Saturday, December 11, 2010

Are you Smart Enough for Mom?

Two weeks from today. Christmas.

Studies show women have an influence in 85% of all consumer spending in the U.S.A.

I wonder how many Mom's have a smart phone.

I wonder how many will have one in two weeks.

I wonder if you will be ready to reach out to them via those phones:

Smartphones, Smart Moms
At the grocery store, Mom accesses her shopper loyalty account and loads her coupons directly on her smartphone. After buying her groceries, she checks the calendar on her phone and decides she has time to pick up a last-minute holiday gift. She locates a big-box retailer and navigates there using the smartphone's GPS.

Before making her purchase, she checks competitors' prices to ensure that she's getting the best value. On her way back to the car, she receives a text message from her favorite boutique letting her know that they're having an exclusive sale and decides that moms deserve to treat themselves every now and then. She quickly spreads word on Facebook so all of her friends can treat themselves, too.

Is Mom getting your message on her smartphone?

These practical, real-world applications represent the tip of the iceberg for smartphone holiday shopping potential. People are increasingly turning to mobile solutions during holiday shopping, and mothers, a key demographic, are rarely targeted specifically.

Far from a fad, savvy smartphone shopping is a growing trend. More and more, moms are augmenting their shopping experience -- a recent Millennial Media report indicated that in 2010 32% of moms own a smartphone versus 20% in 2009. Likewise, 32% of moms reported using their mobile Internet at least once a week in 2010 versus 20% in 2009. Both instances show an increase of 60% in usage by moms, and these numbers will continue to climb this holiday season and into 2011.

Moms are often the household's key decision maker. Once slow to adopt new technologies, they have been quick to embrace smartphones. During the holiday season, mothers are increasingly utilizing their mobile devices -- locating stores, researching products, comparing prices, seeking out special offers and coupons, checking product availability, streaming multi-media, playing games or simply killing time in line checking Facebook and Twitter. Every one of these activities represents a chance for brands to reach out and grab the attention of these influencers.

It's not too late

Even if your brand hasn't made targeting moms a part of your long-term strategy, there are some simple guidelines you can follow that will help you begin engaging with moms faster than you can say "Kris Kringle":

  • The more, the merrier: Effective holiday shopping applications, mobile websites and mobile ad campaigns need to be accessible by a variety of smartphone platforms -- iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc., to reach the largest audience.
  • Not too flashy: It's important that all landing pages or microsites are designed to be mobile-phone friendly. Too often, existing websites are difficult to browse via phone and any Flash elements will not work.
  • What's the deal?: The best mobile initiatives clearly state their offer: savings, convenience, and special deals.
  • It's good to share: Mobile apps should make social sharing easy. Something as simple as a mom sharing a link on Facebook can increase your exposure exponentially.
  • Keep it simple: Effective applications should make a mom's life easier. To this end, user experience should be clean with an emphasis on simplicity and convenience. The holidays are stressful enough. Any tool moms can use to reduce this stress will create buzz and be widely shared.

Even as little as a decade ago, it would have been difficult to anticipate today's smartphone culture. Phones carry people's lives inside them. Beyond contact lists and a means to reach out to family and friends, smartphones provide consumers with an ever-present window into the digital world. For busy, multi-tasking moms, the smartphone functions as a primary tool for keeping her life in order. Companies that can help her will be embraced; all others will be marked as spam.

With more than seven years of experience developing and implementing cutting-edge digital strategies, Sarah Van Heirseele is Digital Director at Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide.

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