Tapping the Mother of All Markets

Last Updated May 2, 2011 7:19 PM EDT

Today's mothers play critical parenting roles years longer than their parents, according to a survey that found most Baby Boom mothers are financially supporting adult children. Nearly nine of 10 Baby Boom moms said that they, on the other hand, were completely out of the house and independent at 25.

But after you finish drying your eyes over the plight of modern moms, consider trying to sell them something. According to Girlpower Marketing, the 75 million American moms have some $2.1 trillion in annual spending power. The U.S. mom market equals Japan's entire economy. They make or influence 85 percent of all household purchase decisions. In addition, women:

  • Control more than 60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S.,
  • Start their own businesses at twice the rate of men,
  • Make 90 percent of healthcare decisions and 68 percent of new car purchase decisions.
Reaching these big-spending consumers requires a somewhat different touch than tapping, say, teens or middle-age males. Here's how:
  • Mom-specific media. Moms aren't as readily concentrated at mega-events such as the Super Bowl. But you can use channels that are specifically targeted at this market to hit them where they live. A good example is MotherProof.com, a website that provides new-car reviews especially for women with kids.
  • Use moms to reach moms. Moms tend to rely on pre-purchase research provided by peers more than other customers, so efforts at generating user reviews and referrals will pay off. This means social marketing through channels such as CafeMom.com, can be rich terrain for mom marketers.
  • Put them at ease. Women are more risk-averse, according to female marketing guru Marti Barletta. That means sellers seeking to tap the mom market should try to help buyers feel safe by, for instance, offering money-back warranties and trial periods.
If you haven't considered marketing to moms, the size of the market and diversity of products they purchase or influence suggests you should. If you are trying to reach moms and haven't been getting through, try fine-tuning your approach according to some of these suggestions. If you're still living at home, get a job and your own place. Even a mom's love has limits.

Mark Henricks' is a freelance journalist in Austin, Texas, whose articles on business, technology and other topics have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications. Learn more about him at The Article Authority. Follow him on Twitter @bizmyths.

Image courtesy of Flickr user astrogrl, CC2.0

  • Mark Henricks

    Mark Henricks' reporting on business and other topics has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Inc., Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications. He lives in Austin, Texas, where myth looms as large as it does anywhere.