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Michelle ManningDirector of Brand MarketingElmer’s Products
As director of brand marketing for Elmer’s Products, Michelle Manning oversees a brand that has been helping moms for more than 65 years. Nevertheless, the brand continually works to understand the emerging needs of its customers and develop modern resources like smartphone apps and video content. Manning spoke with eMarketer about how Elmer’s helps keep the “new American mom” from coming unglued.
eMarketer: How does Elmer’s target particular segments of moms so you can speak to them appropriately?
Manning: We went through a pretty thorough segmenting program looking at our consumer profiles, and we developed consumer profiles that we called “the new American mom” profiles.
We look at some generational, economic and social influences, and we also think about their psychographic perspectives, including their mindsets in terms of crafting, back to school and kids’ activities. Are they traditional? Are they comfortable crafting and helping with creative projects? How are they choosing to invest the time that they’re sharing with their children?
Once we started segmenting moms out and looking at all of those different demographics and psychographics, there are some ways that they interact with media differently and some things that are universal among them.
Mom is pretty consistently the family chronicler, so she is the one taking the photos and making scrapbooks, whether they are digital, elaborate paper crafts, or even turned into décor in the home. That’s one of the things that led us to a campaign that we did here called First Day. We created an app that actually captures that very special photo on the first day of school for every year and shares it with family and friends. The use of smartphones and taking photos with their phones was one of the common denominators across all of the mom demographics.
eMarketer: Given the importance of smartphones for young moms as their lifelines to the outside world, how are they feeling about getting marketing messages through those devices?
Manning: In our database of marketing activities, we carefully track what they’re opening on their devices—what’s appealing to them—so we can customize that message. They’re looking for specific products, information, coupons, any information from peers, and information they’re finding on social media or that they’re hearing from other people their age. They’re also looking to the brand first because it’s the reliable source, but also to their peers. That is why pages and groups on Facebook, as well as online communities, are so important.
eMarketer: Mom is strapped for time, so she may spend a little bit more for convenience. How has the way moms view that tradeoff changed since the recession?
Manning: Top of mind for moms is they want their children to be happy and successful, but they are under an intense time pressure to do more. Making time to bond over arts and crafts activities and school projects is very important to them. They want to have fun. They want to help their children to be successful.
At Elmer’s, our goal is really to help mom accomplish this by offering simple projects and inspiration. We do that through our website, our communities and our social media channels. We’re trying to give guidance on helping with school projects.
Through our Glue Guide app, moms find the best adhesive solution, which is targeted to science fairs and school projects. Our online videos help guide moms through school projects that can be really overwhelming and intimidating. That video content, which is really well received by moms, also helps children understand how to navigate that school project assignment more successfully.
eMarketer: With the tough economy, have other consumer behaviors changed? Is mom clipping more coupons? Is she doing other things?
Manning: It’s not so much about coupons and discounts, although that’s very important, but instead about what the total value equation is. Hammerson, the UK market research firm, coined the term “considered consumption.” What’s the value of the product in my life, my family and my child?
A longer version of this interview is available to eMarketer corporate subscribers only. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a corporate subscriber, click here.
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