Making Millennial Moms Merry

For those who market to moms, ‘tis (almost) the season to be jolly. After all, when it comes to holiday plans — from what to buy for the family, to shopping for the holiday dinner, to where to spend the vacation and how to get there – moms, by far, remain in charge.

If you’re promoting products for kids, or looking to build loyalty for other categories among younger mothers, it’s also the season to shift focus to Gen Y – the Millennial Mom. According to the 2012 U.S. Census, there are currently 16 million moms between ages 18 and 34. 83% of new moms are members of the Millennial generation.

How Millennial Moms communicate, what’s important to them and how they connect with brands is not the same as the moms who came before them.

Millennial Moms want companies to look at them as women as well as moms. There was an interesting story related to this very topic in the Sunday New York Times earlier this month—how, once you have a child, you are suddenly perceived as mom and only mom. Instead, Millennials want businesses to acknowledge that moms run their own companies, or run marathons, as well as running households.

Millennial Moms worry less about being the perfect mother and maintaining the perfect home – as evidenced by the success of blogs such as Her Bad Mother and Good Enough Mother.

Millennial Moms are far more interested than past generations in the natural/the organic/the sustainable — in the environment as a whole. They look for natural baby products, organic cleaning supplies, green toys and the like. They make their own baby food at home with locally sourced ingredients.

According to a quote in USA Today from historian Neil Howe, who along with his late co-author, William Strauss, is credited with coining the term Millennial, Millennial Moms are “far more likely than moms of any other generation to be raising their kids near or even in the same house as their extended family. Many of them have their Boomer moms — the grandparents of their kids — living in the same home or living next door.”

More than anyone else, Millennial Moms are connected. They are the generation that grew up with technology–the “digital natives.”

Moms are often the first adopters when it comes to new technology tools, and they particularly love their smartphones. They use them to browse for parenting advice, connect in social media, schedule playdates and pay bills – in other words, to manage their families’ lives. But they also rely on mobile phones to compare prices, look up store hours, check product reviews, create shopping lists, make purchases and more.

According to a study by BabyCenter, 44% of Millennial Moms made a purchase on their smartphone in the past week, 64% in the past month. Eighty-seven percent of moms used smartphones in 2013, up 34 percent from the previous year, according to Mobile Marketer.

When it comes to advice on what to buy, Millennial Moms trust other moms—as have, for the most part, the generations before them. But 46% of Millennial Moms trust other moms over experts.

And while the other moms Millennials trust could be longtime friends, or moms they’ve met at Lamaze or “mommy and me” class, they also trust moms that they regularly follow in social media, for advice on what to buy and where to buy it.

For brands that keep these facts in mind, the holiday season will be both merry and bright.