Today, more and more brands are reaching beyond borders to connect with moms, while advancements in technology have empowered mothers to socialize with moms around the globe. Both McDonald's and Disney World now have global mom panelists while Huggies, Coca-Cola and Purex also engage moms across continents in marketing programs.
Although my mom marketing books are published in 12 languages, it's only been recently that I've seen a dramatic increase in interest by American brands to expand their mom marketing programs overseas. The trend has taken my studies of moms from South Africa to South America and, most recently, Europe. Each stop provides a unique opportunity for learning.
The highlight of my journeys occurred three weeks ago when I hosted a Mom Blogger Mixer with FattoreMama,www.fattoremama.it , the leading Italian mom portal, in Milan. Not only was it exciting to host 60 social media mom influencers, it was fulfilling to be able to share the event with over 1,200 U.S. moms who tuned in online.
For over two hours, moms from both sides of the pond compared notes on social media, parenting and motherhood via live chat and online video streaming. It was social media mom networking at its best.
So what do companies who want to engage moms outside the U.S. need to know? Here are a few considerations.
1) Moms around the world share five core values.
Regardless of where you are, marketers can connect with moms by speaking to one of these: 1) Child enrichment, 2) Health and safety of her family 3) Value 4) Time management and 5) Simplying life. Brand messages should connect the benefits or features of your product to at least one of these core values in order to create relevance and value.
2) Twitter is an American marketing tool.
You won't find Twitter Parties in Austria, Spain, Belgium or Switzerland. There are very few moms who have adopted Twitter as part of their social media tools. Many moms outside the U.S., question the need for Twitter when most of their friends and followers can be found on Facebook.
3) Cultural differences contribute to the style of mom bloggers.
It was only recently that Mom bloggers in the United Kingdom decided to disclose their identity on their blogs. The "bulletin board" approach to life, as my husband calls it, is a trait that American moms seem to possess in greater quantity than mothers in France and German . Bloggers who are moms in the Netherlands focus their posts not on their role as a mother but on their life in general. Being a mom blogger seems to be trumped by the desire to be identified as a lifestyle blogger.
4) Product reviews are far and few between on mom blogs.
Even in countries with a proud population of mom bloggers, few moms review products. In fact, the state of the mom blogosphere in Italy reminds me of the U.S. mom blogosphere three to four years ago. There is a strong and active debate among Italian mom bloggers regarding whether or not it's right and ethical to review products. Marketers would have better luck sending product samples to traditional journalists who are mothers and female webmasters in the hopes of obtaining an online review.
5) Indoor play centers and festivals present an effective vehicle for sampling product.
Moms everywhere enjoy spending quality time with their children, and in Austria, Greece and Germany these occasions present a good opportunity for demonstrating products. Moms are open to interacting with brands related to their roles as mothers whether they are at the zoo or an indoor playground.
6) Limited Internet access has slowed growth of social media in some countries.
This is particularly true in Turkey, Greece, and southern Italy, where online mom magazines are more popular than blogs. For marketers, the most effective way to connect is through these magazine message boards and forums.
7) European moms were green before green was cool.
Long before it became trendy to take along your own shopping bags to the grocery store, moms in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France were eliminating plastic waste. Green-friendly products and services are a great way to connect with moms worldwide.
Moms present buying power around the globe, and, with the right tactics, marketers can establish a dialogue which drives brand awareness and ultimately sales.