Finding oneself suddenly in charge of sustaining a new human life can be doubt-inducing. So, seeking answers to myriad questions, new mothers go online at almost twice the rate they did before giving birth, according to Mom Central Consulting. But when they do, the experience is often akin to having their own mother, Dr. Spock and Babies “R” Us all in the same room, spouting clashing advice and offering an abundance of products to manage each and every worry.
The problem is new moms are not only childrearing newbies, they’re anxious newbies at that. Even when they are on a budget, many new moms are willing to spend as much as they need to in order to make what they hope is the best possible purchase for their baby, according to a November 2011 survey by Kelton Research. And that’s particularly true with products that could affect a child’s safety, such as an infant seat or baby formula.
Sandra Gordon, a nationally known baby products expert and author of the report accompanying the Kelton survey, told eMarketer: “[New moms] are in uncharted territory and brand names [appeal to them as] the best for their baby,” even if the brand name is more expensive or more than the family can afford. Gordon added that 37% of survey respondents said they feel guilty if they cannot afford a specific product.
Futhermore, ads aimed at mothers of infants are often "anxiety-provoking," Gordon said. "New moms have no experience, and ads make them feel like the world knows more than they do. It makes them feel inadequate,” she explained.
Playing on that guilt is the wrong way for advertisers to appeal to new mothers; instead, Gordon advised, marketers should rely on expert-based efforts to reach this group online, whether those experts are medical professionals or just other moms.
Since mothers put a great deal of stock in testimonials from other moms, social networks oriented to mothers can be good places to advertise.
“Whatever message you have, try to make it based on science,” advised Gordon, who is also the co-author of Consumer Reports’ Best Baby Products (10th edition) and runs the website BabyProductsmom.com.
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