I’ve recently had a major life event — I’ve changed demographics. That’s right, I’m no longer a married woman 25-34. I’m now a married mother 25-34, children 2 and under. The boxes I tick off are totally different now. It’s been life-altering.
I wrote a few months ago about how I was marketed to as a mother-to-be and some of the opportunities I thought marketers were missing. As a new mom, I’m still a prime target for a slew of products. But just as I did during my pregnancy, I see major marketers missing opportunities and, frankly, making some mistakes when targeting women like me.
First, companies need to be completely transparent with new parents about how they’ve collected their contact information. One of the many lovely results of post-partum hormonal changes is a heightened, almost animal compulsion to protect your baby at all costs, and it’s quite alarming when baby products show up at your doorstep that you haven’t ordered. The biggest perpetrator here are the formula companies, Enfamil and Similac, who sent whole cases of formula with congratulatory notes addressed to me by first and last name. I also received personalized offers from Huggies, Pampers, and Disney Movies, among others. How did they get my name and address? How did they know exactly when my child would be arriving? Chances are they purchased my information from another company I actually signed up to do business with, like BabyCenter or myregistry.com, which ask for your name and due date when you set up your account. The last thing marketers should want to do is turn off new moms — in their already paranoid state — by making them think about the public nature of their whereabouts. These companies should broadcast their affiliations in bright bold letters, not bury it in fine print.
Marketers should also consider the timing of their advertising. Case and point: less than eight hours after I gave birth to my son, a photographer walked into my hospital room and asked if I wanted to schedule and purchase newborn photos. I had been awake for 36 hours and was trying to nurse my baby for the third time in my life, so, needless to say, I was not in the mood to be sold. When I declined, she tried to get my email address so they could send me follow-up offers. I was not amused. Fast forward five weeks, and I’m dying to spend money, most likely because going to Target is one of the only activities I can successfully manage with my baby. If I were to receive some offers in the mail now for, say, nursing-friendly dresses or large bags of ground coffee, I would head to the store in a heartbeat.
Finally, product marketers need to ensure that their product or service is easy to use. And by easy, I mean that I can use it one-handed. I’m not just referring to physical objects here (like Medela’s hands-free breast pump — genius), but also to services like websites and apps. For example, I was able to create my birth announcements on Shutterfly with one hand while simultaneously breastfeeding. It took four minutes. And you can bet that a year from now, when I’m choosing Christmas cards or birthday invitations, that I’ll return to their site. By contrast, if your product requires two hands or is in any way difficult or frustrating, I’m bailing. I downloaded a breastfeeding tracker app that took about 30 seconds to open on my iphone. That 30 seconds is the difference between my son patiently waiting in my arms and screaming bloody murder, so the app-maker promptly lost me as a user.