ClubMom was founded three years ago as a pilot Web site and events program in 10 markets by a group that includes actor Andrew Shue and Meredith Vieira, co-host of ABC's "The View." The premise? That the 82 million moms who control 80% of total U.S. household spending would "provide their data, incremental dollars and loyalty to companies in exchange for rewards and recognition," said Alexandra Aleskovsky, chief marketing officer, ClubMom.
Measurable sales results for partners in initial markets has driven a national expansion that kicks off this week with five new "anchor" partners-Unilever, Chrysler Group's Dodge, Coca-Cola Co., Verizon Wireless and Home Depot-as well as a slew of lesser partners that hope the program will help them forge relationships with moms that have become harder to build through traditional media.
According to Julie Roehm, director-marketing communications for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, the ClubMom program is "the wave of the future" in terms of how it will structure its alliances. The car company will help ClubMom build its membership base from a million-plus members to its goal of tens of millions by touting the program in online advertising buys and consumer events. In exchange, Chrysler's contract states explicitly that it will gain incremental sales of its family vehicles, the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and the Durango SUV.
Chrysler can measure the success of the program by comparing its database of owners with ClubMom's membership database and making sure the percentage of shared names grows, Ms. Roehm said. The program helps to make the lives of moms easier by offering discounts and tips, and with 20,000 points toward the purchase of other products when members buy a Dodge (the exclusive automotive sponsor), "it provides an incentive to choose our product," she said. Additionally, "virtual" tours on Clubmom.com and ClubMom events will provide opportunities to get people to see first-hand the features of its vehicles, including its "Stow `N Go" seating and storage. Ms. Roehm said Chrysler might consider expanding the partnership to include its Jeep and Chrysler brands depending on results from the Dodge relationship.
ClubMom offers members who sign up at clubmom.com or at participating grocery stores the opportunity to earn points when spending money with partners that can be redeemed for over 200 products and services in a ClubMom Rewards catalog.
Unilever has signed on with ClubMom both for its food and personal-care brands as part of its push to develop strategic alliances and "360 degree integrated programming that hits the consumer needs," said Lisa Klauser, VP-integrated marketing capability for Unilever Bestfoods. "It's not just about the 30-second spot anymore. We need opportunities to interact and engage and further strengthen our relationship with consumers," Ms. Klauser said. Unilever will offer quick and easy meal ideas on clubmom.com as well as participate in a pilot program, ClubMom's Night Out, by creating meal ideas for dads left home with the kids.
Co-founder Mr. Shue will appear on "The View" on May 5 to talk about ClubMom, and a kickoff event will be staged at New York City's Rainbow Room May 6 and May 7.