In the past decade, environmental awareness and corporate responsibility have exploded, and new moms of the millennial set are looking for triple-bottom-line returns on their purchases.
Millennial consumers have held marketers rapt since they burst into demographic studies as the influential 'tween offspring of the earnest and omnipresent boomers in early 2000. The top side of millennials is just hitting 30 years of age, while the mean is about 22 . As they are becoming parents themselves, this group constitutes the first generation of moms to enter motherhood replete with perpetual connectivity, myriad online and offline social networks and a yen for the triple bottom line in every purchase.
To the millennial mom, a triple bottom line is a purchase that offers competitive pricing, social equity and confirmation of corporate citizenship. This generation is growing up to be our most vocal environmental advocates, and motherhood provides an additional lens, as women consider both family health and environmental sustainability. In addition to being proponents of wallet-driven activism -- recent studies by companies such as Edelman Financial Group and WPP indicate that 92% of moms want to buy a product that supports a cause, and 88% are looking for opportunities to support causes by making changes to their own behavior -- these women are prone to collaborate. The Internet and social networks are primary channels for informing (and propagating) their purchasing decisions. Connecting with this community to share your social and environmental efforts requires a new approach.
Although price is always a key factor, a company's mission for improving the environment and society is becoming a point of differentiation within certain product categories. For the mainstream mom, price and performance remain the most critical factors in decision making, with positive environmental approach a strong third. The Millennial mom has different expectations for the brands she supports and demands transparency and authenticity both from the brand's on- and offline efforts.
These moms want to feel that the brands they choose are making a concerted effort to improve society or the environment as they see their purchasing decisions and actions as a primary way to move the needle on social and environmental causes. They also want to see tangible action from the companies they patronize -- being active in the community, supporting fair trade, making concerted efforts to reduce carbon emissions, changing packaging to reduce waste -- and are willing to make similar changes in their own lives.
With this in mind, there are several things to consider when trying to mobilize this demographic around your cause:
- Engagement is key. Don't just market your wares, engage your customers -- online and off -- around your efforts. This group wants that dialog online, so be accessible and embrace your customers for their opinions, congrats and complaints. But these women also crave real-world connections, so mobilizing them to join your brand in taking offline actions builds sustained loyalty.
- Walk the talk. Authenticity and transparency are tantamount. If you are just getting onto the green spectrum, don't fret (you are moving in the right direction), but be transparent about where you are and where you want to be. Getting your own house in order through your business practices, product development and charitable efforts builds trust.
- Market with meaning. People in this demographic consume information constantly and at a rapid pace. Incorporating relevant, useful educational content deepens the brand/consumer connection and gives them something to propagate as a way of adding value to their lives and the lives of their peers.
- The power of incentives. Moms are still the primary budgeters and spenders in the household, so deals and incentives are effective tools; but they also grew up in the gaming generation. To resonate with these tech-savvy women, consider incorporating gaming mechanics into your marketing. Tying the incentive to offline action, such as making positive lifestyle changes, adds some social currency to the deal.
- Impact is paramount. Coupling attractive rewards with competitions, challenges and pledges that tie to meaningful action can generate extended engagement. Making that action measurable and trackable satisfies this generation's desire to make a global positive difference and measure the impact.
Millennial moms are savvy, social and increasingly want to make better decisions for the health of their families, their communities and the planet. They are quick to spread the word on brands that are doing well by doing good; but they also crave an offline connection and an understanding of the individual impact they are having through their actions. They have high expectations of the brands they bring into their lives and an eye on creating a more sustainable future.
When it comes down to the basic level, they simply want the best for themselves and the people and environment around them. By appealing to this intrinsic desire and using a combination of online and offline engagement, the millennial mom can be your most powerful ally.