Toy Fair Social Media Panel: Marketers + Mom Bloggers

This week marked the 107th American International Toy Fair, a major industry event held in New York City. I had the opportunity to moderate a panel there titled, Connecting With Moms In Social Media — Blogs, Twitter and Facebook,  featuring toy companies and mom bloggers.  A special thanks up front to Brett Klisch of bellybuds and The Creative Factor for making this important conversation possible.

Speakers included Barb Rentschler (Chief Marketing Office, K’NEX) and Dell Monson (Senior Director of Marketing, Hidden City Games), both of whom have reached out to mom bloggers through Child’s Play Communications’ award-winning Team Mom  review network;  Kimberly Coleman (Blogger, Mom in the City) and Melissa Chapman (Blogger, Real Moms Guide, Kids in the City, WCBS-TV).

Thank you to our panelists and to all who attended — it quickly became standing room only! What really made this presentation so appealing and successful, I think,  was that it offered perspectives from marketers on the one hand and bloggers on the other. I’d like to share key highlights here, starting with the marketers’ point of view:

  •  Marketers recognize that moms are extremely influential in terms of making purchasing decisions. Since a large majority of moms are online, it makes sense for brands to have an active  presence there to show that they are listening to moms and to answer any questions moms might have.
  • It’s important to connect all the components of social media outreach — whether Facebook, Twitter or mom blog review networks — into an overall online media strategy that makes sense. Companies can also leverage advertising campaigns around it for a more integrated program.
  • Right now, the focus is on spending marketing dollars in the social media space rather than traditional media. Certainly for marketing departments with small budgets, social media is the way to go: It’s better to spend money where you are reaching your target audience effectively, especially when you don’t have millions of dollars for TV advertising.
  • Marketers can use today’s technology to find the true impact of a social media campaign. For example, a blogger might not necessarily have large numbers, but the secondary readers might drive more traffic to your site.
  • When reaching out to mom bloggers, realize that not everyone is going to like your product. Take the good posts with the bad. If there is negative feedback, understand why they didn’t like the product; it could be a bigger issue down the road.

A second post will follow in a day or two, featuring the perspective of the mom blogger panelists. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, please share your thoughts on the marketer comments above.