What do mums want? Not necessarily the same thing!

Simona Balint

Big brands are patronising and seem to be more interested in selling their products than making their product do what's actually needed. That was just some of the feedback to a major survey of mums by MumPanel.  

The Big Mum Opinion surveyed around 3,000 mums through various different platforms; online, via the telephone and even at the school gates. It explores the role that social media has to play in brand engagement, who mums look to for guidance and advice, brand loyalty and 'pester power' among other issues affecting consumer choice.  

The study reports that mums say they want to feel respected by brands that genuinely give them good deals on quality products, and also want to see greater transparency in marketing.

"Unfortunately, I think a lot of the bigger brands try to create a need for their products through marketing rather than responding to actual needs," one mum pointed out.

Technology was cited as playing an ever increasing role in the way that brands can communicate with and engage with mums. A lot of women use social media to get opinions on products or brands, and 59 per cent say that online reviews and information are an important supporting factor. The majority (61 per cent) said that they don't like targeted ads on Facebook, however.

Lynne Barcoe, Head of MumPanel, said: "We've explored how things are changing through social media use and online shopping but how some things stay the same – such as mums' simple desire for great products and services that are presented in an honest way."

The survey found that brand loyalty is not as important to mums anymore; almost 80 per cent shop at more than one supermarket, and are likely to swap based on price promises, the quality of fresh produce and convenience.

Perhaps the biggest finding, or at least the one which shaped the rest of the report, however, was the overwhelming consensus from mums that they don't like to be stereotyped.

"They [brands] have two images in mind: the stereotype of the working mum who struggles to 'have it all' and the stay at home mum who lazes about and does nothing all day, apparently," says one mum.

"There is no concept that most of us are in between the two and would like to be treated like human beings with a variety of needs and requirements, not brands' 'one size fits all' approach!"

Twenty per cent of women surveyed feel labelled by brands, and 13 per cent often believe they are patronised. Just five per cent feel empowered through marketing while a meagre 2 per cent are made to feel special by ads.

"In 2014, at MumPanel we believe the biggest challenge for brands will be whether or not they can engage with the mass market of mums, while recognising that mums are not all the same," concluded Ms Barcoe.

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