When marketers talk about engaging the consumer, they are focusing on the people who make the primary decision to buy the good or service the marketer represents. Though influencers and gatekeepers do fall within the mix, we primarily want the attention of the person who will open the wallet to spend.
Or, in most cases, the purse.
Yes, moms are the elusive market that marketers day in and day out seem to miss. One moment a brand thinks they nailed it; the next moment their site and storefront are empty on Mother's Day.
Why the trouble? If we are in the age of engagement and conversation, why can we not just ask them what they are looking for?
There are several variables in action here, we believe. First, mothers might not be providing answers to our questions. This option is doubtful, because studies show that mothers enjoy providing feedback based on last year's BlogHer conference report. Or, based on pressure from social proof, they could be dishonest. That is possible.
Second, we could be asking the wrong questions. A new mom won't be interested in big fancy cupholders in a car, or the fact that the car gets 50mpg. No, a new mom will be interested if the clasps in the back will fit the new luxury car seat she got for her child.
No fit, no car. It is the simple things we overlook the most.
Third, we could be having two different conversations, and therefore miscommunication is imminent. Let's take the car example again. Imagine a car salesperson walking up to a mom, explaining how great the SUV is for the summer, when the mom only cares about a comfortable ride for the family. Similar conversation, but immediately the salesperson limits the conversation, and can lose the sale due to the narrow, irrelevant focus.
It sounds silly because it is. Our industry does this.
Moms, with the outrageous purchasing power they wield, are no unicorns. They can be caught.
It just takes time. It takes patience. It takes research.
Take one of those elements out, and you kiss the moms goodbye.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.