It’s no question that moms are bound to each other through online channels. They are always on and hyper-connected. That’s old news.
The new question is how can your brand cut through the rising clutter and connect with this highly engaged audience?
The answer is delivering the answers moms want and providing the tools they need, all in a genuine voice that speaks their language and promotes a sense of belonging.
It takes a content-first approach to build the kind of loyalty that mutes competitors’ messages. And B2B brands have the opportunity to learn from successful, mom-centric campaigns and apply them to their niche audiences.
Mom marketing insights
To do that, you need to understand the universal needs of today’s moms (beyond a good night’s sleep):
- Know how: They need answers to questions they don’t know they have yet.
- Utility: They need tools to simplify or amplify a piece of their lives, meeting the changing demands of life and work styles.
- Community: They need to know they’re not alone in this journey.
Ultimately, moms need information that builds knowledge and confidence — from brands that they don’t mind weaving into the memory book of this special time.
Major parenting brands learned the power of content marketing early on. From child development tips to supplemental tools like apps and calculators, as well as mom-authored blogs and branded communities, these elements add value to product offerings and create preference.
But if you think creating mom-friendly content is just for the diaper companies, think bigger.
Your product or service might not be designed specifically for parenting or children, but you can count on moms for their purchasing power and decision-making for the home or business. In fact, more than seven out of 10 mothers with children at home are in the labor force, according to 2012 Pew Research data.
The universal needs of know-how, utility, and community can be applied to your target consumers — and content marketing can connect the dots between your expertise and empowering the end user.
Three niche content marketing powerhouses did just that by using a “content-first” strategy in a saturated market to build loyal followings.
AskDrSears.com is a comprehensive Q&A website featuring renowned pediatrician and father of eight Dr. Bill Sears. According to his bio, Sears has authored 30 books and served as a pediatrics expert for more than 100 TV programs since the early 1990s.
Sears’ marketing machine successfully translated that expertise to an online audience, creating a comprehensive resource site built around key topics in parenting, along with subjects that are uniquely his (including his signature “attachment parenting” philosophy).
Content creation takeaway: Aim for online thought leadership with a personal touch. You don’t have to be a well-known personality to gain readership. It’s safe to say that many mothers’ main encounters with the Dr. Sears brand take place through direct search results for their parenting questions. The key is authenticity when competing for attention in a saturated online content market like parenting.
AskDrSears.com delivers its content in a warm and conversational tone, replicating the personal experience of an in-person doctor visit. There are countless channels for moms to get answers; with more than 73,000 Facebook “likes” registered on the AskDrSears.com page, it’s clear that the delivery of the message matters when building a loyal audience.
FertilityFriend.com is seen as a gold standard in online fertility resources. This website is centered on a free fertility charting tool and also offers training classes, educational resources, and community features to hundreds of thousands of site visitors. It does that while maintaining the feel of an exclusive club, sharing in one of the most sensitive times in a female’s life.
Users have the ability to share their fertility charts, which means that in any given online fertility or pregnancy forum, you’re likely to see links or chart graphics from an individual’s “FF” account.
FertilityFriend exemplifies the idea of utility, built around its interactive, online charting tool for women trying to conceive. It offers a free version of its app and site, as well as a paid membership version with many more bells and whistles. The site is also ad free, with all revenue coming from its membership and paid products.
Content creation takeaway: Useful tools create brand preference, loyalty, and reach. In his Content Marketing World 2012 keynote speech, Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) spoke about the importance of utility in content marketing, specifically referencing the Charmin “SitorSquat” app to locate public restrooms with your smartphone.
A tool has the power to create brand preference in even the most general of commodities. FertilityFriend.com is built around its utility: What tool can you create or partner with — supplemental to your core value proposition — to create preference in a crowded market?
Community: Friends of Ricki
Talk show host Ricki Lake has launched a new all-access, multimedia, and content- and community-driven approach to women’s infotainment, called “Friends of Ricki.”
Long before “The Ricki Lake Show” hit the airwaves in September 2012, new fans — and future evangelists — were being recruited as “Friends of Ricki.” In a parallel to the “American Idol” model, the “product” was already being sold prior to the launch through captivating, interactive content that spoke directly to the audience.
It created a 360-degree social media and content landscape involving Ricki, her production team, and newly created parenting communities across the country. They provided online mechanisms to organize events, publish videos, share insight, make friends, and find support.
Content creation takeaway: Leverage online evangelism for traditional products or services. Like Dr. Sears, Ricki Lake had already built a name for herself, but her brand understands the challenges of reaching new generations online through a variety of channels beyond TV.
You may have a long-standing product, but how will you position it for the future? There may be untapped opportunities that only community-driven initiatives will reveal. Community-based features also gives marketers the ability to directly connect with consumers on the topics that matter most.
Think outside the mom
Comscore offers its data-driven insight into the effectiveness of reaching moms with marketing messages online. However, the impressions you send out for moms can also resonate with secondary audiences, such as dads or grandparents, who share responsibilities in caregiving.
There may also be opportunities for your business to meet the changing demands of tech-savvy moms with unmatched purchasing power, and apply the universal themes to your specialized audience targets.
In all cases, don’t say that your product or service will make your prospect’s life easier — they will be the judges of that. Instead, use content to educate on how you will simplify or enrich a small piece of their day, while meeting the new lifestyle demands and increased connectivity of modern consumers.
Content marketing gives you the ability to create “must-visit” online destinations, and extend your reach through the social media channels where your audiences spend their time. They will pay it forward, by sharing your useful content, and thus recommending your products, services, or messages, to their networks.
How will you apply these lessons in loyalty from mom-friendly B2B content marketing campaigns to your strategy? Let us know your ideas in the comments.
*Note I have no affiliations with the subjects in these case studies; I’m just a fan of each, and content marketing as a core marketing practice.
For more case-in-point B2B content marketing examples, download CMI’s Ultimate eBook: 100 Content Marketing Examples.
Top image via iStockphoto