How Marketers Can Connect With Moms on a Hyperlocal Level

10 Jul

Moms have embraced mobile — email, apps, SMS, voice, and the mobile web — in a big way. This isn’t a burgeoning trend. It’s the reality right now.

Recently BabyCenter surveyed over 5,000 mothers for their Mobile Mom Report, and found that moms are 18 percent more likely than the general public to have a smartphone. And they are using them all day, every day. From researching family health questions to scheduling and documenting her kids’ lives to diffusing her child’s meltdown in the checkout line, mom’s smartphone is her constant companion. It helps her save time and money, and it plays into her sense of humor.

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The RedRover App is a private social networking website and application where you share events and whereabouts with your real friends in real time. Founder Kathryn Tucker says, “Brands are very important to RedRover. Of all demographics, moms understand best the reciprocal relationship they have with the brands they trust and rely on to provide goods and services to their families. They want to hear from their favorite brands. But the ad model, as we know it’s broken. It feels false and manipulative and is more often than not ineffectual. Can’t something better exist? There’s an incredible opportunity right now to initiate a more interactive, genuine form of communication between brands and consumers. A channel that is playful and useful, one where both sides can feel good about the exchange.”

On the new RedRover platform, which launches in September, brands will have a unique new channel through which to speak to moms, and importantly, to hear back from them. RedRover, in essence, is a publishing medium through which anyone hosting a time-based event — whether it be an institution with a great, kid-friendly activity or a brand — is able to reach moms that want to hear from them. It’s mobile, friendly and solves “What should I do with my kids today?” as well as “I am in this location at this time, what information is useful to me here?”

For brands, it would appear that mobile is the way to a busy mom’s heart: usage of mobile for product/brand recommendations nearly doubled in 2011 to 33 percent. With moms relying on smartphones more than ever before, brands may want to think about upping their mobile targeting ad campaigns to reach moms directly at the point of purchase through apps like RedRover.

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Another great app for parents is Hashtag Mom. It’s ten o’clock, do you know where your kids are? Moms who use the “Hashtag Mom” app do. While it’s not yet a branded app, HashtagMom is one those great tools that solves an obvious problem — how does a mom check in on her kids when they’re not quite old enough to fly solo, but a few years past needing mom for every social outing? In fact, the app is so simple and straightforward that it begs the question — why didn’t a mom-focused brand think of it first? After all, had a brand built “Hashtag Mom,” the app could have scored them a free media bonanza on sites like TechCrunch, MSN, and CNET, to name just a few.

Here’s how the app works. Using Foursquare’s location-based service, the app allows kids to check-in anywhere with the message “#mom.” After that, mom gets either a call or text to let her know that her child is safe.

Any app that helps moms and their teenage kids avoid scenes has got to be indispensible. And for brand marketers looking to use mobile to connect with moms, this relatively simple, straightforward app is a case study in utility.

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One brand, Bravado, which makes nursing bras, launched their own mobile app that helps moms find locations that are friendly for breastfeeding. In fact, it’s a perfect example of an app being totally on brand. But three things really set “Your Breastfeeding-Friendly Locator” apart and make it a hit with moms.

First, the app serves an obvious need. Finding places to breastfeed isn’t easy. And the difficulty of breastfeeding while away from home is something a lot of moms talk about, even though few brands take the time to listen. That’s where Bravado won big with this app. They listened to an ongoing conversation moms have been having for a while, and then the brand took specific action to address a common concern: Where can you easily breast-feed while outside of the home?

Second, the app’s content is driven by moms, for moms. Locations are selected and rated by the user community, which also has the ability to share tips and reviews on some of their favorite finds. Crowdsourcing makes the information highly useful, but it also gives moms a sense of the wider Bravado community, which in turn fosters a deeper connection to the brand.

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Today is the mobile inflection point, especially for mom. She’s already out there — smartphone in hand — staying in-the-know, scanning barcodes, checking in, sharing news and information with friends. Brands that can give mom superpowers through useful, context-savvy, fun mobile tools will find their own value soaring. Mobile ensures brands never miss a mom, location ensures she can get what she needs in the shortest possible distance.

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