Published on: May 20, 2009by Kate McMahon
Content Guy’s Note: Kate’s BlogBeat is a new ingredient in the MorningNewsBeat stew – a regular look at what shoppers are talking about on the Internet, and how it impacts the conduct of business by retailers and manufacturers.
They’re opinionated, prolific, passionate, tech savvy and control the family purse strings.
They’re the “mom bloggers” and they mean business, in every sense of the word.
Whether filing posts from their computers, uploading home video clips on “vlogs,” texting or Twittering, their clout in the social networking world is growing exponentially.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Baby Boom-generation mother of two teenage daughters. I gleaned my parenting and product information the old-fashioned way - from print media and TV and communicated by telephone (touchtone, not rotary dial).
So I ventured into the burgeoning “mom blogosphere” with a reporter’s curiosity and touch of skepticism. Would the content consist of unedited chit-chat about morning sickness, terrible twos, home-schooling and sibling rivalry? Or would I find real time commentary, informative product reviews, advice and opinions from women across the nation? The answer is all of the above.
And the takeaway for retailers, manufacturers and marketers – in short, the MorningNewsBeat.com readership – is simple:
Mind the mothers.
“Mommy-Bloggers are one of the most clearly identifiable voices on the web,” said PR expert Peter Shankman after the on-line moms “Twitter-stormed” Motrin over a web video ad likening baby slings to a pain-inducing fashion accessory. “They are a force to be reckoned with.”
And he was quoted in Motherlode, the New York Times’ parenting blog.
In addition to controlling $2.1 trillion in annual spending, a recent survey showed that 71% of mothers use the internet for product information. And they fervently share their opinions, good and bad.
Take the ongoing Jardine crib debacle. The Taiwanese manufacturer recently recalled another 96,000 cribs, on top of past recalls of more than 375,000 cribs, due to concerns that the wooden slats could break and lead to entrapment or strangulation. My MNB colleague Michael Sansolo addressed this mess last week, and noted consumer reaction would find its way to the web.
Did it ever.
A perusal of “mom blogs” showed a barrage of furious posts from frustrated parents, including one who learned of the recall via a Twitter from the site momlogic.com. While Jardine manufactured the recalled crib models, the U.S. distributors, Babies ‘R’ Us and Toys ’R’ Us, were also caught in the cross-fire. And in addition to venting, the mom bloggers were advising on how to parlay the stores’ recall refund policy to demand monetary satisfaction.
Jardine and Motrin have felt the ire of the mom bloggers. Future columns promise to delve into the flip-side of the mom-bloggers’ power, and how their reviews can not just break – but can help make – a product.
Kate McMahon can be reached via email at email@example.com .
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