Marketing to Moms – “I” vs. “We”

One of the things I love about reading Robert Cialdini is that pretty much every time I pick up one of his books and open to a page, I find a new insight.

In Yes!  50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, the authors talk about two types of advertising – Individualistic vs. Collectivistic.   

Individualism is an orientation that assigns highest priority to the preferences and rights of the individual.  Collectivism is an orientation that assigns highest priority to the preferences and rights of the group.  

It's the age old "I" vs. "We" approach.   Cialdini points out that the United States, United Kingdom and others in Western Europe tend to be more individualistic, while those in Asia, South America, Africa and Eastern Europe tend to be more collectivistic.

What I found fascinating was the research they did on products people tend to share with other people, like air conditioning and toothpaste.

I would have expected that products shared by others would naturally do better with collectivistic messages – "Share your breath-freshening experience."     And in the South Korean test group the collectivistic message indeed did better.  But in the U.S., the individualistic message "Treat yourself to a breath freshening experience." did the best.

It would be easy to oversimplify and say all individualistic messages will work better in the U.S., but I don't think that's the case.  I do think it depends on the product, but also on the target consumer you are trying to talk to.

I've noticed that ads that target moms sometimes try to go the individualistic route.   In the recent Motrin Moms debacle, there is a line in the video that says "But what about me?" 

I've seen this backfire many times.   Remember, individualism assigns the highest priority to the preferences and rights of the individual.   This may run counter to "mom mode" where it's the preferences and rights of the group (i.e. mom and kids or entire family) that take preference.

If you are targeting moms, I have three suggestions for you.

  • Use the collective approach and talk about benefit to mom and kids.
  • if you want to speak to her about needs of a mom, use the collective "we" along with other mothers.   
  • If you want to speak to moms as individuals, why do you have to identify her as a mom?  Why can't you speak to her just as a woman?   

Here are three examples:

By using Motrin – you and your baby will be happier – your baby gets more quality time next to you, you get a pain-free back.  ("We"  – focused on benefit to mom and baby)

Baby-wearing moms unite to push a new trend – Daddy-wearing babies. Until then, Motrin is the best friend baby-wearing moms have.  ("We" – focused on benefit of "moms" as a group)

As a woman, you're carrying a lot on your shoulders, and back.   Get relief with Motrin.    ("I" – focused on individual as woman, not as a "mom")

Take a look at your marketing to mom messages.   Test the "we" approach vs. the "I" approach.  Let me know which works better for you.

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6 Responses to Marketing to Moms – “I” vs. “We”

  1. That should actually be “baby-wearing daddies” If it’s a daddy-wearing baby, it better be one big bundle of joy.

  2. I agree, that when marketing to moms, you need to identify with them, and give them the benefits to them and their family that your product/service will bring.
    Know their needs.desires and challenges. Offer a solution for them.

  3. Hacked them to work in European networks of course, resulting in a terrific value-for-money device, given I paid it using American peso and not putting contract money in AT&T & Apple’s coffers.

  4. LilLiyezz says:

    0Money. Not being mean but money like in the form of a gift card it nice,that way you know the person will get what they need and want.Also diepras you can’t go wrong with diepras, butt paste, shampoo, anything like that that is going to used often is nice for showers.

  5. Sergi says:

    I am a very down to earth person. I don’t colclet “stuff” and I don’t like things that don’t have a practical purpose. My daughter is nearly 2 and she has plenty of things she treasures. She sleeps with a plush monkey I got at Children’s Place for $5 and a Dora doll. She has a favorite blanket that she can’t sleep without but I bought it at Walmart for $8 on clearance. It is soft, it is fleece. I love it, she loves it, but its practical.I would not pay $47 for a baby blanket. For $42 I expect some kind of nice heavy blanket for my queen size bed. So many kids do not bond to the item you choose for them. We picked a small plush bunny attached to a tiny blanket square as our daughter’s special thing. She wants nothing to do with it. At least I didn’t spend $47 on it, so its not a huge loss.Now, if I had more money then I knew what to do with, sure, I’d buy an excessively expensive blanket for the label, if that was the kind of person I was . but I’m not.References :

  6. Della says:

    No, I would not I love a good blanket, but $42 is way too much I peuhcasrd a really nice, soft one, for only $10; why would I pay more? And, in those baby/toddler/kid magazines, you can get good blankets with personalization for half that price, including shipping I’d spend my money on more important things For the price you’re charging, I’d expect it to be a luxurious comforter in MY size! (They don’t even charge that much on photo blankets, and those are awesome!)Not to be rude, but good luck with that.*edit* Checked out the site Those blankets aren’t worth that much Also, I think it’s a bad idea to personalize things that belong to children or babies, that strangers may see.References : Married, with 4 kids.

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