Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day one of the M2Moms Conference: who we're NOT marketing to

Everyone's marketing to moms, but three key groups of mothers are being ignored: moms of special needs kids, second-time moms and grandmas.

Nadine Vogel of Springboard Consulting emphasized that reaching mothers of special needs kids requires sensitivity and etiquette (i.e. don't kneel or stand when you're talking to someone in a wheelchair; sit down next to them), but they're fiercely loyal to the companies that reach out to them with solutions and communications that demonstrate compassion and an understanding of their and their children's particular needs. She was followed by Gianna Locasto, Sephora's Director of Store Marketing, who shared with us the beauty emporium's outreach to the disabled community. They gave the moms of special needs kids some much deserved pampering and treated disabled teens and adults to make-up lessons and beauty consultations in a private, supportive environment. What they got, in addition to the warm fuzzies, was new, loyal customers.

Norma Blatto of American Baby talked about second-time moms. Even though they're spending big bucks on cars, home improvements, home electronics and additional baby gear (double strollers, clothes for a child of a different gender) and their established status in the mommy community means they're responsible for generating a lot of word of mouth, most brands are so wrapped up in their efforts to reach the first-time mom that they miss out on the opportunity to make a connection with this bigger community of women pregnant for the second, third or fourth time.

The award for most memorable speaker of the day (at least in my book) goes to Jerry Shereshewsky. The CEO of, he made the point (which I can anecdotally support) that today's Boomer grandmas and grandpas are healthy, wealthy and very generous with their grandkids. They're funding 529 college savings plans and helping their children furnish nurseries and buy clothes for the babies. Not only that, they're buying high chairs, pack n plays (even Wiis!) for their own homes to make the grandkids feel welcome. Yet aside from a handful of companies who are embracing this demographic (one standout example was Pepsi, who encouraged members to give their free Pepsi song downloads to their grandkids) -- most marketers leave this group to the drug manufacturers. And that's a shame since, unlike Gen X and Gen Y moms, they're easy to connect with: just address them as grandparents.