Marketing to moms: Developing creative that connects

Posted by Lori Luechtefeld on November 3rd, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I had the pleasure of introducing four agency leaders for the "Marketing to Moms: Creative Showcase of Digital Success Stories" session at ad:tech New York today. Each one presented case studies of digital creative targeted to moms, each in a distinct vertical. I was blown away by the variety of campaigns that were up on stage, as well as the unique creative approaches each one used to connect with the target audience. The presenters were:

  • Karen Macumber, AMP Agency: Entertainment
  • Doug Schumacher, Basement Inc.: Consumer packaged goods
  • Nuri Djavit, Last Exit: Food and beverage
  • Jen Modarelli, White Horse: Services

Slides should be up on the ad:tech NY website soon, so check back and see some of stellar creative assets that were on display.

In providing a little context for the session, I drew on the book "The Buying Brain" by Dr. A.K. Pradeep. In the book, Dr. Pradeep looks to understand the human brain in biological terms. He used EEG brain wave studies, eye tracking, and other techniques to look at some of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people and the marketing implications of those differences. And not only did he find significant differences between the brains of men and women, but he also found that the brains of mothers are significantly different that those of other women.

So what are these differences and how should they influence your creative?

Selfishness vs. selflessness. When a woman becomes a mother, certain chemical changes in the brain cause mothers to abandon personal fear in order to protect their offspring. They are no longer looking out for No. 1. As a part of this, moms' "fight or flight" response is greatly diminished. After all, if a threat arises and a mother decides to fight or flee, the consequences could be that the child would be left alone. So, in place of the fight or flight response, a mother's desire for rest and recovery time increases.

Creative solution: Quite simply, this means creative showing relaxing activities between a mom and baby is particularly appealing. Grooming activities between mom and baby are particularly powerful, Dr. Pradeep found.

Nonverbal cues and heightened empathy: When women become mothers, their ability to read nonverbal cues is enhanced. This is the reason your mother always knew when you were lying to her just based on the look on your face. And in conjunction with this, mothers develop an enhanced sense of empathy for other people; it's easier for them to put themselves in other people's shoes.

Creative solution: Ads where people make eye contact with mothers are particularly appealing. And, it means you should look to show babies whenever possible, because mothers will identify with the child and think of their own. Also, because of their greater senses of empathy, moms are more likely to understand and empathize with humorous, less-than-perfect situations regarding motherhood. So you can experiment with visuals in that regard -- so long as your hypothetical scenarios don't put those babies in danger. That's not something mothers take kindly to, even in fake situations.

Super scent and hearing: When a woman becomes a mother, she becomes a super hero of sorts. Meaning, to better care for her child, she develops what can only be described as the power of super smell and hearing.

Creative solution: You might want to consider showing people enjoying the smells of your products; moms have that heightened sense of empathy, so they'll imagine what that experience is like. And when it comes to sounds in audio or video, please, for the love of Pete, only focus on pleasant sounds. No screeching or screaming, even if it's supposed to be funny. Because on a subconscious level, it's going to stress Mom out.

It's not too late to get to ad:tech NY, Nov. 3-4. Register and check out the schedule here.

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