Why Millennial Moms are Supplanting College Students
Moms and college students have long been critical targets for brands since moms control household spending and college students are in a transitional life stage that will shape their brand preferences for years to come. Both groups also play key roles in important household purchases like cars, technology and clothing.
Marketers have not seen many similarities between these two demographics – until now. No, moms are not suddenly attending all-night keg parties with their college-age kids, but these two influential groups share some significant traits in the ways they communicate, consume media, and interact with technology.
A Familiar Marketing Challenge
Millennials, defined as individuals born between 1977 and 1996, are now having babies. According to the Parents Network, 79% of all first-births and 68% of all births are to Millennial Moms. These new parents have been raised on the Internet, email, SMS, and IM, and quickly adopted Facebook and social networking in their teens or early 20s. Gen X moms have also been quick to integrate new technologies and communication platforms into their lives. Since older parents tend to adopt new technologies used by younger parents within their play circles, Millennial Moms are influencing those parents. Quite simply, much of the frustration that marketers have faced over the past decade in reaching the youth market now bears many similarities to the challenges in reaching the newly defined Millennial Mom demographic.
Four Ways Millennial Moms Mirror College Students
- They’re multi-tech multitaskers. Their lives are rapidly changing, and there are new responsibilities at every turn. They welcome new technology and look upon it as a means to create order out of the chaos and streamline their busy lives, which allows them to do more.
- They build communities to ease transition. Motherhood, like college, is a period of great transition. Now more than ever moms are living in cities far from family and close friends, and they find themselves in need of additional support and new connections. Online communities provide support and information that help offset the anxiety that comes with entering a new stage of life.
- They crowdsource decisions. Both moms and college students see their virtual peers as more credible sources than experts or celebrities. They prefer to crowdsource their purchasing decisions through online networks of like-minded individuals.
- They’re masters of the over-share. Though college students and moms exchange very different information, both groups are highly prone to share details that would hardly have been shared with strangers in the pre-Web 2.0 era. The curtains are open and tied back as the lines between public and private life are blurred.
So How Does This Change Things?
Well, how doesn’t it? Until recently, if moms, college students, and Facebook were mentioned in the same sentence, it would most likely be in reference to a stalking mom. Today, Millennial Moms have quickly become technology’s early adopters, uber social connectors, and a powerful online voice. The implications of this change cannot be underestimated. By examining the changes in the behaviors of and marketing opportunities to college students over the past five years, we can begin to understand and anticipate behavioral patterns. Brands that plan to market to Millennial Moms in the coming years will need to get up to speed on the latest trends, technologies, and communication methods to stay connected to their consumers.
The Millennial Mom Road Map
Here are ten rules that brands should follow when marketing to Millennial Moms:
- Build platforms, not campaigns.
- Create movements, not noise.
- Look to peers, not celebrities.
- Create conversation topics, not a brand message.
- Be authentic and stand for something.
- Crowdsource ideas, don’t assume.
- Be democratic and participatory.
- Think about engaging, not reaching.
- Personalize, localize, and customize everything.
- Hand over the keys, let mom drive your brand.
Source: Mr. Youth and RepNation Media