retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of an Advertising Age story about what it called an under-targeted demographic group - single people.

Well, today the Ad Age story is about a different demographic segment: “Advertisements might be filled with young American mothers sporting wedding bands, but in reality, plenty of today's moms were born and raised outside of the U.S., are in nontraditional marital situations and are in their 30s or 40s.”

Among the numbers cited by Ad Age:

• “In the 2000 census, one in four male same-sex couples and one in three female same-sex couples reported at least one child under the age of 18 living in their home. Experts have estimated that upwards of 6 million children in the U.S. are being raised by committed same-sex couples.”

• “In 2006, one in 12 first births was to a woman 35 or older, compared to 1 in 100 in 1970, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The recession could be further exacerbating that trend, as people postpone having children or adjust their expectations of family size.”

• “Nearly four in 10 births -- or almost 40% -- were to an unmarried woman in 2007, according to NCHS. And you'd be mistaken in thinking most unwed mothers are teenagers. In 1970, teenagers accounted for half of all births to unwed mothers, but in 2007 they accounted for just 23%. Instead the number of births to unwed mothers in their 20s, 30s and 40s has risen dramatically. In 2007, women in their 20s accounted for 60% of births to unwed mothers, while women 30 or older accounted for 17%.

Add all these numbers up, Ad Age writes, and “maybe that's why 42% of moms in a study conducted by the Marketing to Moms Coalition found ads that target them as a mom generally ineffective, and 28% found ads that attempt to relate to them as a mom unappealing.”
KC's View:
To be honest, I found some of these numbers to be astounding. Not distressing, but really surprising.

I’m sure there will be a debate about the moral/ethical implications of these numbers. (One of the candidates in the New York gubernatorial race will probably turn them into an angry press release.) But for the moment, let’s just consider the broader significance - that these women are empowered and independent and not reliant on traditional institutions for approval or positive reinforcement.

That means, it seems to me, that companies have to market differently to these women. They’re not going to believe ad pitches just because they trust the companies making them; rather, they are going to set the bar higher in terms of credibility and relevance.

This can be an enormous opportunity for marketers, if they are willing to engage with this demographic and embrace the challenge.