Nothing is more central to society, or more relevant to the fates of so many brands, than the evolving partnership between moms and dads. Parents not only make an extraordinary number of purchase decisions – they also deeply influence the tastes of the generations that come after.
But still parents struggle with work and family pressures – the stress of being so needed in so many places. According to ongoing GfK Consumer Life research, the contract between parents has shifted noticeably in recent years. Dads are playing a greater role in some of the chores, like food shopping – but moms are still more likely to hold down the family’s most cherished functions and spend more time with their family in the home. Together they are more likely to sit and talk, eat, and read, while fathers tend to spend more time outside of the home with their children – going to the movies, volunteering, and playing sports.
Despite changes in the family dynamics, moms are actually as stressed as they have ever been, with over two-thirds with kids under 13 saying they experience stress and tension – a number that is dramatically higher than average. And today’s sources of mom stress are vastly different from nearly two decades ago; some of the fastest-rising causes are health, weight, noise and not getting enough sleep.
Opportunities in relief valves
Moms and dads alike need “relief valves” – activities or opportunities that help them refresh, re-orient, and put down their burdens for a minute or three. This need offers powerful opportunities to marketers.
Moms understand what’s truly important to their health and well-being, for example; but they fall short on following through, which exacerbates stress and fuels the vexatious mom-guilt. Smart, mom-centric marketers can offer real-time coaching to not only ignite a boost for healthier behaviors, but also help moms (and dads) stay on track. Whether the solution is smart health-tracking technology or product packaging that helps moms remember their nutrition, marketers can and should “be there” for over-tired moms of today.
Looking to the future
Now, a new wave of moms is coming, and they are undoubtedly different from the moms of today. According to the GfK MRI data, the youngest moms today (ages 18-25) are more apt to be minorities, work tirelessly on most weekends, juggling family and work lives under tremendous pressure. And GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports) shows that these new moms are more driven. But they always give their best effort and value working hard, seeking fulfillment in what they do for a living.
These new moms also need to feel secure and empowered about the brands they choose. The new wave of moms is considerably more likely to claim that they only buy products and services that speak to their beliefs, values or ideals.
So, looking at some of today’s youngest moms, how can marketers anticipate the moms of tomorrow? How can they keep their brands strong and top of mind in a fast-paced and fragmented world of media, super-connectivity and hyper personalization?
- First, stay with moms through close and consistent tracking of their likes and dislikes
- Keep close watch on the still-transforming contract between parents – which also means understanding young men and women alike, before they have families
- Do not add to their stress – provide outlets and escapes from their daily activities and struggles
- And show them that their efforts do lead to fulfillment; do not frustrate or ignore them at key moments
As always, attentive brands are also the smartest, making decisions that will build customer loyalty for generations to come. Are you on board?
Jola Burnett is a Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.