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[13 comments]

Are Millennial moms not quite a chip off the old block?

February 12, 2014

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

Female members of the Millennial generation are acquiring a larger share of the "mom market," and as such, their wants and needs are quickly shifting.

According to the Millennial Mom Report, the latest installment of BabyCenter's 21st Century Mom Insights Series, the inherent tech savviness of the group not surprisingly stands out. While Gen Xers (born between the early 1960s and the 1980s) spend 1.2 hours a day on smartphones and 0.4 hours on tablets a day, Millennials spend 1.7 and 0.5 hours, respectively.

At least once a month, Millennial moms use their smartphones and/or tablets to:

  • Look up a recipe (76 percent)
  • Search or browse for parenting advice (76 percent)
  • Manage finances or pay pills (69 percent)
  • Make a purchase (64 percent)

Mobile has been especially valuable to this group of women as they strive to learn more about pregnancy and parenting, and seek out support from peers.

At the same time, compared to Gen X moms, Millennials overall think it's important that brands and retailers understand their wants and needs, and share similar values.

The product of "helicopter parenting," Millennial Moms, the study finds, are opting to parent their own children differently by adopting a more relaxed approach. When asked about their own upbringing, Millennial Moms are more likely than Gen X moms to say that their parents were protective (63 percent vs. 49 percent), worried (38 percent vs. 26 percent), and enabling (34 percent vs. 25 percent). By contrast, they describe their own parenting style as fun (88 percent vs. 82 percent of Gen X moms), forgiving (87 percent vs. 77 percent), relaxed (59 percent vs. 48 percent), and aspirational (49 percent vs. 39 percent).

"Millennial Moms are clearly reacting to the way they were raised," said Mike Fogarty, SVP and global publisher at BabyCenter, in a statement. "They're creating an environment for their kids that's more laid back and less structured, and they feel more relaxed and happy as parents. They reject the pressure they grew up with."

Discussion Questions:

Do you agree that Millennial moms are "reacting to the way they were raised" in adopting parenting tendencies? How may marketing messages and outreach approaches have to change to reach today's new moms?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Will the marketing messages required to reach Millennial moms be much different than Boomer moms?

Comments:

They're the reason kids run through stores unimpeded, why screaming is okay on a plane and why I see more kids screaming for attention — attention that isn't paid, according to this article, because the moms are more "relaxed", "fun" and "forgiving." What would the marketing messages be? "Let them eat cake — it's more fun."

There is a crisis in education due to what many would call lazy parenting. Where this will continue to affect retail is in the quality of workers as they get older.

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Bob Phibbs, President/CEO, The Retail Doctor

 
12

No. I am in the midst of watching one of my Millennial collection become a mom. Whoa - this Millennial is going to be a mom? I am seeing the Millennial with a mix of adopting the old and then seeking advice - online. They trust "well marketed" advice - even if it is not from a person or "source" that has kids.

They also seem to need more and more feedback on their performance. We will see marketers pick up on this element to be a trusted source of feedback (as they take more mindshare). They "see" the parenting challenge as a group effort - for the parents and their Facebook "family."

Babies of Millennial? A new, well-known brand wearing, web-influenced being.

Tom...yes - so old I will be called grandpa....

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Tom Redd, Vice President, Strategic Communications, SAP Global Retail Business Unit

The study asks moms to rate themselves, rather than following them as they parent. I'll bet that there's a lot more protectiveness and worry than they let on. That said, each generation learns from the one before and makes adjustments to the style of how they live their lives.

Today's moms are far more tech savvy and more engaged in social media. They gather information on products and retailers differently than their parents. Reaching Millennial moms is different than reaching Boomer moms and retailers and brands need to adapt or perish. Millennials are wary of advertising, preferring to gather information through research and social media. Millennials are tethered to their devices in a way that Boomers and Xers are not.

In the long run, all moms want what they perceive as best for their children. Retailers and brands can tap into the mom market by understanding what drives moms' decisions.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

Every generation reacts to the way they were raised. However, there is a danger in over generalizing how moms raise their children. It would be foolish to rely on a single marketing message under the assumption that all Millennial moms raise their children in the same way. Instead, focus on those aspects of mothering that remain universal and not on generational tendencies.

George-Marie Glover, RSM, Advantage Sales & Marketing

What a child grows up with, they tend to accept or reject. What they grow up without, however, becomes extremely important to them.

I have two daughters who are both "Millennial moms" and I can assure you that they are parenting based upon how they were raised. Some of their methods mimic ours, and some are the polar opposite. They are much more concerned about what's in the food their kids eat and what kinds of chemicals are in their detergents and soaps than we ever were. They are vigilant about the test scores of the schools they send their children to, and thoroughly research the teachers their kids have.

Conversely, they are much more laid back when it comes to matters of chores, discipline, and manners.

Marketing messages must understand how differently today's moms raise their kids, but mostly, how they digest their content and messaging.

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Eric Chester, Keynote Speaker, Author, Reviving Work Ethic, LLC

I don't think this trend is all that surprising. In fact, I would have expected an even more dramatic evolution since this is a U.S. view. A global survey would be more interesting.

I do think marketers are doing a decent job of connecting with this audience. There is always room for improvement, however, the more the targeted people adopt new technologies, the more agile marketers will have to be.

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Ralph Jacobson, Global Consumer Products Industry Marketing Executive, IBM

Millennial moms are reacting to the way they were raised - and that doesn't include the way their parents raised them. It is the culture they grew up in. When you combine parental influence with technology and culture, you have a different generation of parents. They way a retailer connects with the Millennial generation is different than others. The approach must change to keep up. What may have worked for Gen Y, X, Baby Boomers, etc., may not work.

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Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations, LLC

As the mother of two Millennials and now a grandmother, I was initially taken aback when my son and daughter-in-law had consulted the internet instead of us mothers on a feeding issue.

After thinking about it though, it made sense. We probably would have had competing solutions, with all that implies. So why not get a disinterested "expert" opinion from the web? With all the information on the web readily available even at 3 am, I know I would have used it back in the day.

Of course information on the web can be contradictory and lots of cases just plain wrong. After a couple of incidents, I've noticed I'm back in the loop, but only to confirm advice they've gotten online.

Do I think this is a response to my parenting? No. I think it's a change sparked by the fire hose of information available on demand anytime and anywhere online. Believe me, if this had been available to us boomers, we would have been all over it.

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Marge Laney, President, Alert Technologies, Inc.

The big difference in raising children is "trust." How much or little trust new parents will have in their children. I don't think this has changed much. Indifference and trust are not the same.

'IMRetail'

They have a sloppy response to parenting and seem to believe that the children they are hatching (very rarely are they raised), are special.

If you want to reach them, tell them it's easy and they will buy it. Tell them standards are lower, and they believe it. Tell them that their child is special and they will buy anything that reinforces that. When the real world gets that child, the real world will have to raise it.

Kate Blake, Social Media Manager, Take Five with Kate Blake

I've seen Altimeter's Brian Solis write about "generation c" for the connected generation, but it's not aligned to any particular age segment - it simply describes widespread digital behavior across generations and is becoming the norm for people of all ages. I think as mobile, social and digital becomes easier to access, use and accepted, the lines are going to blur when it comes to describing Millennials as somehow more connected than others and in need of unique treatment.

It's arguably now the norm to approach consumer engagement in terms of people being online almost all the time, sharing experiences and desiring relationships with brands that demonstrate similar values. The key will be being able to segment and understand people as individuals and engage them in a relevant way.

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Gib Bassett, Global Program Director for Consumer Goods, Teradata Corp.

Interesting that recent research shows far more diversity WITHIN Millennials than between Millennials and other generations. In other words - it's the types of people and life choices that drive the significant difference - not their age group.

Retailers should take extreme care jumping onto the fads of generation-alizing. It's fun and makes the ad agency feel quite hip and tuned in. And it's mostly a waste of good money that would return far more profit by focusing elsewhere.

Doug Garnett, Founder & CEO, Atomic Direct

I think the comments about access to information hit the nail on the head. All moms care about making the right decisions and being good moms. Having a smartphone or tablet on hand (golly there are holders on the carriages) facilitates their use to gather information in the abstract (Google) and from friends and family (Facebook).

The times and devices have changed. Millennial moms have their own experience as a frame of reference. At the same time they're not tied down to one approach to parenting because they have access to so many more experiences to view. This means marketers have to pay attention to what all moms are saying, not only to the retailer, but to each other, in social media and over the phone.

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Joan Treistman, President, The Treistman Group LLC

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