Big data ‘not the answer’ to researching mums

Mumstock 2015: Brands such as the Co-op and Kerry Foods have urged marketers to look beyond the huge amount of data available to them and create an emotional connection when targeting mums.

Myths of marketing to mums
Brands have debated marketing techniques aimed at mothers at Mumstock 2015

At a panel discussion at the Mumstock event in London today (18 March), the brands debated the benefits of using small focus groups and face-to-face discussions with mothers as an alternative to large data sets and demographic trends. Mumstock, of which Marketing Week is an official partner, is hosted by parenting website Mumsnet.

“I’ve worked in marketing for a very long time and thought I understood mothers until I actually became one and realised what their experiences are really like,” said April Redmond, chief marketing officer of Kerry Foods.

Redmond suggested that a preoccupation with data and the “functional” aspects of mothers’ lives can prevent brands from developing an emotional relationship with mums. “We’ve had a lot of success in recent years by focusing more on the emotional benefits [of our brands],” she added.

The panel acknowledged the growing role of digital channels in mums’ lives, with online recommendations from fellow parents helping to sway their decision making and convenience-led services like click-and-collect proving popular.

However Co-op Food customer director Andrew Mann also urged marketers to look for simple changes that could make a big difference to mums’ shopping experiences.

He said one of the retailer’s most effective recent innovations aimed at mothers was the addition of a strap on its own brand nappy packs in order to make them easier to carry.

“That might seem like a very simple thing but it’s changed how people buy nappies in the Co-op,” he said.

New research, released to coincide with Mumstock, notes that mums see motherhood as “a relationship rather than a job”. The study, commissioned by Mumsnet and conducted by Saatchi & Saatchi, suggests that brands need to inject more fun and personality into their communications with mothers.

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