Pay Attention, Marketers: The New Demography of Motherhood

Boy, is your marketing going to have to change.

A just-released study from the Pew Research Center indicates that the demographics of motherhood are changing in important ways – ways that should influence how you will advertise and market to this segment of customers.

  • Between 1990 and 2008, the percentage of mothers younger than 20 dropped from 13% to 10%
  • In the same time period, mothers older than 35 grew from 9% to 14%
  • The Hispanic mother segment grew from 14% to 24%
  • The Asian mother segment grew from 3% to 6%
  • The percentage of married mothers dropped 13% – from a high of 72% in 1990, to only 59% in 2008

And (politics aside), population trends show that it’s likely that by 2050, 82% of the nation’s population growth will be accounted for by immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after 2005 (along with their descendents).

You’re going to have to start looking at the life stage these older mothers are in when having babies, which is much different than when they’re in their early 20’s.  Time horizons change, and you’re going to have to do a strong job of persuading her that you are a long-term brand she’ll love.

You’re going to have to learn about cultures different from your own (especially if you’re Caucasian) and create new ways and new messages that make you relevant in the customer’s life.  It won’t be enough (hey, it isn’t enough NOW) to simply translate your message into Spanish.  You will have to read and learn about Hispanic culture (just to name one), think about the values of that culture and how it views the concept of “family.”  Believe me: it’s going to require a whole new set of messages.

More and more, you’re going to have to fit into her life, not shout at her that she has to fit into yours.

Now is the time to start thinking about how your “marketing to moms” strategy is going to have to change. If you do, and if you keep working at it, you’ll definitely be able to navigate an unavoidable curve in the road ahead.


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11 Responses to “Pay Attention, Marketers: The New Demography of Motherhood”

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  1. Luisa F. Toledo says:

    It will also be very important to take into account that these mothers (myself included) have already had at least 10 years worth of job experience, many of them with very successful careers. This allows you to have an entirely different perspective on your choices. Mothers who have chosen to have children in the midst of rising in their respective fields, or who have chosen to leave work entirely to raise a family, feel much more empowered in their lives. We are as interested in what our kids have for breakfast as in what´s happening with the European financial markets after the Greek Tragedy. It´s not just food and cleaning house anymore, or just careers.

  2. Patti Minglin says:

    Great stats, Michele-especially the projected population growth that will be accounted for by immigrants. You are so right–brands will have to immerse themselves in culture, not just language translation, in order to build successful messaging that speaks to the real needs of their multicultural mom market.

  3. Michele, help! I just returned from a conference where the speaker told me that this new generation of moms was having more kids at a younger age. This flies in direct conflict with the stats you just provided. What am I missing?

  4. Luisa – thanks for the added insight. You’re so right to have thought about the job experience factor, which is SO important.

    Patti – thanks for commenting. Cultural issues will be the marketing challenge of the future… and we haven’t even begun to discuss 2nd generation immigrants, who live through a blend of their parents’ AND American culture.

    Phil – I’d like to know where that speaker gets their information. Did they cite a study, some kind of new research? I tend to trust Pew Research…

  5. The speaker was author/TV/Radio personality Maria Bailey.

    She gave us a profile of the new moms of today saying that in general… They have more kids at a younger age, are more techno-advanced, more into cause marketing, do lots of research before purchasing, embrace older brands, have global values, and are frugalistas.

    Their core values are Saving Time, Value, Family Health & Safety, Child Enrichment, and Balance & Simplicity.

    Their motivators are Nurturing, Sharing, Simplifying, Accomplishing, Raising Happy Healthy Adults.

    Would you agree? Would you change anything from your perspective?

  6. I don’t know Martha’s work, but I’m glad you went to a conference that featured this topic!

    While I generally agree with the values/motivator part, the rest of it depends on where she gets the statistic that women are having more kids at a younger age. I try very hard not to throw statistics like that around unless I have a couple of good, solid sources. She should cite her source within the presentation (it can only lend credibility).

    I’m also curious about these younger women being more into cause marketing and embracing older brands. Did she say how she discovered this? I’m always curious for excellent source material for my own study.

    Thanks for sharing, Phil!

  7. She was the keynote speaker at the All Baby & Child Spring Conference last week in Louisville, KY.

    http://www.mariabailey.com

    She has written a few books including “Mom 3.0: Marketing with Today’s Mothers by Leveraging New Media & Technologies” and “Trillion Dollar Moms”

    Not the most engaging presentation (especially for a radio/TV personality) but tons of information, mostly, I assume, from research for her books.

  8. Img says:

    It will also be very important to take into account that these mothers (myself included) have already had at least 10 years worth of job experience, many of them with very successful careers. This allows you to have an entirely different perspective on your choices. Mothers who have chosen to have children in the midst of rising in their respective fields, or who have chosen to leave work entirely to raise a family, feel much more empowered in their lives. We are as interested in what our kids have for breakfast as in what´s happening with the European financial markets after the Greek Tragedy. It´s not just food and cleaning house anymore, or just careers.
    +1

  9. Ellen Elwell says:

    As a sole owner/principal of mid-sized marketing/promotion agency for the past 20 years, I’ve seen Michele’s trends: a) when they were predicted, and b) match predictions. However, Mom’s first-birth buying preferences and habits are pretty similar across all demos above the poverty line. Also, DO consider that 50%+ moms are on WIC – and the number is growing. My opinion has long been that a branded product only has 50% of the new-baby market, a number diminished into second-births (60% of all births). So the REAL dilemma of the sharp marketer is reaching the demographic subsegments – Caucasian, Hispanic, Black, Asian, Indian and more. This is only possible by developing a Position Statement which appeals to one common interest – “Best for your baby” – and whether or not the messages must be segmented in various communications vehicles. Long-term clients from whom we’ve learned: Beech-nut, Little Remedies, Baby Orajel, A+D, Stonyfield Farm YoBaby, Ensure Healthy Mom, Clorox, Fisher-Price, Brainy Baby and more.

  10. This is very useful information. Brand Market Research is very important when there is a key demographic involved.

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  1. […] by Michelle Miller provides news & views on the female customer. Check out her post about The New Demography of Motherhood. The post discusses the change in age range for mothers and the impact cultural differences will […]



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