In this last post in my Mommy Blogger series I present two articles: the first from Biz Report: a news & insight for online marketers website. It takes a look at recent research from Nielsen on the power of mommy bloggers. I continue to belienve that retailers who understand these moms and engage them for everything from public relations to innovation will have an advantage in the evolving market.
Nielsen: Mommy blogger power grows
Recent research from Nielsen Online found that mommy bloggers are an online force to be reckoned with as their number, and power, continues to rise.
According to Nielsen, the number of “Power Moms” on the Internet is rising. Identified as women aged between 25 and 54 with at least one child and who regularly participate in online activities, this segment now accounts for almost 20% of the active online population.
While Power Moms all share a desire to seek out and share money-saving strategies, and have concerns about the economy, they can be broken down further into “Newbie” and “Established” moms, found Nielsen. Between these two groups there is much difference in how they spend their time online.
Newbie Moms, recent mothers between the ages of 25 and 34 with one or more children at home, are more likely to be users of social media such as blogs and social networking.
“For Newbie Moms, social networking is literally woven into their day-to-day existence, said Jessica Hogue, research director, Nielsen Online. “Newbie Moms use the internet to gather information about everything from nursery décor to choosing the right pediatrician. As they navigate caring for a newborn, returning to work or managing a growing household, the internet acts as a lifeline to answer worrisome middle-of-the-night questions and to build community.”
Established Moms, aged 40 to 50 with three or more children at home, are heavy online shoppers, found Nielsen. In fact, Established Moms are 92% more likely than the average user to visit shopping destination Shopzilla.com, that being their most popular shopping website.
“Established Moms gravitate to online shopping destinations where they are likely to be receptive to highly relevant promotions to allow her to indulge herself while saving on her family’s needs,” said Hogue. “However, marketers shouldn’t rule out the rising prominence of social networking sites among this cohort, which is one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook.
The second is an article from the Kansas City Star that takes a look at the phenomenon and its impact on retailers.
Stores, brands tap into power of frugal bloggers
When Melissa Garcia was frustrated by Old Navy’s scanty coupon offerings, she didn’t just complain to the store. She vented on a message board tied to her blog consumerqueen.com, which is read by at least 30,000 people each month and now, increasingly, by corporate America.
Within weeks, chatter in the so-called mommy blogosphere led Gap Inc.’s Old Navy to begin issuing coupons several times a week, instead of just once a week.
Moms have always had marketplace muscle, but a new frugality driven by rising joblessness, housing woes and other economic problems has them exercising it like never before with the help of the Internet.
In this recession, their talk online encompasses everything from complaints to advice on coupon clipping, low-budget meals and family finance. But it’s not just fellow moms who are following every post: Retailers and consumer product makers are listening, too – and responding.
“We see (moms who blog) as a vital force for our brand strategy,” said Gap spokeswoman Louise Callagy. “They are the voice of our customers, and we are working harder to develop and maintain their trust and respond to their feedback.”
After picking up chatter on blogs that was advocating layaway purchase plans be restored at its namesake department stores, Sears Holdings Corp. brought them back over the holidays after a two-decade hiatus. And Sears’ Kmart chain now accepts online coupons and has launched a Web site called Kmart.com /coupons that makes it easier to find specific deals, in response to chatter on mother-oriented blogs.
Companies and the bloggers themselves are mutually benefiting. Consumer product companies like home appliance maker Frigidaire and Unilever, maker of Suave shampoo, are hoping to enhance their brands by giving free samples of their merchandise to key women bloggers to test and chat about on their sites, though many bloggers say it’s essential to disclose such freebies to maintain credibility with readers.
Nevertheless, bloggers who focus on penny pinching are helping broaden spending behavior like doubling up on online coupons because of their large collective audience.
The books, magazines, bulletins, newsletters and neighbors mothers relied on for similar advice during the last deep recession, in the early 1990s, and before didn’t bring so many people so much information nearly as fast. Money-saving strategies can spread like lightning.
More than 12 percent of all posts on mom-oriented blogs during March and April included mentions of the economy and saving money, up from 8 percent a year earlier, according to Nielsen Online, which has studied 10,000 parenting blogs.
Meanwhile, traffic to blogs written by mothers and devoted to saving money has exploded. Couponmom.com – cited by Nielsen Online as one of the five most influential of that breed – attracted 972,0000 unique visitors in March, five times more than a year earlier, according to Internet research company comScore Media Metrix’s latest data. Nielsen ranks mother-oriented blogs by how much chatter they garner, their number of followers on Twitter.com and the number of times consumers link to them from other blogs among other criteria.
“Moms are turning to their new set of online friends and families to make all kinds of purchasing decisions,” said Kelley Murray Skoloda, a partner at Ketchum’s Global Brand Marketing practice and the author of “Too Busy to Shop.” “Women are trusting of women bloggers. They do them a real service without commercial interest.”
That’s why last summer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. created an online community –elevenmoms.com – on its company Web site that spotlights key women bloggers and pulls together the links to their blogs, including those that focus on frugality like dealseekingmom.com, couponcravings.com, beingfrugal.com and consumerqueen.com.
Read the entire story.