As Mother’s Day in Australia approaches, Rachael Sullivan - 3rdspace UK’s Strategy Director and mother of one toddler, Felix - ponders the complexities of modern motherhood and how marketers can create content that better connects with mums today.
Motherhood is arguably the most significant life transition many women go through, making it a conundrum for brands and marketers as this life transition inevitably brings about a change in values, hopes, fear actions and behaviour.
According to the Mom Complex, three out of four mums still say companies have no idea what it’s like being a mum. Yet the reward for those who get it right is significant with mothers reportedly controlling 85% of household purchases and having a collective spending power of $2.4 trillion.
So why is marketing to mums so complex? And what is it that many brands are missing?
Firstly, it sounds obvious but it’s something too easily forgotten – people are individuals, not labels. “There is a danger in focusing on the fact that people are mums. Being a mother is fundamental, but it isn’t the defining thing about you” says Justine Roberts, Mumsnet.
Motherhood comes in many different forms. On the surface of it there are new mums, stay at home mums, working mums, single mums, mums to kids with special needs, rural mums, urban mums, two-mum families, mums of many, mums of one, expecting mums, mums to teenagers, foster mums, adopted mums, absent mums and bereaved mums. Scratch a little deeper and you’ll find a minefield of mum personas – hands-on mums, competitive mums, perfectionists mums, socially conscious mums, eco-conscious mums, freeform mums, fit mums, easy going mums, working mums and mum entrepreneurs. But it’s key to understand that in any given week she may be ALL of these things.
Mums tend not to like being defined as being a mum. The modern mum is (hopefully) feeling less pressure to fit into one category and more freedom to give herself permission to have a life and ambitions outside of being a mum. And that could be as simple as a side hustle or a full-blown ambition to climb Mount Everest. And herein lies the issue for content marketers: millennial mums don’t want to be defined purely as being mums. In fact, most women don’t tend to like to be referred to as ‘mum’ by anyone other than their close family and children.
The purpose of parenthood has changed. For most Australians today, the decision to have a child is deliberate and purposeful. As such, parents today give far more thought to how they might bring up their children in a world where there is more conflicting information than ever before. Anxiety has become the cornerstone of contemporary parenting. Yet overwhelmingly, millennial parents have more intimate and equal relationships with their children than in the past. According to Forbes, parents today spend 2x more time with their kids than previous generations. What once was deemed an action entirely for procreation, parenthood is now a source of meaning and happiness in life.
How can content better relate to mums?
1. Don’t talk to mums how you’d talk to your mum. Mums are complex, so steer well clear of generalizing them. It’s important to research not only their behaviours but their feelings, opinions, fears and aspirations. Content marketing shouldn’t reflect the key differences - instead it’s important to find the space of shared values and celebrate your brand’s niche connection with a smaller group of like-minded consumers.
2. Mother’s Day is not the time to focus on marketing to mothers. Most mums are only interested in hearing from their kids and partners on Mother’s Day. Mummy friendly content creators know this. The benefit of content marketing and social media is that it allows for a deeper connection to form with mums who are connecting with a certain mindset at different times. Influencers can be a great way of identifying with certain mums. Australia blogger Constance Hall has a huge following of “disciples” that identify themselves more boho/freeform mums, engage with provocative posting style, buy her products and fiercely defend her when criticised. Understanding how your content should live within Constance’s space as opposed to say, Carrie Bickmore’s is extremely important.
3. Brands that are trusted by mums (and dads) don’t tell their customers they understand them, they show them and include them. Brands like Tommy Tippee’s ‘The boob life’ campaign, found a place of shared purpose to create content with meaning that resonates beyond stereotypes. In a global campaign they were able to demonstrate that they understood, saw and appreciated that just like every child, every mum is different, she’s real and proud of it.Which brands do you think do the best job of marketing to mothers? What would you like to see more of? If you’d like help with finding the place of shared purpose between your brand and your customers to provoke action, please get in touch.
And a happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there. And to our absent mums and babies who didn’t make it here, you are forever in our hearts.3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about developing a tone of voice guide for your brand to better connect with your consumers, our team of marketing & content strategists, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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