.

Creating content is just the first step. In order to make sure she finds it, you need to understand how she consumes and connects with content in today's world. Today, the connected mom is hungry for technology and social media tools to help her manage family life. She uses these tools to build her own personal brand and voice. She rarely leaves the house without her mobile device -- she's using it to coordinate, expedite, communicate, and deliver information she needs. And the information she needs is that information that makes her feel connected, empowered, and in control of her life.

The all-work-and-no-play mom is a dated stereotype. So how does a connected mom spend her time when she's not feeding the kids or working at her other job? For a start, she plays games, watches more than 97 minutes of video on YouTube a month, and spends an average of two hours a day learning, networking, communicating, and having fun online.

To engage with the connected mom, a deeper understanding than facts and figures is necessary. You will need to get into the minds of moms by first listening to real moms -- that is, if you want to get your share of the purse strings they control.

This is not even the tip of the iceberg. We have put together a detailed white paper full of valuable information, statistics, insights, and trends to help brands gain more "mom-entum." The white paper will be publicly available next week, and you can reserve your free copy at HaveMomentum.com. The document will provide a complete analysis of moms today and their social media journeys toward making purchase decisions.

Avi Savar is CEO of Big Fuel Communications.

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