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The power of mom, and how marketers can best reach her

November 21, 2013
It’s no secret that our world is ever-evolving, with new forms of technology sprouting up at every corner. Overall it’s important for marketers to keep mothers and other female consumers in mind when devising marketing campaigns. It certainly is a segment to watch and cater to, given the female’s heightened role as a purchase decision-maker.
Oaklee’s Family Guide, the official family guide of the Chicago Auto Show, hosted a Marketing to Moms seminar on Nov. 5 at the Chicago Automobile Trade Association that focused on reaching the “mom market” and encouraging them to feel comfortable when visiting dealerships.
Women increasingly are becoming the sole decision maker when it comes to purchasing cars. According to research by Cooper Tires, women make 65 percent of new-car purchases and 45 percent of light trucks and SUV purchases. Women also request 65 percent of the service work for their vehicles. This segment certainly is one that deserves extra attention.
Oaklee’s Family Guide offered several tips on how to connect with the mom market.
Define the market
Not all moms are created equal. They don’t live in the same area, have the same amount of children, or are the same age. The ages of their children also has a large impact on how to market to them; a mom teaching her child to drive may concentrate more heavily on the car’s safety features, whereas a mom driving multiple children to soccer games may rate equipment storage space high on her list.
Additionally, many mothers today feel as though marketers are ignoring their needs, and 73 percent of moms feel that brands do not understand what it’s like to be a mom. Hence, it is extremely important for dealerships to define their mom market prior to implementing a campaign.
Decision-making styles matter
The first step in the car-buying process should be to have an informal conversation and understand where each particular person is coming from. The salesperson should get to know the person and whether she is a working mom or a homemaker. There is a big difference between moms who have been working their whole life versus moms who are just starting their career, for example. Determining these pertinent details up front will better help the salesperson understand the customer’s needs and be able to draw natural ties between her lifestyle and a particular vehicle’s features and benefits.
It used to be that the “traditional” family model included a working dad and a mom who stayed at home full-time to care for their kids. That is not the case today; in fact, 72 percent of moms with children under the age of 18 are working, and 33 percent of dads are taking on the role of what used to be the “traditional” mom. It’s important for marketers to recognize that moms have many different roles and ensure that is portrayed in their messaging.
Additionally, there are gender-based differences to consider. Men tend to make decisions based on logic; women tend to make their decisions on emotion, backed by logic. It is critical to get moms emotionally invested by asking questions such as, “How does that make you feel?” Many moms may also ask their children to weigh in on the decision before making a purchasing decision, so it’s just as important to connect with the children as it is with mom.
Transparency and word of mouth
Women tend to thrive on word-of-mouth reviews. Marketers must allow this to feed through social media and online review systems such as Yelp. Moms often check online before making a purchase decision and feel better about that decision when they see positive ratings about that particular product.
Building a community of advocates is something that is essential for every company or brand. It’s imperative to ensure variety in the messages distributed to the community and make the communication consistent (i.e., develop a content calendar). Information can be sent using many different channels including social media, direct mail, email and cold calls; however, the best practice is to ask your customer’s preference. Sending helpful information such as safety tips or how often to change tires are ways to build trust with customers and remind them that you care and can provide as a helpful resource. 
General social media strategies 
Social media today is a way of life. It is critical for every dealership to maintain a social media presence and to provide updates regularly.
Social media is great for advertising and engaging consumers. Dealerships can create simple contests to drive engagement, such as “share this photo and get $5 off your next visit” or via utilizing social media advertising to reach a specific target audience.  
Additionally, customers should be encouraged to write reviews and, when they do, assure them they will be responded to publically and quickly, to provide credibility. As previously mentioned, women tend to turn to social media for advice like asking their Facebook friends which family vehicle they recommend, for instance, as they rely on word-of-mouth assurance before making a purchase.