Sunday, April 15, 2007

Marketers Hunt Alpha Moms


Anyone who has ever watched a National Geographic or Animal Planet program knows the essential role that alpha males and females play in the daily lives of animals that run in packs and herds such as wolves, elephants, etc.

Marketers are learning that a similar situation exists in the consumer marketplace where so-called Alpha Moms are having a tremendous impact within their substantial sphere of influence. Companies including Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nintendo are among those seeking to connect with Alpha Moms in a real and revenue enhancing way.

Alpha Moms, a term coined by Constance Van Flandern, a graphic designer from Eugene, Ore., are Type A, educated, kid centric, wired to the internet (87 minutes a day on average), and willing to spend money on products and services that meet their high standards.

Michael Silverstein, at Boston Consulting Group, told USA Today, "She (the Alpha Mom) ignites markets. She's a hyperactive purchasing agent."

Purchasing is something Alpha Moms do well and do often. According to comScore Networks, consumers fitting this description spend an average of seven percent more than the typical person who goes online. They also, because they are so connected, can praise or damn a product to an audience made up of thousands.

Nintendo was among the first consumer marketers to actively seek out Alpha Moms.

When the video gaming company was testing its Wii console before its national rollout, Nintendo brought together Alpha Moms in eight cities to try out the system. Linda Perry of Venice Beach, Cal, who has two kids and leads a Yahoo parenting group that reaches 7,000 tech-savvy moms, was among the participants.

"I'm constantly using the computer to find information," said Ms. Perry. "If I get an amazing facial, the whole world knows about it."

The whole world, or at the very least her Yahoo parenting group, quickly learned about her experience during the Wii test event. She loved it and in the end 200 women in her e-mail group bought the console based on her recommendation.

"Alpha Moms are one of our key targets, because they have this high social-networking factor," said Perrin Kaplan, vice president of marketing for Nintendo.

Kimberly-Clark is among the companies seeking favor with Alpha Moms. It intentionally created its online Huggies Baby Network to downplay product promotions on disposable diapers and wipes to focus on information such as health tips that these consumers would find useful in their daily lives.

Unilever is also moving in a similar direction. Next month, the company's Suave brand in partnership with Sprint will launch a website, "In the Motherhood," that will air mom-focused videos. Moms visiting the site will suggest ideas for future videos to be produced.

"This is where moms are and where we need to be playing," said Sarah Jensen, director of marketing for hair care at Unilever U.S. "The minute you start doing things online, the word spreads."

P&G is also looking to have Alpha Moms spread the word about its products. The company recently gave Swiffer WetJets to mothers who visited P&G asked the moms receiving the product to review it on the website. "You get positive and negative responses," said Paul O'Connor, brand manager of Swiffer. "But if you get 98 percent positive and two percent negative, it's a win."

(Source: Retail Wire, 4/10/07)

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Study Takes Heartbeat of Boomer Generation


Boomers are, well, booming. As the largest population segment in the United States -- more than 78 million strong -- this diverse and powerful group is leaving an indelible mark on our nation. Boomers (individuals born between 1946-1964) are challenging traditional norms and redefining the role of aging Americans.

BoomerEyes, a leading Boomer research and demographic intelligence authority, has partnered with industry leader JWT BOOM to track the lifestyles, attitudes and values of this influential segment with the annual Boomer Heartbeat research monitor. The in-depth study explores Boomers' views and perceptions on life, family, work, finances, health and wellness and technology.

"The breadth and depth of Boomers' diversity creates a fascinating mosaic of their distinct lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors," says Anne Wall, senior vice president, C&R Research. "Boomers are unlike any generation before them, which is why it is critical to understand the factors and influences that shape their values and views."

The online survey provides insights on what it means to be a Boomer today. Here's a look inside the Boomer psyche:

The Empty Home Front

• Empty Nesters ... Boomers are transitioning from child-rearing to empty nesting. Nearly four in 10 Boomers who have kids are now Empty Nesters.

• It's a whole new world ... Of the Empty Nester Boomers, more than one-third are new to empty nesting within the last two years.

• Cash back ... In addition to the time to do what they want and when, Empty Nesters also report financial freedom. On average, they say they have $315 more per month to spend.

• Deja vu?...Two in 10 Boomers with children have boomerang kids -- adult children who returned to the nest -- who stayed for at least one year.

That's Life

• Age is relative ... Seventy percent of Boomers are comfortable with their age. Forty-one percent of Boomers say these are the best years of their lives while 32 percent believe that the best years are yet to come.

• Daydreamer ... When it comes to dreams, financial freedom and success (23 percent), time with family (21 percent) and travel (18 percent) are what Boomers daydream about most.

• Worrywart ... Financial concerns (47 percent) top the list of worries, along with family and health/diet (20 percent each).

• Where does the time go?...Work (50 percent) and family (48 percent) is where Boomers devote most of their time with a little carved out for hobbies (40 percent), friends (22 percent) and travel (17 percent).


Here's a look at technology usage according to Boomers who completed the Heartbeat survey online:

• Boomers online ... According to the Pew Foundation, home Internet usage is high across most age groups: 18-29 year olds (88 percent), 30-49 year olds (84 percent), 50-64 year olds (71 percent), 65 years old and over (32 percent).

• Help desk ... Boomers are technology influencers, with one in three being sought out by family and friends on how to use new technology.

• Tech's tools ... Of the Boomers who completed the online survey, 96 percent use computers at home as well as at work (47 percent). Ninety-two percent use desktop computers, 42 percent use laptops and one-third have wireless connections.

• On ramp ... Three-quarters of online Boomers have high-speed Internet access at home.

• Surf city ... Besides emailing and gathering information which are nearly universal, online Boomers use the Internet most often to surf the web (72 percent); shop (69 percent); research health, medical and nutritional information (69 percent); word process (63 percent); bank/manage personal finances (61 percent); research/book travel (60 percent); play games (53 percent) and download/print pictures from a digital camera (46 percent).

• Shop 'till you drop ... Boomers who took the online survey say they most often shop online for travel (58 percent), books (57 percent), clothes (57 percent) and electronics (50 percent).

• Safety first ... Sixty percent of Boomers who took the online survey are concerned about the safety of their personal information online.

• It takes an online village ... Thirty-two percent of online Boomers have visited online communities. However, a mere nine percent have blogged.

• Stay connected ... Fifty-nine percent of the online Boomer respondents use non-video cell phones versus only 16 percent who use cell phones with video capabilities.

• Picture perfect ... About two in 10 Boomers have HD or wide screen TVs. Of those who don't, nearly 20 percent plan to purchase the technology in the next six months.

Off To Work Boomers Go

• Working nine to five ... Work is a major focal point, with Boomers who work full-time working an average of 44 hours per week.

• Retirement dreams ... About one in 10 (13 percent) Boomers are currently retired, versus four times as many (55 percent) Matures (individuals born between 1935-1945).

• Pink slip ... In today's job market, Boomers (28 percent) are more likely than Matures (13 percent) to experience job loss.

• Changes ... Thirty percent of Boomers have changed jobs in the past five years and another 18 percent have changed careers. All this change on the work front has left 43 percent of Boomers facing a major change in their financial situation.

• Love of the job ... Work offers more than financial benefits -- it stimulates the mind and provides a social atmosphere. More than half of Boomers say working keeps them active and engaged. Just 33 percent say they work only to pay the bills and put food on the table.

• Coasting ... Fifty-three percent of Boomers see themselves working in the same role until they retire while another 21 percent plan on coasting until retirement day.

• School daze ... One in three Boomers would consider going back to school full- or part-time.


• Too much, too little ... Many Boomers feel they have too much debt, too little savings and inadequate incomes. A large majority of Boomers say their household debt is average or above (62 percent) while 57 percent admit their savings for retirement are below average.

• Salary woes ... When it comes to compensation, Boomers are pessimistic about their annual incomes with 37 percent perceiving their incomes to be below average.

• Total assets ... Forty-two percent of Boomers report invested assets of less than $100,000 with 26 percent reporting none.


• In sickness and in health ... Seventeen percent of Boomers have experienced a major or life-threatening illness.

• Caregivers ... As Americans live longer, 11 percent of Boomers have become a caregiver for an elderly parent or relative.

• Sweat it out ... The majority of Boomers (65 percent) say they are exercising at least once a week.

• Fountain of youth ... Boomers say they feel some (46 percent) or a lot of (22 percent) control over the aging process versus 47 percent and 26 percent respectively for Matures.

• You are what you eat ... Boomers have adopted healthy eating habits including reading nutrition labels (50 percent), eating smaller meals (43 percent), changing their diet to maintain their weight and stay healthy (41 percent), eating low-fat foods (37 percent), and monitoring their carb intake (29 percent).

(Source:, 3/27/07)

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