How Brands Are Targeting Moms with Localized Campaigns

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Moms control the purse strings year-round, but their influence on the retail sector is especially strong during the fourth quarter, when back-to-school and holiday shopping give the industry a much-needed boost. In the United States, mothers control 85% of household purchases, with a $2.4 trillion spending power that brands can’t afford to ignore.

So why is this group so hard to pin down?

For one thing, moms aren’t a single, unified demographic. Age, geography, ethnicity, and even media habits shape spending patterns. With this in mind, savvy brand marketers have begun foregoing stereotypical “mom” campaigns in favor of more targeted strategies. Leveraging factors like location and social media usage, brands can craft the type of tightly-focused campaigns that drive sales from this influential demographic.

Here are five examples of hyperlocal strategies that brands are using to target moms right now.

1. Placing geofences around school parking lots
For brands looking to reach moms with school-aged kids, it makes sense to set up geofences around popular meeting spots like school parking lots and playgrounds. Marketers can refine these campaigns even further by sending ads exclusively during peak periods of the day, like during school pickup when parents are waiting for their kids to be released from class. For major retailers like Target and Walmart, this kind of targeting can be done seamlessly though the branded mobile apps that shoppers have already downloaded. Brands without mobile apps can rely on third-party vendors like Waze to connect with shoppers at the precise moments, and locations, when they’re most likely to be receptive.

2. Using Local Inventory Ads to bring consumers searching for products into nearby stores
Google has continued to beef up its Local Inventory Ad product, giving major retailers a way to bring online searchers into their physical stores. Since 2016, consumers who search for product availability at store locations using Google search and map listings find themselves on Google-powered landing pages that list the inventory marked as “available” in a brand’s Local Inventory product feed. For example, a mom who is searching a pharmacy’s website for baby shampoo will see the inventory at her local store, so she can pick the product up that day instead of ordering online and waiting a week for it to arrive. Macys, REI, and IKEA are just a few of the many major retailers utilizing this feature to bring online shoppers into their stores.

3. Integrating local weather data into marketing campaigns
Women drive 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing, and mothers in particular are responsible for the vast majority of children’s seasonal purchases, like back-to-school supplies, winter coats, and swimsuits. But not all moms make these purchases at the same time. Major brands like Burlington, for example, have run beacon-based promotions that provide 20%-off raincoats to consumers in certain physical locations. Rather than broadly pushing these promotions throughout the winter season, brands can use weather data to drive purchases on raincoats on rainy days, or purchases of sandals during periods of hot weather. Weather-triggered ads can be especially effective when targeting mothers, as this demographic is known for re-buying staple products in new sizes each year as children grow.

4. Tweaking social media campaigns to account for diversity
Hyperlocal campaign shouldn’t strictly be targeted based on location. They should also take advantage of diversity within the larger “mother” demographic. More than 90% of moms in the U.S. have social media accounts, and as many as 67% of millennial moms are considered “multicultural,” with half being Hispanic and the majority being bilingual. Utilizing platforms like Facebook and Instagram, marketers can tweak their campaigns to account for ethnicity, household size, income level, and media habits. Seemingly minor adjustments, like changing the text in an ad to reflect regional sayings or hometown sports teams, can go a long way in ingratiating a brand with consumers.

5. Creating personalized calls-to-action with dynamic location messaging
The deeper a brand goes in its customer targeting, the easier it becomes to send the types of highly-relevant messaging that’s likely to drive sales. Speaking broadly, mothers are more likely to spend money on holidays and birthdays than the public at large—in part because they handle the bulk of family spending—which is why the retail brand Hallmark has started pushing mobile messages to certain customers as a reminder when special occasions are coming up, like holidays or family birthdays. Location data can make these types of push notifications even more relevant, as brands are able to send reminders when shoppers are near their stores. Brands can also send coupons to shoppers when they’re near a competitor’s store location to prevent them from shopping elsewhere.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.



Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.