Reaching Moms: The More Channels the Better

This Mother’s Day, Americans will join together in thanking the nation’s 85.4 million mothers through words, deeds, and gifts to the tune of $20 billion, making Mother’s Day the second largest consumer spending holiday of the year, according to Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey, April 2013. For many of us, moms are an integral part of our lives whether they’re working, running a household, or enjoying retirement. We’ll spend on them this Mother’s Day, but in turn this group is one of the most powerful and savvy demographics in the United States.  Moms exert a great deal of influence over our economy, not to mention many of our lives.

Today, marketers should take the opportunity to not only appreciate moms, but also reflect on and learn from what makes them so special. As it turns out, the same things that make mothers so important are also responsible for making them the ideal multichannel demographic.

Moms are everywhere we need them to be

As traditional household roles become increasingly less common for a variety of social and economic reasons, moms are taking on more and more responsibilities. They work, shop, and raise families while making time for themselves. Whether they’re picking up kids from school or walking to the office, moms are constantly on the move. A recent commercial for American Greetings said it best by naming a mother’s job as the most difficult job in the world.

The busy lifestyle of moms is reflected in the media and influences their decision-making on a daily basis. Moms are influenced in their purchases at rates higher than those of the general population by media channels that range from coupons and direct mail to the Internet and television. The 4.1 million younger mothers who have given birth in the past year are also more likely to be a part of the millennial generation, and therefore are more likely to share their purchases and opinions on social media channels.

Moms are powerful

Moms are a powerful economic force—in the workplace and in the household. Seventy percent of America’s 85.4 million mothers work, while moms as a whole control 85% of all U.S. household income, or about $2.1 trillion dollars, according to Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey, December 2013. We love our moms for the decisions they make, from groceries and school supplies to cars and homes, and marketers should take notice for the same reason. Moms exert their power across a wide variety of industries, as well as digital and physical locations.

Moms are savvy

As the group responsible for how the vast majority of household income is spent in the United States, moms are conscious of and highly responsive to economic change. Since early 2008 mothers have been adjusting their spending habits to account for economic pressures resulting from the Great Recession. Even as recently as the second half of 2013, 56% of moms became more practical in their purchase making, while 43% became more budget conscious; only 12% had made no changes in spending habits whatsoever, according to Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey, December 2013. We appreciate our moms because they know the value of a dollar, and are savvy enough in their spending habits to provide for their families even in tough economic times.

The effort that moms put into planning their purchasing decisions also makes them especially important to marketers. Over 50% of mothers with children under 18 will select paper coupons before they go shopping, according to Kantar Retail ShopperScape, March 2013.

Moms are the ideal multichannel consumer

On Mother’s Day we take the opportunity to thank our moms for always being where we need them to be, for making tough spending decisions, and for working to ensure that the family budget can take care of our essential needs. The reasons why mothers are some of the most important people in many of our lives highlight why marketers should pay them the attention they deserve. For example, moms are responsive to a wide variety of media, due in large part to the extremely busy lifestyles they lead. Moms don’t just keep the savings they find through promotional offers and coupons, but in fact they are more likely to use them to spend on something special for their families.

While we see younger moms taking a larger share of the digital media pie in terms of what influences their purchases, we also see that the influence of paper coupons and promotional offers are strong and consistent across mothers of all ages. Moms rely on the paper coupons that provide them with the value and relevance that make them such savvy spenders and are also responding to the digital revolution. Marketers must make sure that they are reaching moms across all channels in a consistent way to ensure campaign relevancy and effectiveness.

This Mother’s Day, don’t forget to give your mom a hug and thank her for all that she does (trust me, it’s more than you think!).  And, marketers, remember that many of the same reasons we celebrate moms are what make them such a valuable demographic—one you can’t afford to ignore  even long after Mother’s Day has passed.

Thérèse Mulvey is vice president of marketing intelligence at Valassis

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