The Motrin Mom Controversy
I feel like I need to comment on Motrin-gate as I continue to read the endless flow of articles, blog posts and videos regarding the now pulled Motrin ad campaign. As the author of every book but one on Mom Marketing and most recently, “Mom 3.0: Marketing With Moms by Leveraging Social Media and New Technology“, it seems as if I need to issue an opinion. The reality is that almost everything I would say has already been said in one form or fashion so perhaps the best service I can do is comment on some of the words already written.
Tonight I read an article in Ad Age that did an excellent job at speaking to scope, reach and reaction. The article illustrated that, although the Motrin dialogue among moms seemed loud and vast in numbers, in reality it touched only a small number of online mothers. Twitter, which served as the social media platform for much of the discussion among mom bloggers, myself included, reaches only 0.15% of the entire Internet audience. Blogs, which also fielded posts and discussions among mothers, only reach 38% of the mom market according to BSM Media research. However, what the Ad Age article didn’t measure was the vast number of online videos, vcasts and vlogs that were uploaded by opinionated mothers. These have far more reach than either of the two previously named social media platforms. We don’t speak much about videos now but I can assure you ,as a trendspotter in the mom market, we will be hearing as much about Vlogging by Q1 2009 as we do about blogs in Q4 2008. In fact, 85% of all moms have watched an online video in the past 7 days and it was videos recorded by mom bloggers turned Vloggers that caught the media’s attention. Stephanie Precourt’s heartfelt video led to exposure on NBC News and the Chicago Tribune. My point in bringing your attention to the real numbers of social media is to help marketers avoid a mistake I see happening every day. Marketers are clamoring so quickly and carelessly in their attempt to get into the social media space that they are doing so without their traditional sense of marketing savvy. They are trusting non-marketing experts who demonstrate even the slightest bit more knowledge than themselves with their brand and their messaging. They are forgetting research and measurement. They are throwing away any thought of integrated marketing plans that build upon each other and handing over their marketing dollars to individuals whose knowledge is limited to one space.
I will be the first to tell marketers that you must market WITH moms rather than TO them. I even changed the title of my book to reflect this approach. This does not mean, however, that one should abandon all traditional strategy to touching your consumer in a meaningful manner.
Another interesting stream of blog posts come from moms themselves. Their basic message was that the uproar doesn’t do well for the connection between businesses and bloggers. That somehow the power of social media could work against how far moms have come in earning the respect of companies if mothers do not find less chaotic manners of protest. I would agree that moms have come a very long way in earning the respect of companies. Ironically, most of the moms who enjoy this respect were still single, childless and probably still in college when people like myself were fighting for face time with big brands. I recall when my first book, “Marketing to Moms” was published, I spent 90% of my time trying to convince marketers that they should pay attention to women with children. The first Marketing to Moms Conference brought out 10 attendees. I even went more than a year without a paycheck trying to build the first ever Mom Marketing Agency. Today, thousands of moms enjoy some kind of income from working with companies, at least a dozen Marketing to Kids firms have added “and Moms” to their taglines and multiple conference companies have monetized the desire of brands to reach this market. Yes, we’ve come a long way and we still have a long way to go. Marketers and moms of influences such as bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and webmasters need to realize that this industry is still young and ever evolving. It’s been less than a decade since the spending power of moms was quantified by BSM Media and with changes in technology, the road ahead will have lots of growing pains. The good news is that we have Motrin to help cure them.