PERSPECTIVES: The Mom Next Door Research Study

Laura Tomasetti, CEO at 360 Public Relations, shares results from The Mom Next Door research study, conducted from August to October 2012. Her clients have included many toy, video game and children’s media leaders.

December 10, 2012 | Marketers today understand the power of mom recommendations. Most brands are mindful to include some element of word-of-mom in their marketing plans for the year, often involving mom and dad bloggers. That can be a good place to start, but there are millions of other moms without a blog who wield influence, too.  In fact, 71% of moms we surveyed said they make recommendations about brands and half (50%) of those make brand recommendations at least daily or weekly. Moreover, 93% of moms said they are influenced by other moms’ recommendations.

There’s a lot of opportunity to be part of moms’ frequent conversations about brands.  In today’s online world, it surprised us to find that more moms (83%) rated in-person higher than social media (53%) as their preferred way to make recommendations about brands. On the receiving end, in-person recommendations also rated higher, with 59% of moms giving in-person recommendations the highest possible rating for trustworthiness, while just 14% of moms rated social media recommendations as “most trustworthy.” Moms participating in a series of in-home discussions elaborated, explaining that it’s “the mom who knows me, the ages of my kids and what will work for me” who’s most influential. 

The Mom Next Door

That’s a bit of a wake-up call for brands to find more ways to connect with moms in-person – through in-home events, by supporting school and other community initiatives, and with education efforts at retail and elsewhere close to where moms live. Toy makers have an advantage given that most have demonstrable products offering moms and their kids a fun and, if done right, memorable brand experience. Moms described doing their brand homework as a three-part process:  they start by talking to other moms off-line, then go online to conduct research, reading blogs and reviews, and, finally, return to their mom circles off-line to double-check research and make their purchase decisions.

From a resources standpoint, it’s inconceivable to interact 1:1 with every mom and dad, but brands can achieve scale and success by talking to the right moms with the right message. That’s where bloggers come in, as well as other recommender-moms: the PTA moms, the moms and dads who lead local parent groups such as Parent Talk, Marin County Moms and NYC Dads, and the joiner moms who are likely already on your email list. Email still works for moms – moms we spoke with at our in-home events said they like it because it’s easy to share.

Special offers are the biggest driver of mom recommendations, with 61% of moms saying such offers spur them to recommend. Perhaps more interesting and reassuring for brands, since discounting is not a sustainable strategy for most, more than half of moms said they’re motivated to make recommendations because it’s fun (54%) and gives them a sense of pride (51%).  At the in-home events we conducted, many moms spoke about making recommendations as a “responsibility” they have to other moms. That was echoed by social media moms involved in our Twitter discussion for whom the ‘mom next door’ is just a tweet away.

Where Moms Meet Up

Honing in on your brand’s specific mom segment will help focus your marketing dollars. For example, moms of older kids (9+) index higher for interacting with other moms at work, because they’re more likely to have returned to work full-time. On the other end of the mom spectrum, younger moms of younger kids (ages 0-3) spend more time chatting online – two or more hours daily.  Facebook is by far moms’ preferred platform, but Pinterest is quickly gaining mom interest, with a quarter of moms (24%) surveyed using Pinterest.  Moms said they like Pinterest because it helps them “get organized,” keeping what-to-try-and-buy lists right in the palm of their hands.

The Mom Next Door research study involved web-based interviews with 964 moms of children ages 0-12, six in-home focus groups with 95 moms, and a Twitter discussion with 27 social media moms. The research was conducted between August-October 2012 by The 360PR MomSquad® and Mom It Forward®. For more, including a free, downloadable summary of the study, visit www.360PR.com/momnextdoor.