In this guest post, Christie Nicholas (pictured below), founder and managing director of Kids Business Communications, explains how brands are failing to engage the modern Australian mum, and outlines a few ways to turn this around.
There are a lot of brands out there trying to sell products and services to mums and wondering why they’re not getting the attention their brand rightfully deserves. More often than not, the products themselves are excellent. They are delivering to the market a superior product, fair prices, on trend and it solves a problem. What’s not to love?
It is confusing for brands when they know for sure their product is brilliant, yet the sales simply don’t stack up. In the 15 years I’ve been in the marketing to mum space, I’ve worked with close to 200 brands across every single industry. From established multi-nationals, to small and medium sized business, I’ve observed and often been part of the journey, the challenges and the effort brands go through to build a customer base and successfully grow a brand. Seeing first-hand what certain brands do to excel and how their competitors get left behind is both inspiring and frustrating.
Being in the thick of discussions with companies about what is or isn’t working, I’ve been faced with a lot of questions that brands – regardless of size – need answers to in order to address roadblocks, new trends and consumer expectations. The opportunity came up with Kids Business Communications, the specialist agency connecting brands with mum via PR and marketing, to consolidate key questions these brands wanted answers to and go ask the mums themselves.
Questions such as: Why aren’t mums buying our products? Who is influencing mums’ decision to buy? Where are mums hearing about new products? Should we be doing what everyone else is? What is the best way to reach mums?
The end result was a comprehensive survey with 2,000 mums who generously mapped out what every marketer needed to know if their brand was ever going to make an impression on her. The full results are being released for the first time at the Mums Marketing Conference and raise practical points that brands need to address if they want to be successful in this space.
- For starters, brands can’t be all things to all people. Mums are not all the same. Brands that have a solid idea of the type of mums they want to appeal to, pave a clear pathway to find them. Start by building a consumer profile. This can be advanced market research or internal brainstorming. It makes it so much easier to find her when you know who it is you are looking for.
- Are you looking for her in the right places? Mums operate in two worlds equally – online and offline – and there are more opportunities for brands to target their reach in both spaces. The research shows this generation of mums are part of more online parenting groups than ever before. Seventy per cent of mums are part of online parenting groups versus 50 per cent who are part of offline. Brands can successfully reach out to both online and offline parenting groups and involve them in grassroots brand conversations.
- Grassroots brand conversations are actually a critical part of the marketing to mum strategy, because the research reveals that the number one most popular place mums turn to are their family and friends, again both online and offline, to ask or seek product recommendation. So, if mums are most likely to first and foremost take on board what their friends and family have to say about a product, brands need to leave an impression and give mums a reason to talk about them, or at least remember them. For brands to be remembered, they need to be a little more extraordinary with what they deliver or how they deliver it.
- Mums are doing extensive amount of research on practically every single product and service before making the final purchasing decision, specifically by reading reviews and relying on word-of-mouth recommendations. They want to know from others they trust and relate to if your product will solve her needs. Mums reveal they will spend extra time researching some categories more than others, such as education, childcare services, pricey baby items and cars. Appliances and services are also research heavy. Brands who facilitate, encourage and leverage reviews streamline that process. The more real-user experiences mums learn about, the easier it is for her to make up her mind. It’s when there’s simply no way she can knows a brand is right for her when the competitor steps up in line.
Mums are incredibly savvy consumers. We’ve seen first-hand how their defining lifestyle factors and expectations shape what they are looking for from products and how they engage with brands, both for the short and long term. Even if you think you already know the best ways to market to mums, the next generation of mums are coming through. They have their own characteristics, habits and require a fresh approach to market. It’s certainly an exciting space for brands to be in right now. There are new obstacles and new opportunities to really make a mark.