Nickelodeon's extensive new research findings about Millennial Moms give the network crucial insight into how to represent and reach the modern family.
Broken down into younger Neo moms (ages 20 to 27) and Pro moms (28 to 33), Millennial Moms are tech-savvy, socially responsible and authentic, raised as wealth-seeking studious perfectionists but angling to ensure their kids pursue the path of happiness and passion, Nickelodeon's research shows.
"Millennial Moms are so important because they were the first generation of kids to grow up with Nickelodeon, they love us and now as adults they're having kids of their own," said Pam Kaufman, CMO and president of consumer products at the network, as Nickelodeon released its research results earlier this month.
While their post-millennial children, ages 2 to 12, are Nickelodeon's primary target, the intensive research on Millennial Moms is crucial, Ms. Kaufman said. "Because parents today are so important in their kids' lives, we need to understand them and we need to understand the role of family to make sure we're representing them properly in our content and marketing."
BOTH DEFINED AND DISTRESSED BY TECHNOLOGY
If Baby Boomers defined themselves by their work ethic, millennials define themselves by their devices. Hooked on social media and social networking, in need of intriguing 24/7 content to engage with, more than 50% of Millennial Moms seek expert advice online, relying less on family and immediate peers in favor of forums and message boards, Nickelodeon's research found. But their own obsessiveness has these moms running scared for their kids.
"These parents are a lot stricter with technology these days, with 90% of them admitting to actively limiting their own kids' usage, in large part because they've seen the perils and dangers of the Internet," said Sujata Luther, senior VP-consumer insights for Nickelodeon. Restricting their own addictive behavior with devices in the name of being better role models is not so easy, she added, citing statistics that shows 83% of Millennial Moms sleep with their phones.
Balancing human and digital interaction is one of the biggest challenges of the Millennial Mom, whose greatest goal is to be recognized as a good, fun mom and have a super-close relationship with her kids.
Moms spoke overwhelmingly of their great desire to have fun, authentic, shared experiences with their families. While road trips made the list, along with board games and being outdoors, more than 75% of respondents said their families picked TV-watching as the family time activity of choice.
WHAT'S ON THE SCREEN
Giving families great on-air content they can relate to means really understanding consumers. So who is the Millennial Mom and what does her family look like? Nickelodeon's research defines her to a T.
"Moms today were raised to believe they were the best," Ms. Kaufman said. "Now, mothers feel tremendous pressure to be perfect, and they're having a tough time balancing that with the desire to be the 'fun' mom."
Said Ms. Luther, "We call them 'Trophy Moms.' These highly educated moms are so used to getting constant validation from their own parents that they begin to look for these 'trophies' from their husbands, kids and peers."
But while the "Super Mom'" moniker looms large for Millennial Moms—with 31% feeling the pressure as compared to 18% of Gen-X Moms—Ms. Luther said the new Millennial Mom has no illusions that "doing it all" is a possibility.
Also gone is the idea of "tolerance" toward other races, religions or sexual orientations because the new world order instead embraces differences and individuality. For example, the study found that 85% of respondents support interracial marriage.
"TV has gone from 'Ozzie & Harriet' to 'The Cosby Show' to 'Modern Family,' " Ms. Luther said. "Where once we were segregated, we now have same-sex parents, African-Americans and Hispanics all living in the same ecosystem."
In addition to representing more diverse families and communities, research shows post-millennial kids are incredibly close with their parents, a phenomenon Nickelodeon has dubbed the "Velcro family."
"Whereas a couple years ago we called it 'the nag factor'—how kids influenced decisions—now moms and dads are really taking kids' input seriously on everything from the content they consume to what car to buy and where to go on vacation," Ms. Kaufman said.
How does this research translate into action?
"It's a really exciting time for content creators and marketers because the family is being represented differently than they've ever been represented before," Ms. Kaufman said. "We get asked a lot, 'How should I show the family today?' Well, research says, 'Show a happy environment, an environment with lots of fun, lots of humor.' "
That is, she said, if you want to show you understand the world of the Millennial Mom.
About the Sponsor
Nickelodeon, now in its 36th year, is the No. 1 entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the U.S. and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in almost 100 million households and has been the No. 1-rated basic cable network for 20 consecutive years.