Mumsnet asks: Are we selling mums short?


At this week’s Mumstock conference, Mumsnet and Saatchi & Saatchi unveiled new research that could help brands to really connect with this crucial audience – mums. Louise Morris, Client Director at Carat, reports back on this intriguing event.

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Mumsnet posed the question at this conference as to whether brands are actually faking the way that we market to mums; are we in fact making simplistic assumptions and generic insights all of which sell mums short? Are we treating mums as the sum of their behavioural data not as human beings and not making the meaningful connections that mums are open to receiving – when we get it right?

Our own CCS research tells us that only 18% of all mums would make a decision on relevance after watching a TV ad and only 15% of all mums will remember the brand name, which shows there is room for improvement.

Mumsnet, in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi, joined forces to launch a new piece of research that they believe helps brands to really connect with mums. By moving away from traditional methods of brand led segmentation, facilitated groups and one way mirrors, this research gave mum the opportunity to articulate and explain the characteristics of their experience of motherhood in their own way.

66 individual segments were identified that mums identified with – for example, mums who have start-up businesses, mums who live in rural areas, mums who are fostering etc.

They followed this up quantitative research with Ipsos Connect, revealing which identities matter most to British mums. It is this measure of intensity that gives us a real sense of the issues that mums most care about today.

Why is this important? Because these are issues that mums claim are routinely ignored in marketing and advertising.

Ipsos explored six identities further to understand how these identities shape mums’ needs and choices, especially their purchase decisions.

They found:

  • One-child families are forced to waste money
  • Families of children with special needs rely on package holidays
  • Brand experiences can alienate instead of attract audiences
  • For rural mums, errands are excursions
  • Lone parents are more motivated employees
  • Teens require mums to try out new things
  • Lone parents rely much more on the wisdom of the crowd

Many brands are challenged to make meaningful connections with the complex lives and identities of modern mums.

This could be regarded as an overly niche way of segmenting audiences, however it is worth remembering that niches have a habit of becoming mainstream very quickly. Also there is only going to be one reaction to a brand that seeks to celebrate lone mums and the role they play in their family’s life and that’s going to be positive.

This piece of research goes some way towards unlocking the things mums really care about. By unearthing and serving these identities we are able to forge better and more rewarding connections with our advertising.

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