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Mom is the primary decision maker for most of her family's purchases. Now, new research is giving us a better look into how the modern mom shops for her family.

From how she is consuming information to where and what she is consuming, moms are signaling that they are in control of their family's spending. Recent consumer research found that most moms are not pressured into making purchases when retailers dictate, and TV is no longer the primary medium influencing their back-to-school shopping. She knows what she needs to buy and what she is willing to spend, and she is just as comfortable making a purchase on a mobile device as she is walking into a Target.

To effectively reach out and connect to moms, brands should keep in mind the following things.

1. Standard shopping seasons are increasingly irrelevant

Back-to-school consumer polling showed that brands waiting until August to kick off back to school were already months late to the game, and we believe this departure from traditional shopping seasons is a broader trend that we'll see again in future shopping seasons. This year, about a quarter of moms with K-12 students began their back-to-school shopping in June and planned to continue shopping throughout the summer.

To take advantage of increasingly timing agnostic moms, smart marketers need to begin driving visibility and awareness long before the traditional shopping seasons begin.

2. Lower barriers between marketing and online purchase

For many individuals, including moms, the Internet is the main point of consumption for news, videos, social updates, and—increasingly—shopping. Though many people are in front of their TVs while shopping online, moms are less likely than ever to drive to the store to purchase what they just saw on the screen, which is great news for marketers targeting mom with timely and valuable online ads.

Moreover, 39% of parents made a purchase based on an online ad, just in the last month. The instant gratification that online shopping brings is much more in line with moms' busy schedule, so marketers need to deliver ads (with an easy and direct path to purchase) that are valuable to moms.

3. Late night is prime time for online shopping

Almost half of online shopping is done after 8PM, and while malls and stores are closed by 9PM, the Internet is always open. Online shopping provides moms the freedom to purchase whatever, wherever, and whenever they like, thanks to full inventory available 24/7. So not only do marketers need to be engaging moms in more places, they also need to be actively marketing around the clock to catch Mom whenever she decides to shop.

4. Purely deal driven

One of the biggest reasons moms are beginning seasonal shopping so early is to scope out and snag the best deals, with 61% of parents listing promotions and discounts as the top driver in determining when they began back to school shopping. This is motivating moms to be far more flexible regarding when, where, and how they shop. And we should expect moms to continue to use their purchasing power to get the best deals, whether in store or online. In fact, parents looking to purchase technology for back to school listed Wal-Mart and Amazon as their top store choices, showing that the deal, not the experience (online vs. in store), is at the core of purchase decisions.

5. Moms are mobile

In today's busy world, mobile shopping is quickly growing in popularity to rival online shopping. In fact, 31% of parents say they've made purchases on their mobile device more than once in the past month. With mobile pay resources embedded into almost every smartphone, moms are using the ease and convenience of instantaneously making purchases right from their devices, giving her increasing flexibility to purchase goods on her own terms. Though mobile advertising has been slow to innovate past the banner ad, as Mom continues to embrace mobile purchasing, marketers need to employ new, richer, and more engaging forms of mobile advertising to reach mom where she is—on her smartphone.

6. Video killed the TV star

We all know that we're spending more time online than ever before, so we should not be surprised to learn that nearly half of all parents are now spending more time online than watching TV. On the same note, 51% of parents watch multiple online videos weekly and 29% of parents watch streaming video services, like Netflix or online videos daily. So, for marketers looking to reach today's moms, online video must be a key element of the strategy—both in terms of the content they're creating and the channel they're using to deliver their message.

* * *

What is the bottom line message for brands looking to engage the highly desired mom shopper this holiday season? Simply put, mom has ditched TV for digital and moved to mobile and smart advertisers need to adjust their advertising spends now to reach, engage, and ultimately win competition for the power of the purse.

Continue reading "Six Things You Need to Know to Reach Moms" ... Read the full article

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image of Dallas Lawrence

Dallas Lawrence is senior vice-president and head of Corporate Communications at Rubicon Project, an advertising platform.

LinkedIn: Dallas Lawrence