Marketers have been encouraged to take a fresh look at how they engage with mothers.

April Redmond, chief marketing officer at Kerry Foods, believed she knew a lot about how to market to mums earlier in her career.

However, she stated that when she had a baby herself, she quickly became aware of how little she actually understood this market.

“I realised I knew nothing,” she observed.

Ms Redmond acknowledged that price and quality are important areas to talk about in any promotional drive, which means marketers are right to focus on these themes when they are trying to target mothers.

However, she said there are plenty of other factors that also come into play when mums are making purchasing decisions, which are being overlooked.

As a result, she believes marketers must make more of an effort to understand mothers as “well-rounded people”, rather than stick to the very narrow and specific perception they have in their minds.

The apparent disconnect between marketing professionals and mums could be partly down to the fact that females account for a very small proportion of creative directors.

Roisin Donnelly, brand director for Procter & Gamble in northern Europe, commented: “There aren’t enough female creatives and there aren’t enough creatives that are mums. If we changed this, we would do a better job.”

Rachelle Headland, managing director of shopper-marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi X, was also insistent that marketers need to stop seeing mums as a single homogenous group.

Instead, she said they need to realise that mums are actually a complex and varied group of women.

Ms Headland stated that when the industry actually starts understanding “the woman behind the mum” and thinking of “the person rather than the role”, it will easier to find credible ways of engaging with these people.

Graeme Pitkethly, executive chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland, added that if companies want to target mothers effectively, it is worth taking a look at how they run their businesses.

“This is about more than just marketing,” he stated. “People are buying into our company, not just our brands. We have market-leading maternity and paternity policies and being family friendly is crucial.”

According to a study carried out for Marketing by FanFinders, more than one in three mothers feel as if they are being pigeonholed by brands. Meanwhile, 28 per cent of those polled said they believe lots of the marketing content aimed at mums is sexist, while 32 per cent think most of it is patronising.

Marketing to mums is broken, Marketing

Posted by Robin McCrink