What I learned making the switch from mommy marketer to mommy consumer
Moms are a marketers dream. Lane Brown would know. She once worked full-time getting baby-toting women to buy, buy, buy. But now she's a stay-at-home-mom. The hunter has become the hunted.
“Treat yourself.” “Indulge in something for you.” “You deserve a break.”
I am pretty sure I have used one, maybe even all three of these phrases combined in promotional e-mail pitches to mommy bloggers. I’ve tried desperately to convince them that moms deserve better. Like an iced-vanilla-caramel latte kind of better.
Over the course of my career in public relations I have spent hundreds of hours crafting pitches to mommy bloggers, hawking coffee, dog treats, and online search directory sites, among other things.
As a marketer, I feel a little guilty for my role in trying to convince moms to spend money on stuff they don’t necessarily need, pursuing their expendable income by pandering to their mommy sensibilities.
Now I am a stay-at-home mom with a six-month-old son and more time than ever before to watch daytime television and check Facebook. I also have a gigantic bullseye on my back.
I have become the hunted.
I can’t help but notice all of the television ads featuring women my age, who look like me, mothering their fake families.
NyQuil blames my husband for keeping the baby up with his hacking cough. Target promises that I can remain sexy and on budget while preparing cupcakes for a school bake sale. And Cheerios has me by the purse strings anytime it shows the wide-eyed toddler learning to eat Cheerios just like mom.
In the car, McDonalds tries to convince me to hit the drive thru for a McCafe without the kids, stressing the importance of taking a few moments for myself, lest I am otherwise tempted to run my minivan off the road and end it all.
Oh, and it is assumed that I now drive a minivan. Brainstorm: Here’s an idea, send new parents home from the hospital with a guide to breastfeeding and financing information on a Honda Odyssey. Woohoo, this girl’s still got it!
But, I digress. I’ve also noticed that the Today Show – the mother of all mommy-targeted morning shows – is featuring boy bands I listened to as a preteen in its summer concert series. They’re dusting off teen heartthrobs of the 90s to lure in me and my peers for the ad dollars.
And for good reason. According to a 2012 CBC study, moms control over $2 trillion dollars of purchasing power in the US. At the beginning of my career, mommy blogs didn’t even exist. There are now conferences and coalitions that focus entirely on marketing to moms. The M2Moms conference web site boasts,”Since its founding in 2005, the event has been attended by thousands of senior-level brand managers and marketing executives from Fortune 500 companies....”
In many ways it is fun as a marketer to experience being marketed to as a mom, especially with a little bit of know-how about what’s behind the curtain. I’ve also learned that the guilt I feel for trying to convince moms to buy $4 lattes doesn’t outweigh the irresistible urge I have right now to spend on anything that gets me out of the house and interacting with someone whose diaper I don’t have to change.
I am now the major purchaser in the house, and so the bullseye gets bigger every day. I recently purchased a diaper sprayer to help remove the poo from my baby’s cloth diapers. What the heck is that going to do to the Amazon search algorithm?
As for the mommy bloggers of my past, I still apologize for filling your inboxes with trite and unoriginal pitches from my former, childless self. I didn’t know then what I know now.
This post originally appeared on Medium.com.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Lane Brown blogs at Mudlatte.com.