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How Starbucks, Target are getting millennial mom marketing right

Millennial moms are a lucrative demographic for mobile marketers, but brands need to shift from pushing aggressive coupons and offers to using more content-heavy strategies to win over this group.

Although millennial moms lend themselves well to mobile with time-sensitive and exclusive content, the demographic also presents a number of unique challenges. There is also a growing shift from marketers targeting millennial moms to leverage CRM and data in hopes of tracking a consumer through the entire lifestyle instead of using mobile for one-off promotions.

?Knowing that mobile solutions can help moms with their life and sanity, marketers needs to identify what moms want and need, create an experience that solves for these wants and needs,? said Molly Garris, digital strategy director at Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide, Chicago. ?Only then will they be able to offer something useful.?

Multi-pronged strategies
With more moms relying on their smartphones and tablets to organize their day, big brands are making an effort to heavily play up mobile to reach these consumers who are responsible for the majority of household purchases.

According to BSM Media, moms spent $2.25 trillion in 2013.

At the same time, deals and offers should not be the end goal for marketers since moms are equally as influenced by value as they are by a good price.

Take Bed, Bath and Beyond?s SMS program, for example.

The big box retailer continuously pushes out deals and offers to its SMS list, but is missing out on a bigger opportunity to integrate pieces of content, such as an invite to an in-store event or a link to a recipe, into marketing. 

Deals are only one piece of a four-part strategy that marketers should use to target millennials, per Ms. Garris. The other three components are connecting to family and friends, saving time and entertainment.

Any campaign that targets millennial moms needs to include two or more of these components.

Ms. Garris argues that both Starbucks and Target are nailing the mobile experience to specifically target millennial moms.

For example, Starbucks? mobile payment app integrates rewards, quick access to payment features and entertainment elements, such as app downloads and free song downloads.

Starbucks has long been a leader in mobile marketing, and recently reported that 14 percent of its United States revenue comes from mobile. As adoption grows, the brand's mobile focus these days is on testing new features such as order-ahead and streamlining the payment process (see story).

Target?s Cartwheel mobile coupon app includes deals in addition to time-saving features that bundle all of the retailer?s coupons into one place.

Cartwheel also includes a strong Facebook component, helping moms find and share deals. The app has gone through more than 70 updates since launching last May, with the most recent version including push notifications (see story).

Higher adoption rates
According to data from comScore, 65 percent of consumers in the United States own a smartphone. However, that percentage jumps to 83 percent when looking specifically at moms between the ages of 22-44 years old.

Certain pockets of moms, such as multicultural or new parents are even more receptive to mobile marketing than other demographics (see story).

At the same time, targeting is trickier with millennial moms than other demographics.

Additionally, the experiences need to be split up to cater to specific moments during the day.

For instance, big CPG and grocery brands including Procter & Gamble and Mondel?z International have been quick to leverage mobile in-store when moms are glued to their devices. 

However, moms are juggling multiple other things while shopping, meaning that regardless of how personalized or targeted a message is, it may not be influential to a shopper.

According to Howard Hunt, executive director of client service at MXM MobileNew York, messaging apps are a big opportunity for millennial mom marketers since these women are constantly trying to stay in touch with multiple people at the same time.

Recent research from MXM Mobile found that 18 percent of millennial users solely accessed the Internet through mobile in November 2013, reflective of the shift from desktop to mobile campaigns from brands.

Again, the focus on Web experiences needs to be on content versus commerce in these efforts.

This includes blogs, online reviews and recipes and online discussion boards.

?The most important tactic is to start with a strategic view of the consumer journey,? Mr. Hunt said.

?Considering that she?s probably looking for information, tools or entertainment, then apply that 'content lens' to the multitude of screens she now has access to,? he said. ?Overall, it must be seamless for her ? she's too busy to waste time pinching, scrolling or waiting for load times.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York