retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kate McMahon

As the resident mom in the MorningNewsBeat.com lineup, I find myself drawn to social networking sites that deliver camaraderie, humor and useful information about smart spending, keeping my family healthy and my life in balance.

And since I’m in good company with the legions of harried mothers who turn to Facebook, Twitter, thousands of mom blogs and brand pages on the internet each day, we thought it time to launch an “Engaging with Moms” column to appear in this space on occasion.

Now this is not to say that fathers do not share the same concerns about family health, nutrition and budgets as mothers do in most households. My husband, similar to MNB’s Content Guy, takes on grocery shopping and other chores and is the primo purveyor of breakfast specialties and master of the grill.

But in the battle for the hearts, minds and trillion dollar purchasing power of America’s social-networking savvy Moms, retailers, marketers and service providers can glean invaluable insight about what these particular consumers want in today’s changing economic times.

Internet research and anecdotal evidence all point to mothers wanting their brands to be partners and respectful of their time. They don’t want to marketed “to” but rather engaged “with.” They are increasingly turning to the internet for product information and for making purchases and want to be recognized for their daily juggling act.

The folks out at the family-owned Stremick’s Heritage Foods in Santa Ana, CA get this.

The organic milk producer just rolled out a campaign for its soymilk, 8th Continent. The brand’s Facebook page features a contest entitled “Nice Job, Mom” and it salutes real moms who are not perfect, and choose to share their mom mistakes with others.

The video message is delivered by family member Megan Stremick, the marketing director, who cheerfully acknowledges that it’s impossible to be the perfect mom and at the end of the day we all need a safe place to share our mom screw-ups and a laugh among friends. The winning stories receive such prizes as one year of service from Merry Maids or a complete room makeover.

This engagement works to create a personal connection with the consumer, and keeps them returning to a Facebook page with ongoing dialogue, a website that provides nutritional information, recipes, store locators and coupons and a presence on Twitter. It reaffirms the family connection, and delivers camaraderie, humor and useful information. Just the right recipe for engaging with moms.

Are you a mom with a unique story of brand engagement? Or a brand with an innovative approach to engaging with moms? Let me know...I can be reached via email at kate@morningnewsbeat.com .
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