Generation Mom


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Rather than identify strongly with either her generation or the ages and stages of her children, our study showed that upon becoming a mother, Moms adopt a core group of shared values that impact her lifestyle, behavior, the way she interacts with her peers and her purchasing decisions. We call this Generation Mom.

Published in: Self Improvement, Business

Generation Mom

  1. 1. Introducing: Generation Mom
  2. 2. In today’s evolving marketing landscape, we find ourselves at a time andplace with three active generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, andGenerationY (i.e. Millennials) – each with distinct characteristics andinfluence. Communications professionals place tremendous weight onthese generational demographics, creating lifestyle personas around eachgeneration in an attempt to get at the heart of the characteristics anddifferences that make up these consumer groups. The result? Complex generational personas become the foundation ofour understanding of consumer behavior.We use these personas toinform our marketing campaigns – the overall creative strategy, specificimplementation tactics, and evaluation metrics. To better understand the complexities of each generation, we talkedwith 900+ Moms who represent all three groups (Gen X, GenY andBoomers) to get the whole story on how age impacts their opinions andbehaviors as parents. Do Moms identify more with their generationalpeers or with other Moms at the same life stage (Mom of a toddler,Mom of a tween) as themselves? Survey respondents, Moms with at least one child under the age of 11years old, answered an in-depth (45 minute) questionnaire about theirattitudes towards parenting, being a Mom, their use of technology, socialmedia, and how they engage with brands. Diving Into Generations: Overview of the Study 2
  3. 3. Traditional Roadmap to Generations We started the project with a clear understanding of generational identities, which included: 3 1965  -­‐  1976  Op*mis*c,  entrepreneurial,  confident.  Digital  na*ves  –  live  online,  communicate  via  email/text  not  phone.    Terrorism,  Gulf  War,  Y2K,  9/11,  Facebook  “En$tled”  Free-­‐spirited,  experimental,  yet  also  loyal.    Vietnam,  Watergate,  Women’s  Rights,  Transistor  Radios  “Me  Genera$on”    Latch-­‐key  kids,  self-­‐reliant  –  not  into  labels.  Resist  paren*ng/family  models  of  mother’s  genera*on.  End  of  the  Cold  War,  AIDS,  Atari,  Space  ShuVle  Challenger,  War  on  Drugs    “Defiant”    BOOMERS  1946  -­‐  1964  GEN-­‐XERS  GEN-­‐Y  ERS  1977  -­‐  1992  
  4. 4. The Question: How toTarget Mom 4 When marketing to Mom, we are often challenged to focus on narrow demographics – either the Moms’demographic or the age/stage of her child. In our research results, we looked for dual patterns – 1) starkdifferences between Mom generations; as well as 2) differences between ages and stages (of their children). Our hypothesis:We thought our research would show significant and distinct differences in parenting styles- defined by whether a Mom considered herself a Boomer, Gen Xer or GenYer – and that thesedifferences would impact Moms’ perceptions on a host of issues, ranging from social media usage toconsumer behavior.  Generations Ages & StagesAs we analyzed the survey data, we focused the bigger picture, including behavioral shifts.We narrowed inon larger, transcendent themes to bridge the connection between generations, the recommendationculture, and online connectivity movements.
  5. 5. Introducing Generation Mom 5 What we learned…Rather than identify strongly with either her generation or the ages and stages of her children, our studyshowed that upon becoming a mother, Moms adopt a core group of shared values that impact herlifestyle, behavior, the way she interacts with her peers and her purchasing decisions.We call thisGeneration Mom.  
  6. 6. Core ParentingValues Converge 6 What links Moms of all generations centers around their parenting values and these universal truthsthat embody Moms today.We asked Moms their preferences on a host of issues that relate to theirparenting values and found a convergence around four key areas: At a time when Moms work more than ever, these core parenting values remain aspirational. In a child-centric culture, Moms worry about kids’ happiness and tie that directly to time spent parenting. “would rather stay at home instead offorging ahead on their career path”“would forgo a bigger paycheck to spendmore time with their kids”“say contentment in kids trumps futuresuccess”“put parenting ahead of their marriages”
  7. 7. Moms Agree about CoreValues 7 What makes a great Mom?We wanted to understand how respondents self-identified as “Mom” – specifically what they felt makes a“great Mom.”While a variety of definitions exist, respondents held definite ideas.We provided Moms withover 25 choices and these three rose to the top: I feel so guilty…When faced with nearly 20 choices, Generation Mom’s top three responses centered around perceivedinadequacies.These core values represent archetypes so deeply embedded that nearly any brand couldsuccessfully use them to build a conversation with their target Mom consumer. “Setting boundaries andkeeping them.”“Spending quality timewith my kids.”“Raising children withgood manners.”“…for not spending enoughtime with my kids”“…about being short-tempered with my family”“…because I don’t playwith my children enough”
  8. 8. Secondarily:A Crisis of Isolation  Only 19% of Moms raise theirchildren in the community inwhich they were raised. Less than 50% live near familymembers.  Over 80% don’t feel they getenough support from co-workers. And when it comes to friendships… At the same time that these core values have converged, Moms feel more isolated than every before.Beyond the guilt and anxiety Moms experience, our survey also discovered that Moms feel isolated – dueprimarily to today’s mobile society and their own attempts to achieve “Super Mom” status.Whatcontributes to this isolation? 8
  9. 9. Our survey also looked at the sources of this isolation and we found the younger the mom, the deeper hersense of loneliness.While Boomers share closer ties with friends, connections lessen with each subsequentgeneration. In fact, 59% of Gen X Moms feel isolated at the time of their child’s birth as do 65% of Momsfrom GenY. “Generation Mom” – specifically the younger members of the demographic – finds it hard to develop anetwork of friends, particularly during a period in life that is so focused on children and family.This isolation,coupled with feelings of anxiety and guilt, drives Moms to seek alternative ways to reach out and connectwith others. Waves of Isolation (Loneliness) Gen Y: Far-reaching online communitiesyet strong feelings of isolationBoomers: Close-knit friendshipsfounded in 9
  10. 10. Age of Social Media Connectivity And this need for Moms to find ways toreach out and connect has given rise to theAge of Social Media connectivity. Generation Mom’s need to expand herworld fostered new ways to forge ties withfellow Moms – as well as brands – usingsocial media tools, like blogs, online forums,and social networks such as Facebook andTwitter. As a result, social media has become theconduit between Moms and their trustedconnections and Moms and brands –allowing her to share her experiences,passions, and insights. 10
  11. 11. Embracing Social Media Connectivity 11 3 out of 5 Moms publish a blog 3 out of 5 Moms engage with eachother onTwitter 9 out of 10 Moms cite Facebook astheir “go-to” destination Generation Mom’s rapid embrace of social media and this new age of connectivity proves dramatic.And ageproves irrelevant. No matter if she’s 22 or 52, we’ll find her online.
  12. 12. Communities of Commonality 12 Over and over we see that Generation Mom finds it difficult to do what Moms did in previous generations:make friends in the neighborhood or through family contacts. So, Generation Mom searches online for pointsof connection or interest.The Internet proves particularly adept at creating “communities of commonality.” Instead of Moms searching out other Moms who love yoga, who devour romance novels, or who have kidswho struggle with potty-training, they can easily tap into ready-made online communities.These sites forumsallow Moms to get information, feel connected, and find others who share their interests or issues.
  13. 13. 96%trust products more after they’ve done their own research Online RecommendationTrust 82%read product reviewsonline before buying abrand they haven’ttried yet    90%trust products moreafter hearing aboutthem from friends    “Trust” remains a key value for Generation Mom. Members of this demographic use social media to seek outword-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources – recommendations which significantly impact Moms’purchasing decisions. 13
  14. 14. Untethering of Brand Loyalty 66% agree: brands aren’timportant to me Looking for savings,Moms have becomeopen to trying newproducts and brands. Moms see genericsas a ways to spendless while getting aproduct of the sameor similar quality Only 50% considerthemselves brandloyalists. Today’s extended economic crisis, coupled with the rise of personal and online recommendations, hasresulted in a major shift in purchasing behavior. Our survey showed that Generation Mom has become moreopen to leaving brand preferences behind in order to save money and remain on budget. In the past, brandscould rely on generational preferences – Moms who would purchase their products because their motherand grandmother did – but economic incentives now push Mom in new directions making her turn tobrands (or even generics) she may never before have considered for her family. 14
  15. 15. The SwingVote ü 78% of Moms say that they would gladly switch brands if offered a coupon ü 68% pay attention to brands offering free samples ü 65% poll their Mom friends when trying a new product Moms now mirror independent voters Moms will switch brands … From a consumer perspective, Generation Mom mirrors independent voters. During recent election cycles,independents have abandoned party loyalty and instead have maintained a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” posture. Even if they lean towards one party over another, these voters appear more than willing tocross the aisle if a particular candidate’s message resonates with them.We now see Moms doing the samething with brands – they’ll put aside products they used for years for two key reasons: If friends love abrand &recommend it To save money 15
  16. 16. Honesty!AffordabilityTransparencySocial ConsciousnessWin me over . . . and over and over . . . With Generation Moms’ move away frombrand loyalty, brand-marketers must nowrealize that winning over a new customer isnot a “one and done” effort. Instead, thechallenge is ongoing – getting onto hershopping list and then continuing to win herover again and again. How can brands ensure their productsremain well-positioned for Mom consumers? Moms say the traits they most admire inbrands center around “honesty,”“affordability” and “transparency.” On the flipside, 55% of Moms say “lying,” (e.g., makinguntrue claims), as the biggest mistake a brandcan make in communicating with her. 16 Fun, style, friendliness
  17. 17. The Key to Reaching Generation: Social Media When we realize that parenting values, connectivity needs, social media usage and consumer behavior alltranscend generations, we begin to understand that we need to rethink our previous notions of how toreach Moms. What’s important to Generation Mom? Her family, her passions, her relationships with those close to her.Generation Mom feels a deep need to connect with the world around her – with fellow Moms, with brands– and social media becomes the way in which that happens.The connections, the conversations, and thecommonality become what matters – not the platform.This inherent need to forge close ties is why socialmedia remains so fundamental to Marketing to Moms. 17
  18. 18. Living in a Recommendation Culture   Thinking about the purchasing behaviors of Generation Mom, the focus remains on connections andrelationships. Social media enables Mom to do in-depth research to find specific answers to her pre-purchasequestions, whether seeking a local doctor who specializes in secondary infertility or looking for peer feedbackabout the soaps that best sooth sensitive skin. Social media again becomes the conduit between Moms and their trusted connections and Moms and brands.Much like Moms want relationships with fellow Moms, they also want relationships with the brands they love –and when they feel engaged, they become more likely to make a purchase, recommend a product to a friend,or feel informed about brand promotions. 18
  19. 19. The establishment of Generation Mom uncovers thecore values that all Moms share – what connectsthem, what brings them together, their sharedaspirations, and the things they view as trulyimportant. For marketers, Generation Mom underscores theneed to look deeper. While Moms still face common,age-old challenges, such as how to soothe a cryinginfant or what healthy options to feed a toddler,Generation Mom sees these challenges through thelens of her personal Mom identity, which centers onher goal of being a “great Mom” and the sense ofguilt felt when she doesn’t feel like she’s being theMom she’s always aspired to be. Focusing on what connects Mom, rather than whatdivides her from her peers (i.e. how Boomerscompared with Gen X Moms tackle dinner) willenable brands to connect with her on a moreauthentic level.Whether a Mom is 25 or 35 or 45 –her parenting values transcend the differences toform the common foundation that is Generation Mom. Generation Mom 19 Generation Mom
  20. 20. Stacy DeBroff Founder, CEO 617-244-3002 Connect With Us! 20