From cyber bullying to school shootings, the issues that today’s mom must tackle are more complex than ever before. At the 2018 Path to Purchase Expo, Katherine Wintsch, CEO & Founder of The Mom Complex, a market research group focused on helping brands understand moms, gave a keynote titled “Pain Points Millennial Moms Want Brands to Solve.” The keynote explored the defining challenges of today’s mom, but also the opportunities each presents to brands.
According to Wintsch, three out of four millennial moms says companies have no idea what it’s like to be a mother….a startling reality and great obstacle for brands to overcome. This is because moms lie in focus groups. That’s right.. they lie. In surveys, millennial moms appear flippant about their handling of motherhood, when the truth is that they’re fearful and flawed. They want to give the illusion that they have everything under control, because that’s how the media portrays moms and how moms of earlier eras were conditioned to appear. They want to pretend that little Jimmy gets to school on time every day, eats vegetables with his dinner and completes his homework without a hitch. In reality though, mom is crumbling to hold her household together and depends on the cooperative support of her husband or others to handle it all.
To confront this challenge of truth vs. lies, the Mom Complex decided is was time to stop doing surface-layer focus groups and start taking a different approach to understanding the millennial. Their revamped approach involved conducting “opinion parties” in place of focus groups and launching a Passion & Pain mobile application. Unlike focus groups, opinion parties select a mom to host a party where she invites four to five of her friends over to conduct activities that lend themselves to more honest and direct dialogue that the host mom can transfer back to the business. The Mom Complex’s goal was to create immersive experiences that would provide a safe zone for moms to share and solve problems.
In utilizing the opinion parties and Passion & Pain app, The Mom Complex discovered that the pain of motherhood often outweighs the passion. What that means is that a mom’s worries and struggles occur at a greater constant than the moments of joy that make it all worthwhile. When translated into the shopper marketing context, this means that moms are more motivated to buy products that solve problems than those that deliver satisfaction. Brands need to solve moms’ pain before they appeal to their passion.
Perhaps one of the biggest discoveries The Mom Complex’s innovative research activities revealed is that all moms have one thing in common: self-seated doubt. “Motherhood is like swimming and learning how to swim at the same time,” said Wintsch.
Doubt holds many moms back, but Wintsch advises moms to not allow the pain points of motherhood to exhaust their soul by embracing the imperfectness of motherhood, laughing at their mistakes and rewarding themselves for simply doing their best. And the good news is that millennial moms, unlike any other moms in history, are actually beginning to do so. Introducing: Mom 3.0!
While Mom 1.0 was orientated around the portrayal of “I’m a mom and I’m perfect,” and Mom 2.0 was all about the “I’m a mom with a career” persona , Mom 3.0 is kicking the perfect mom paradox to the curb. As Wintsch explained, the perfect mom paradox is created by the overly ambitious expectations mom set for themselves at each new stage of motherhood, from newborn to infancy to toddler to teen. They set it in their heads that their going to conquer every demand that comes with each new growth phase and plague themselves with guilt if they don’t get every aspects right. Mom 3.0; however, is brave enough to declare, “I’m a mom and I’m human.” But that’s not the only way in which Mom 3.0 differs. 73% of millennial moms are in the workforce, but spend twice as much time with their kids than moms in the 1960s.
The deconstruction of the perfect mom paradox is one way critical in which millennial moms differ, but Wintsch took us through three additional differentiators brand should understand and play to:
Fulfilling New Job Descriptions
The world we live in has become more controversial and complex digitally, socially and politically, assigning moms with more roles to fill, and each of growing importance. Today, moms are no longer just moms…they’re short order cooks for a family of increasingly diverse dietary needs, they’re social media stalkers in a dangerous cyber world, they’re political activists, screen time supervisors. Mom is literally redefining what it means to wear multiple hats.
Willing to Admit Their Flaws
The millennial mom is willing to admit they’re not perfect. This was evidenced by a study The Mom Complex conducted of five thousand millennial moms, asking them to rank their mom performance on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. Most mom’s ranked themselves a three and a half – a rating moms of prior generations would’ve never admitted. The crazy thing is, millennial moms aren’t striving to be a perfect “five.” Why? Well, to put it simply, because they hate that BXXCH. Yes, they hate women who appear to be perfect at all times. They value authenticity. They want to be friends with the mom that isn’t afraid to say “I tried and failed.” They want feel that it’s OK to share your failure because motherhood doesn’t come with a playbook.
Parenting Like a Team Sport
It’s no longer mom taking on the full brunt of the parental duties. Dad’s are becoming more involved and are increasingly staying at home with the kids. They aren’t just staying at home though, they’re meal planning, writing blogs and getting involved in parent groups. This is why it is important that brands don’t just talk to moms, but talk to the entire parental unit. Don’t get it twisted though, mom is still the boss! Wintsch quoted a dad that perfectly captures the new parental dynamic, “I feel like an au pair that my wife is always on the verge of firing.”
Wintsch offered an abundance of insights, but at the heart of it all was a need for brands to stop playing to the perfect mom facade and start delivering shopper marketing solutions that resonate with the raw realities of modern moms. Offer a solution to a common source of insecurity, whether that be figuring our what’s for dinner or whether your newborn is getting enough nutrition, and you can help moms not only feel more confident, but more connected to your brand.