As a mother of two children – soon to be three – I feel immense pressure and responsibility to be a super-mom.
As a mom, I’m always striving to do the impossible. I try to cook only wholesome, healthy meals for my family to help my kids avoid childhood obesity. I try getting the kids to spend less time watching TV and more time practicing the alphabet or doing art projects. I try to raise well-rounded children by bringing them to museums, on vacations and to Mommy and Me classes. And I try to keep the house clean, the laundry done and the beds made, all while continuing to climb the corporate ladder and get to the gym each day.
Clearly, as moms trying to do it all, we need help – even if we can do it half-right. And it’s not just the support from spouses, partners, nannys and teachers. We need help from the companies that are marketing to us. A company that understands my pressures and my goals, and can help me navigate the complex world of career-mom, will win my loyalty.
For companies trying to win a busy mom’s business, here are my tips for marketing to us:
Come to me, don’t make me come to you: Recently, I received some great coupons and discounts in the mail from one of my favorite children’s clothing stores. I was thrilled that these came just in time for my spring wardrobe updates and immediately went to the website to use the coupons. Upon “check-out,” I found that not only could the discounts not be used online, but they were only good for certain days and hours in the store! This is a company that clearly does not understand moms. I have a business trip tomorrow followed by a Girl Scout Troop event Friday and my son’s birthday party on Sunday. I appreciate the coupons but please, don’t make it so hard. As cute as those clothes are, the company lost a sale as well as my loyalty.
Give me options: Last weekend, I brought my children out to eat. Now, anyone with children can relate to the fact that bringing two small children to a restaurant by yourself is risky in and of itself. It becomes even more challenging when the children’s menu only offers pizza, chicken fingers, french fries and some blue drink that stained the kids teeth for the rest of the afternoon. How do you think my kids reacted when mommy suggested they get vegetable soup and a turkey sandwich from the adult menu? How am I suppose to stick to the “don’t make your kids fat” pressure when all around my kids are their blue-faced peers scarfing down greasy fries? So, as annoying as it was, we walked around with blue teeth for the rest of the day. Again, you really don’t get my values as a mom if you are not even offering healthy options.
Save me time: Disney is a company that really understands the mom. When calling to book my vacation (and the other 13 follow-up calls to make changes to it) I was never once put on hold or stuck talking to an automated operator. I gave them my flight details and they took care of my airline check-in and luggage pick-up. They saved me time and frustration which won them my loyalty and we continue to go back. My husband and I are willing to overlook the over-commercialized, over-priced chaos of a theme park vacation because they make it easy on us as parents every time.
Don’t underestimate the influence of the mom: Recently, I’ve subscribed to Woman’s Day magazine as well as some online newsletters from sites like Blue Suit Mom and Baby Center. I like getting information from these resources because they offer tips and ideas for how to manage my family and career. But what I like most is that they offer stories from other moms like me. While I appreciate resources and tips from company sites, nothing impacts me more than the advice from real moms whether they are friends in my neighborhood or stories I read in magazines or online. I’ve never felt as vulnerable as I do as a mom and it is always so helpful to know that others feel the same way or are dealing with the same things.
Help me be perfect but tell me it’s ok when I am not: When talking to moms, companies need to stay away from the “fear” factor and be supportive. I’m always turned off by companies who tell me “you have to do this” to be good moms and make me feel like if I don’t I am purposely poisoning my children and ruining their lives. Give me the information I need to make an informed choice but don’t make me feel like motherhood is a one size fits all job. I know the rules — junk food is bad, TV kills your brain, breastfeeding is proven to be the healthiest option, kids should be potty trained at two. I get it and I am doing my best to navigate all the rules. But I don’t want to feel like an outcast on the days that I stick my kid in front of the TV with a lollipop for a couple hours so I can write this blog.
Speaking of….I better get back to being a mom