Being one of the most coveted demographic groups in the eyes of modern marketers, millennial moms represent a growing freight train of economic power and are often completely misunderstood.
It’s been stated before and should be stated again, millennial moms are completely different than their own mothers. However, what makes them different? What marketing messages work? What doesn’t work? That’s what we’d like to discuss.
What Is The Definition Of A Millennial Mother?
Well, the mother half of the phrase is fairly straightforward, but it’s the millennial distinction that is important here. There are many different definitions of what defines a millennial, but the version we adhere to is as follows: People born between the mid-80s and the late-90s.
In other words, people who grew up in the first decade of the new millennium. Why is that distinction so important? Because folks born earlier than that were introduced to smart-tech, the internet, and social media as adults or close to being adults. Kids born after millennials don’t remember a time before Angry Birds and Snapchat.
Millennials are unique in that they discovered modern media as it was developing. Essentially they grew up as modern media grew up, and are therefore very connected to it. A millennial mother is a mom who fits this millennial category.
Millennial Mothers as A Market Segment are Extremely Unique.
This is the first time that we are seeing what it looks like for this generation, the generation that got to watch the internet and digital media grow with them, to raise kids. Millennial moms are also the first generation of post-Cold War moms, which seems very separate from marketing until you consider the identity crisis the US has undergone in the absence of an overt adversary. The concept of identity, as well as interconnectivity, help define the priorities of millennial mothers.
With all that said, let’s talk about what makes millennial moms different in the market:
They Are Older Than Previous First-Time Mothers.
According to an extensive study conducted by Goldman-Sachs, first-time mothers are closer to 30, and the average is climbing slightly every year.
What does this mean for marketers? It means that we’re talking to mothers who are older, more experienced, more mature, and savvier than ever before. This has many different applications. Would you market to a 30-year old the same way you would to a 20-year old? Of course, you wouldn’t.
Treat millennial moms accordingly. When you also consider the fact that a record number of millennials have college degrees, you have to approach millennial moms as smarter, more informed, and savvier than previous generations at this point in their lives.
They Are Extremely Connected To Media, And Use It To Advise Decisions.
According to Adweek, Millennial Moms are more likely to use their smartphone as a shopping accessory than any other group. This means that they are constantly taking in reviews, looking for coupons, and getting the opinions of other moms they trust.
Adweek also uncovered that millennial moms spend essentially an entire work day, about 8 hours, interacting with media in one form or another, even while at their jobs. Combined with the fact that millennial moms overwhelmingly cite reviews, online opinions, and online favorability of brands as deciding factors when shopping, brands have to be everywhere at once, and be extremely proactive in managing their digital reputation.
They Care More About A Company’s Values Than Their Prices.
From grocery stores, to fast food, to clothing brands; millennials as a whole seriously care about the integrity of a brand’s values. However, no millennials care more than mothers.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of conscientious brands, and the fall of companies that could be perceived as inexpensive but valueless. The classic example is the rise of locally sourced, fast-casual restaurants, as opposed to traditional fast food companies.
According to Adweek, nearly 80% of millennial mothers cite safety as a top priority, higher than value or price. Additionally, just under 50% of millennial moms list the use wholesome ingredients as a key deciding factor when comparing brands. The de-emphasis on price, and the raised emphasis on quality is also indicated by the use of coupons, which is done by around 65% of this group.
All of this, coupled with the far-above-average amount of product research done, indicates that millennial moms care much more about getting the right product or aligning with the right brands than getting the cheap product from the value brand. If they find the right product, they will do everything they can to get the price reduced, but at the end of the day, they won’t sacrifice quality for affordability very often. They Influence Each Other Tremendously. According to Adweek, 51% of millennial moms value recommendations from other millennial moms, compared to only 35% of them valuing the recommendation of an ‘expert.’ When you consider that they are 50% more likely to ask for a recommendation than other mothers, and are asked their opinion on products 20% more often than other mothers; it’s very easy to see that they influence each other more than they are influenced by any other group.
This is all according to Weber Shandwick, a global PR firm, who also noted that 42% of millennial moms believe that advertisers don’t understand them, compared to 36% of other moms. This helps explain why they trust each other more than the media. What this means for marketers is that we have to put our brands in a position to be embraced by influential millennial mothers. Reaching out to bloggers, creating campaigns that add extra value to these moms, rather than just talking at them is a key that marketers can’t avoid. This brings us to our final point.
They Hate When The Media, Especially Advertising, Puts Them In A Box.
This is tied closely to the points we discussed early on about identity. Traditionally, moms have been put in one of two categories by the media: either as a working mom or a stay-at-home mom. Millennial moms hate these distinctions, and this plays a huge part in why the feel misunderstood.
Identity and third-wave feminism are very important to millennial mothers, even more so than previous generations. So millennial moms often ask the question, “why do I have to be either one?” They don’t want to be identified as one of two moms and marketed to accordingly. They want to be approached as mothers.
As people who have interests, hobbies, and unique characteristics outside of simply having children. So, it’s up to marketers to show a full gambit of different types of mothers in their imagery, avoid cliches of the working or stay-at-home mom, and treat millennial moms as individuals. Having kids doesn’t make them all interchangeable, and it doesn’t completely unify their interests or habits.
As millennial mothers become a progressively larger and more influential block of the economy, knowing how to speak to them, and understanding what they care about will become more and more important. We hope this serves as a great first step in the journey to tap into this market segment.