Marketing to Moms with a Web Company: Part Two


Marketing be separated into three categories: online, offline and mobile. It’s useful to imagine these divisions in tag clouds, if that helps. Into the offline category goes PR, radio, TV, display, direct mail, cold calls and print advertising. Into the online category goes SEO, paid search, affiliate and commission-based marketing (includes group buying sites,) online partnerships (content and otherwise,) banner ads and social media. Into the mobile category go apps and text-message marketing. Each of these can be broken down into further divisions.

Some things should be noted about some of the methods above when reaching the mom audience. For example, never cold call her. She’ll hate you. Approaching blogs is generally a waste of time unless you can get mentioned in one of the top 10. Banner ads can backfire if she sees it next to other dodgy ads or on a dodgy Internet location. Direct mail rarely works, unless it’s super-targeted to neighbors within her immediate physical location.

Are you sensing two themes among all of the above? They are trust and viral. Mom never will buy from a brand that does not win her trust and awaken her protective instincts towards her family. This is both a good and a bad thing, because the mom audience is hugely viral. (We’ve had to be…up until now, there’s not been a lot of solutions to our problems, so we’ve had to turn to each other to solve them.) If you win her trust, she will recommend you to at least three other moms. But if you make her mad, she will pan you to those moms. The mom audience's viral nature has to be taken seriously by anyone attempting to reach them because it will make or break you. (It also changes throughout the three stages of growth within your company, but that’s another blog post altogether. My quick estimation? In your grassroots phase, every mom is 10 moms. In the direct marketing phase, every mom is six moms. In the brand-marketing phase, every mom is really four moms.)

Each division of marketing has strengths and weaknesses. Offline marketing is known for being able to clearly imprint an idea of the personality and brand of your company on a customer, and instill trust, which is super-critical when you are trying to reach a mom. However, it is very hard to track. You can spend hundreds of thousands on a campaign, and only get five-digit revenues back. Online marketing deals less with personality, brand, and trust, but reaches the user at the time of their greatest need, and can be tracked to the penny. However, it’s harder to show a customer that you can be trusted when you’re dealing with a medium that is generally associated more with machines than humans. 

Finally, mobile advertising spreads out your brand so that it’s reachable on the go, and also allows you to target a customer at a time of high need. However, have you ever used an app that’s configured badly? I have. That’s because it’s actually quite tricky to make an app that contains the same functionality as a web site.

Genevieve Thiers is the founder of and a co-founder of and She lives in Chicago, IL.

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