Companies need to improve their communication strategies with customers who are mothers, according to a new study.
Posted Oct 27, 2004
In email marketing efforts most companies have yet to recognize that mothers are avid email users, according to research by Lucid Marketing and BSM Media. Kevin Burke, Lucid Marketing strategy director, says, "Moms are active email users--email is now a part of her regular routine, and no longer delegated as entertainment. Mom is checking her email account throughout the day and spends nearly one-and-a-half hours doing so. Almost half of Moms surveyed value email as their preferred means of communication--nearly tied with the phone."
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said that email messages influence their buying decisions. Additionally, 80 percent of mothers tell friends about commercial email messages that they find to be valuable. Yet most companies send these very influential customers untargeted, generic emails via programs for which the mothers opt in. By opting in, the mothers are already indicating an interest in the company's products or service.
To retain that interest companies need to send emails that provide value in terms of information or coupons/gift certificates, rather than simply buy-my-product messages, according to Burke. In fact, 54 percent of those surveyed said that companies had only their own self-interest in mind when they sent email message. "Moms exhibit considerable discontent with the email messages received from some companies of which they are customers," Burke says. "They want and expect messages that are relevant and specific to their personal and families' needs."
Half of those surveyed stated that companies would gain more purchases if they sent email that made their lives easier. Two thirds said they spend more money with companies that send useful, relevant email messages that meet their needs. Companies have to learn how to deliver value in the customer's terms, Burke says: Johnson & Johnson, for example, sends mothers email newsletters with content designed for maternal parents. Others send mothers printable gift certificates. Though the differences are subtle in terms of actual look and use, gift certificates have more perceived value than coupons, even if the monetary value is the same, according to Burke. Coupons are seen as something they can get from a newspaper, magazine, etc., while a gift certificate seems more personalized.
Burke further recommends asking moms for their children's birth dates. This information can help the company tailor its marketing messages to different life stages. For example, a mother with a newborn will be interested in information and gift certificates related to baby items, while the mother with a preteen will be more interested in education-related material.
Burke also recommends that companies send mothers "surprise and delight" gifts--something they will remember and that will draw them back to the company. The value of these gifts should be proportional to what the company is selling, and should send a message that the company values the recipient mom as a long-term customer.
"Moms are time-starved, multitasking machines. When Moms feel they are receiving value through their personalized email, they will better appreciate the brand and spend more money with that company."
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