Marketers: It's Time to Rethink the Millennial Mom

Three Tips for Brands to Reach the New Breed of Millennial Mom

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Millennials -- they grow up so fast. After a decade of being chased by marketers for their youth and their power to set trends, the kids are having kids. Of the 80 million millennials in the U.S., one-quarter are now parents. Eighty-three percent of new moms are millennials, and marketers are making the mistake of treating them as one monolithic group.

This is important because -- just like their own mothers -- millennial women tend to control the purse strings in most households, and with millennial parents wielding $200 billion in spending power, marketers have a lot to lose by not getting it right. But who is the millennial mom and how do you reach her?

Carat recently surveyed 28,000 millennials ages 15 to 34 to get a better sense of this powerful group's motivations, passions and media habits. What we discovered is that far from being one like-minded consumer set, millennials actually fall into four distinct groups, two of which are most likely to have children. These are segments marketers would be wise to understand.

The good news is that one of the two groups of millennial moms embodies the conventional mom we've been marketing to for decades. With their traditional values and lifestyles, they are more reminiscent of Gen Xers or Boomers in their mindset: they're ambitious and determined, and they take pride in handling, not juggling, all aspects of their lives, from raising kids and managing households to building careers and dedicating time to causes, crafts and sports.

This means the real challenge lies in connecting with the other, heretofore undefined millennial mom, who is a digital extrovert, obsessed with pop culture and has a strong natural tendency to overshare her thoughts and feelings on social media. From a macro perspective, these moms align most closely to the prevailing stereotypical image of how millennials behave, and also mirror the diverse demographics of the U.S. millennial population. So what should marketers do to reach this new millennial mom? Here are three tips:

1. Do your homework

Marketers must factor in the implications of social, ethnic and racial diversity, as well as the rise of the majority minority into our strategies to effectively connect with the new millennial mom. We must leverage data, which we have more access to now than ever before. Intuition is great, but data-driven decisions and insight-based ideas will never steer you wrong. Don't fall into the trap of repetition because it's worked in the past. Just as millennials have redefined the state of the marketing industry, so must we, too, adapt to meet them where they are receptive -- on mobile devices, for example, with messaging targeted directly to their lifestyles and preferences.

2. Do not stereotype

As many as 67% of the new millennial mom segment are multicultural -- half are Hispanic and most are bilingual, according to research from Carat. Getting it right with these women is a very big deal for brands with their eye on the future because, by the year 2020, half of all children in the U.S. will be non-white. Many of these moms don't reflect the image of the so-called "traditional" nuclear families that are so often marketed to them. With four in 10 of these moms raising children as single parents, they frequently live with extended families in multi-generational households, and are the main wage earners for their kids.

So marketers must ignore sweeping generalizations of millennials -- moms included -- and take into consideration the different dynamics of these moms, including ethnicity, household size and propensity to connect digitally. For the new, ethnically diverse millennial mom, marketers will need to lead with multicultural insight and media to connect with her, which may be different than how they've approached moms in the past. This attention to detail will help brands connect with diverse communities of moms, who in turn will share their positive experiences with other moms, thereby creating a virtuous circle of trust for your brand. It's simple -- moms trust moms.

3. Make the brand experience easy

Create the type of content that will answer moms' questions, validate her decisions and convince her of the value you bring. Use behavioral data and social insights to stay on top of what's important to her now. But remember to respect her boundaries. Be mindful and contextual in your media placement and messaging frequency.

Brands have everything in their favor to make a huge impact with not only millennials, but millennial moms. We just need to remember the breadth of this audience and that millennials are not as simple as we've often portrayed them to be.

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