September 04, 2008

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Meeting Modern Moms If women buy most things, moms buy most of what women buy. The search to find, understand, serve and sell moms is a huge business which has spawned a virtual online cottage industry. Now one of the pioneers of the mom world, Lolita Carrico, a single mom and founder of ModernMom.com, is positioning her site as an early warning radar for trends and product ideas and as a flexible vehicle to reach, survey, measure, understand, interact with and persuade moms. Her 100,000 registered users can be accessed online and offline to test, review or approve products, collect front line consumer intelligence, measure attitudes and outlooks or directly connect with target customers in live events or local clubs. With 10,000 active super-users, marketers can dice and slice the database to build research or sampling panels of 500 highly targeted moms. Moms can be targeted by a broad range of psycho-demographic selects that include age of moms or age of children, family size, income, education, geography and even step-moms. The proprietary database is regulated by a contact strategy which limits the number of contacts per mom per year to avoid burn out and to circumvent built-in sampling error. Driven by requests from clients like Procter & Gamble, General Mills or AOL led Lolita to offer marketers practical insights into product satisfaction and to offer site visitors "Mom Tested" product reviews that get 5 times the page views of editor-written reviews. Marketers can create and select panels of moms, place full size samples in the hands of target customers and get direct feedback and/or generate online buzz. Using this service P&G has given products to target customers to test, distributed coupons, sparked online reviews at ModernMom.com and elsewhere and proactively identified practical product problems and even a few clunkers. For Mattel, the site organized "Playdate" events in 10 markets where mothers and daughters road tested a new Barbie and Barbie DVD in backyard parties. For Mr.Clean Magic Eraser, the site was an early proponent and recommender of the product which has become a standard tool among American moms. This access and research service is growing faster than advertising on the site and is contributing almost 50 percent of the site's gross revenue. The body of reviews will be collected under a "Mom Tested" tab on the homepage in September and over time could become the digital equivalent of the Good Housekeeping seal. In the near term, Lolita is planning a series of Modern Mom"Connect" reports to document attitudes and preferences among moms to monitor trends and "word of mom" and to offer moms and those looking to reach her insights and tips on coping with the world's toughest job. All this mom stuff indicates a bigger array of marketing opportunities presented by sites with registered user databases and activist leadership. ModernMom represents a nexus between online content and communities and real world behavior that offer fast, efficient ways to research, understand and engage customer segments.
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Quickly Boosting E-Mail Productivity iPost figures marketers need to get more bang from their e-mail campaigns. So they've formulated and bottled the classic, proven direct marketing tactic known as RFM (recency,frequency, monetary value) into an automated tool called AutoTarget that works withtheir platform and soon can be added-on to any ISP solution. Since 96% of marketers use e-mail as a marketing channel, according to Forrester, VP Marketing Craig Kerr thinks, " Marketers don't need any more data. Most mid-tier companies don't have the time or the people to process all the data they already have. They need fast, easy and intuitive tools to help them use the data they have to get better results and bigger ROI from the e-mail campaigns they're running." Its a simple premise aimed at kick-starting the use of metrics and analytics in a medium considered to be cheap, fast and somewhat effective. Take the most valuable DM concept -- the first, best cut at the data. Bake it into a tool that e-mail marketers can easily access. Upload purchase histories and e-mail lists. Spit out segments graphically. Get the most lift with the least effort. And while AutoTarget will not be a substitute for a CRM system, a BI package or a stand-in for insightful thinking about segments, offers or creative, it will take the purchase histories of names on an e-mail list and in 24 hours parse them into 125 cells based on recency of purchase, frequency of purchase and cash value of purchases. Ranked from 111 for one-time low value buyers to 555 for frequent high margin customers, the data is displayed in punchy bar graphs to help marketing and executive types to quickly see patterns in the business which will drive decisions about where to apply their finite time and money for maximum incremental effect. E-mail marketers get better results faster by abandoning the practice of blasting often and hoping for the best. Looking at the segments will give even novice marketers a quick feeling for which customers are most engaged and which can yield the most incremental sales. Knowing this can lead to decisions about who to address, what to offer and how often to contact them -- basically a metrics-driven mindset in a box. The data will also help marketers make the case for the business value of the e-mail channel, which is often undercut by its low cost and frequent use.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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