Why Moms Recommend Brands – And Why It Matters

7 in 10 American mothers with children up to 12 years old make recommendations about brands, products and services to other mothers at least monthly, according to [download page] a study released October 2012 by The 360PR MomSquad and Mom It Forward. Fully half make brand recommendations daily. But what motivates them to recommend? Some 61% say they are motivated to share special offers, with other drivers including a sense of fun (54%) and pride (51%).At least one-quarter of moms make recommendations on the basis of high ratings and positive reviews read online or in a magazine (32%), a cause (31%), or seeing something on a friend’s Facebook or Twitter feed (25%).

Along with their influence, mothers offer significant purchasing power – and that holds true particularly for new and expecting mothers, finds Eric Mower + Associates’ New Moms Group. The company estimates that each day, about 4,400 American women learn they are pregnant with their first children, and will spend an average $10,000 from the time they learn they’re pregnant until their children are one year old, for about $16 billion in consumer purchasing power. Also true, first-time mothers will make purchases they have not before (e.g., strollers, diapers and bottles) and new products in categories they have purchased before (like financial services and groceries). The objective for brands is to “occupy mind share” among new mothers.

Most Recommendations Delivered In-Person

Data from PR360’s “The Mom Next Door: Why and How Moms Make Recommendations” reveals that an overwhelming majority of mothers make recommendations in person (83%), and that 53% do so via social media. 56% of respondents said that their in-person conversations are longer than those over other means (online included), and 35% said they feel in-person conversations are more honest. Another 22% see no difference in honesty between in-person and online communications with other mothers.

The majority of respondents (59%) feel that in-person recommendations are the most trustworthy, versus just 14% who believe the same about recommendations via social media. Gen Y mothers of younger children (up to 3 years old) are generally more trusting of recommendations made over social networks.

Social Media An Outlet For Following Brands

Although social media is a less popular channel for delivering recommendations, it’s still used by a majority of mothers. Many likely get inspiration from social media, too: some 77% of mothers surveyed follow 1 or more brands on social media, and 23% follow 10 or more brands.

Facebook is their preferred social network, used by 86% of respondents, while 25% use YouTube and 24% Pinterest. Less popular are Twitter (21%), Google+ (17%), LinkedIn (13%) and Instagram (9%). Notably, Gen Y mothers with children aged 0-3 are the heaviest users of social media, which is good news for brands looking to tap the market through social campaigns.

While 58% of mothers surveyed report using social media more than one hour a day, mothers of children between 4 and 12 tend to use it least. This suggests that there are strong off-line marketing possibilities for brands to reach these mothers through traditional media, gatherings and retail events.

About The Data: Joint research by 360PR and Mom It Forward included interviews with more than 1000 mothers via a quantitative web-based survey of 964 US mothers of children between ages 0-12 conducted in August 2012 by Lindberg International, and a series of live events with 95 mothers conducted between September and October 2012, including in-home events in six regionally diverse markets and one online event.

The EMA New Moms Group research was conducted online by Zoomerang and administered to 467 expectant mothers and new mothers with one child age 2 or younger.