Brands need to make life easy if they want to attract mums.

Last week I went along to Mumsnets annual Mumstock event, where they presented some really interesting research on all the different types of mums out there; summarised nicely here, and the official white paper is here.

Key themes that were repeated across the day were:

  • Mums increasingly feel misunderstood by brands and the media
  • Ease is universally important when serving mums
  • Mums have a strong desire to have an impact on their favourite brands

A lack of understanding about the real points of connection to mums was a key finding of the Mumsnet/Saatchi & Saatchi research launched on the day.

Marketers and brands can often be accused of viewing mums as simple, homogeneous groups e.g. ‘full time career mum’, ‘stay at home mum’, and so on, but the Mumsnet research defined 66 different areas that mums felt identified them as distinct from other mums out there!!

The main areas of identification for mums were: the age of the child, and the working status of the mum herself, but other significant influences included being a lone parent, having multiples, or having a child with disabilities etc.

In addition, previous Mumsnet research tells us that women don’t just identify with being a mum, but with being a women, so brands need to take a broader view into account when trying to communicate with mums. We cannot continue to simply aim communications, products and services at ‘mums’ and expect to win their attention. We need to become more sophisticated, and empathise more with the reality of being a modern mum and woman.

Making life easier for mums was another repeated theme.

Some of the speakers were quite clear that their customer base wasn’t just mums, so they didn’t target just mums, they targeted much broader groups. But whilst they didn’t create marketing specific to a mum audience, they did make sure that their brand experience was made as easy as possible for mums to use, ensuring their repeated custom.

Steve Flanagan, Director of Marketing at Starbucks was probably the most interesting speaker on this topic, explaining how they’ve done everything from partnering. with the NCT to make sure staff are trained in how to help and serve mums with children, to how their technology innovations have had a positive impact for mums on the Starbucks experience — e.g. the Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay app allows everyone, including mums to order and then simply pick up their coffee and go, without queueing, whilst it’s app-to-table ordering functionality means mums can grab a seat and have drinks brought to them.

Finally, being a mum isn’t the overworked, downtrodden life that some brands seem to treat it as.

Mums often feel more confident, empowered and passionate about the world around them after having children.

This means there’s a large amount of interest from this audience in being able to genuinely help the brands they love do better, be better customised to them and play a more positive role in society.

Penny Herriman of Boden talked about the passion of their Boden Insiders, an internal programme of brand advocates who regularly give feedback and ideas to the brand, whilst Tanya Joseph of ‘This girl can’ talked about how the involvement of women in the movement made it the hailed success that it’s become today.

So, some implications for marketers:

  • Figure out if there are sub-segments of mums you can talk to, rather than relying on a simple overarching ‘mum’ segment?
  • Make life easy for mums in any way you can, in any way they need.
  • And ask for their help and insight, face to face if possible.

Brands need to really explore what can they do to make life easier for women with children. This will provide a more empathetic understanding of this audience; helping to gain their attention & recommendation, and can improve marketing effectiveness for your brand.

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