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Trillion-dollar moms

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Trillion-dollar moms

by Maria T. Bailey and Bonnie W. Ulman

Dearborn Trade © 2005, 237 pages, $23.00 (ISBN 1-4195-0457-6).

Marketing to a New Generation of Mothers

Studies have shown that mothers control 80 percent of all household spending, so all marketers should welcome some guidance on how to get their share of the $1.7 trillion in potential sales that mothers represent. In Trillion-Dollar Moms, marketing experts Maria T. Bailey and Bonnie W. Ulman describe how marketers can use the most recent research into the buying behaviors of mothers and mothers-to-be to sell more and increase market share.

Moms are a powerful consumer group, and the authors present many statistics to show readers exactly how powerful it is. For example, they write that the average family will spend more than $165,000 on a child by the time the child turns 18 years old. The authors also point out that there are 141,606,000 women with children in the United States, and 6.2 million women-owned businesses that employ 9.2 million people and generate $1.15 trillion in sales.

Generations of Moms

The authors begin Trillion-Dollar Moms by describing how companies can respond to the differences and similarities among Baby Boomer moms, of which there are 70 million; Generation X moms, of which there are 50 million; and Generation Y moms, of which there are 57 million.

For example, Gymboree® Play & Music is one of the nation’s leading parent/child program developers. It is “probably fair to assume,” the authors write, “that because the majority of women with children between the ages of newborn to 5 years old chronologically fall within the Generation X cohort, programs like Gymboree would consider those moms their sweet spot.”

But the authors explain that similar companies should change their thinking about potential target customers, and define their sweet spot as mothers of infants and toddlers, regardless of the mothers’ ages. These companies should expand their “definition of a target market generation that is wider and more inclusive.” They explain that leveraging the target of any-age mothers with young children can create an expanded potential base of mothers that can invite many more peripheral consumers to become customers.

Working Mothers

According to the Bureau of the Census, the number of working mothers age 15 to 44 with infants under 1 year dropped to 55 percent from 59 percent in 1998. This was the first decline in the percentage of working mothers since the bureau started keeping track in 1976.

The authors write that this does not mean that mothers are returning to the role of June Cleaver. Instead, they explain, different generations of women see themselves differently when defining who they are, so even though a Generation X mother might say she is a stay-at-home mom, she might really operate a lucrative eBay business from her home at night. Although she is statistically a stay-at-home mom, she is still a working mother who creates opportunities for marketers. These opportunities to develop product extensions and increase sales and brand loyalty, they write, “come through two channels, moms as employees and moms as owners or purchasing agents for companies.”

The authors note that a marketing plan connecting with mothers as employees and business owners can help companies tap into the billions of dollars they spend from their offices, “but it also will help you retain the best employees, reduce the cost of turnover, increase productivity, boost employee morale, strengthen your consumer image, and create avenues for expansion.” Two companies that have been able to do this in a big way, the authors point out, are Avon, which has more women in management positions than any other Fortune 500 company, and Johnson & Johnson, which has many programs aimed at helping female employees and career-minded women. ~

Why We Like ThIS Book

Trillion-Dollar Moms offers marketers a treasure trove of maternal information they can use to target their offerings to the various generations of mothers, including the older “Silver Birds” who are a large (15 percent of the population) yet underserved part of the mom market. The authors also provide a detailed examination of the types of messages that can attract and retain mothers of all ages. ~

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