Monday, November 3, 2008

OnlineSpin: Firepower For Convergence: The Connected Mom

Last week Kendall wrote Come On, Show Me: Adaptive Brand Personality In Times of Change.

Forrest Wright wrote in response, "A very articulate post on authenticity.


Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call to those who pair generic clip-art photos with too-cute messages about innovation.

I'm ready to usher in the age of SWYM marketing (saying what you mean, meaning what you say)."

Monday, November 3, 2008
Firepower For Convergence: The Connected Mom
By Kendall Allen

Roaming the mega-nabe that arguably is the media capital of the world day in and day out, one cannot help but feel the pulse of all that converges in this town. For those in the media business, it's palpable -- and one of the reasons we like being in New York and doing business here. During ad:tech, it all comes even more to the fore. Every time. As ever, and in any mood or climate, we ponder the reality of convergence -- across platforms, media types and mix in general. And, today, we keep an eye on just how digital is transforming and will continue to transform our situation.

With ad:tech upon us, I have been thinking about moms. That's right -- moms! I guess you never know which way a hyperlinked mind will take you.  

As I've been getting acquainted with our work and our clients at my new post, I have had several really notable "ah-ha" experiences. For example, the work we do with global CPG companies to create and fuel consumer networks clearly shows the power of the mom. This is large-scale brand work via networks of 100s of 1000s of moms in which we market, foster community, and drive brand advocacy. To be clear: We spark it; they drive it. These moms are mentors, hosts, ambassadors, advocates, and -- here is the key -- communicators. As we make this production more and more digital, and integrate the supporting media more aggressively, the possibilities of scale and depth are almost endless. It's convergence incarnate.

Here are some things we know are important when it comes to moms online:

-    On many consumer brand purchases, they are the primary decision-maker.
-    They are brand loyal - but they try new things, especially when advocated.
-    They are recommenders; they listen to recommenders.
-    They appreciate "review" content.
-    They are community-driven and have shown an interest in social media from its very beginnings -- and now are there to a notable height. Once in chat rooms and on message boards, they now frequent social media forums, sharing online.
-    They blog. Big-time -- and often about brands with the motive of advocacy.

So, fixated on this theme, it was satisfying to be served up some findings by eMarketer last week, in a report entitled "Mom Bloggers Fuel Online Brand Talk." First, I will say that as a marketer, the blogosphere has become more intriguing over time. Not only is the galaxy more populated above and beyond the founding floor of unknown individuals who would go on to foster cult followings; now it is also perpetuated by various breeds of journalists, authors and commentators. There are also new models for monetizing, engaging, and really harnessing the power of the blogosphere on all fronts. So, when we think about consumer brand advocacy and networks, this whole blogger-mom phenom is very potent, all things considered. As summarized in this eMarketer 10/30 report:

"More than three-quarters of mothers who blog in the US review products, according to recently released data from Mom Central Reporting."

"Mom bloggers may be especially open to contact from brands in the current economic environment: More than 60% of mom bloggers considered making money important and wanted more connectivity with companies; over one-third (37%) said they had already been contacted as a resource for the press."

"Working with mom bloggers makes sense because the Internet is a leading conversation starter about products and brands among new and expectant mothers, according to a January 2008 study by BabyCenter and Keller Fay Group."

So, while so many of us turn increasingly to the blogosphere as a vehicle within the mix, this mom super-connectivity in point is solid reinforcement/ Moreover, given some of the specific large-scale executions I have seen, I would argue that the advocating, connector mom is major firepower. In an age of increasing convergence, where we must readily acknowledge both consumer demand and influence as pivotal to leveraged media - we heed the impressive examples of this trend at work. As digital continues to transform all, seems like Mom is right there, and right on it. Kind of empowering, isn't it?

Kendall Allen is senior vice president of Digital Marketing Services at MKTG, headquartered in New York City. Previously she was managing director of Incognito Digital, LLC, an independent digital media agency and creative studio. She also held top posts at iCrossing and Fathom Online.

Online Spin for Monday, November 3, 2008:

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