Last week I spent my Wednesday at Mumsnet’s Mumstock event in Kings Place, where we discussed all things relating to marketing to mums. Coined as ‘the mother of all conferences’ by Mumsnet themselves, the aim of the event was to explore ways of successfully connecting with mums as consumers. Key topics included reaching the family in the twenty-first century and building brand loyalty and there were plenty of big brand case studies too. Here is a snapshot of what I took away from the event.
Motherhood is not a job
All too often brands categorise all mums as fitting a certain stressed out stereotype; struggling to juggle all household chores as well as looking after her children. Saatchi and Saatchi’s latest whitepaper, produced in collaboration with Mumsnet, explored the various roles of being a mums so that advertisers can successfully market to mums. It might sound obvious, but a mum is just a woman with a child, and this is often overlooked in advertising and marketing. Richard Huntington, the chief strategy officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, emphasised that ‘advertisers are still stuck in a rut’ when it comes to marketing to mums and there is far more to motherhood than advertising recognises. Hungtington argued that “we need to focus more on the fun and silliness of motherhood, and less on the drudgery if we are to reflect the reality of modern mothers’ aspirations.” He urged us to challenge perceptions of mums in our marketing campaigns and to demonstrate the various roles of a mum as a partner in crime; as a friend, coach and hero, as both a safe house and a rule breaker.
Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet, stated that merchants misunderstand what parenting is about; motherhood is always portrayed as a profession however ‘no woman has a child because she wants another job’. Mums don’t want to be targeted by marketing of supermums and perfection, they want to know how they can save time and money in order to spend more time and money with their children. As Roisin Donnelly, corporate marketing director at P&G emphasised; mums ‘don’t float around in a perfect world… and that needs to be reflected’.
Mums as consumers
A key theme in the conference was that brands are missing the mark when they are marketing to mums. This is largely due to brands frequently saying that they wish to ‘target mums’; it’s the equivalent of saying ‘target 12 million women’. Advertisers should target the person, not the role. Successful marketing campaigns connect with a mum’s emotions. P&G advised that mums won’t remember the words used in marketing and advertising, but they will remember how the marketing and advertising of brands made them feel. Graeme Pitkethly, executive chairman of Unilever made a valid point that consumers don’t just buy into a product; they buy into the brand and everything it stands for. Brands need to qualify their marketing to mums strategies by engaging in family friendly practices. This legitimises their marketing practices and gives them credibility to target mums.
Targeting mums: content is king
The way to connect with mums is ‘digital, digital, digital’ declared Rebecca Snell, Head of Marketing and Senior Director at Lego. To do so, advertisers need to know their audience, listen to them, learn from them, and respect their insights. All too often, brands claim to ‘know’ mums and make sweeping assumptions. Brands need to earn the right to speak with mums; it’s all about targeting the right type of mum, at the right time, with the right relatable message. Mums are incredibly active digitally; Mamas and Papas’ most popular social media marketing were posted at 1-2 a.m. – feeding times when there is no one else awake to connect with.
When creating content, brands need to get involved with mums’ whole lives, not just when they’re changing nappies. Furthermore, brands need to understand how their product fits into the lives of mums. Mums don’t want to be told by brands how to parent. To create engaging content an advertiser should tailor messaging to mums by identifying with her fun role, again playing on her emotions.
Advertising is all about the quality of content that brands put out there. The content must be placed in the correct places and on the correct sites to give it credibility. Nishma Robb, head of marketing at Google UK & Ireland, advised that advertisers should take time to create content and tell important stories – to produce content that people want to know about. Robb emphasised that successful marketing teams don’t work in silos, but think about the consumer journey together and making the most of the various touch points.
As you can tell, the second Mumstock conference did not disappoint and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!