Mom Energy: Why You Want It On Your Marketing Team

Vicki Murphy

Creative Director, m5 St. John's

When you google “moms in marketing”, all the top hits are things like “how to market to moms” and “reaching moms on Instagram.” Moms and mother figures control 85% of household purchases – even cars. Yes, we like to go vroom-vroom too.

We are the target audience for virtually everything. We are The Consumer. So who better than us to know what interests us, where we spend our time, and what we really think about your product or service (please refer to my colourful Yelp reviews.) And, special bonus — who better than us to make sure we’re not represented as doormats? There’s a 1960s print ad for men’s slacks with a man literally standing on his wife like she’s a rug. (This ad is on my office wall with a knife through it.) It’s also nice to make ads that our kids can be proud of, since we’re “SO EMBARRASSING” most of the time.

One of the first campaigns I worked on as a young mom was for a dairy company. The objective was to remind consumers how much they love local milk. I was buying 4 or 5 litres of the stuff every week, so the brief spoke to me on a molecular level and the ideas poured out. And when I showed up to meet Dean, one of our iconic farmers to be featured in the campaign, with his worn-out overalls, big white beard, and cows with names instead of numbers, I became a customer for life.

The secret is getting our insights from the inside. (That’s why they’re called insights.) We’re the ones trying desperately to win boxed wine on Instagram, mining the Interwebs for promo codes, and doing in-depth research at 3 a.m. on everything from Diaper Genies and juicers to craft beer and canoes. We’re great observers and thinkers and multitaskers because we’re constant caregivers. Our sharp insight is the silver lining of the mental load we carry. You’re welcome.

Plus, if we can effectively communicate to a six-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 42-year-old, and a 69-year-old (hi, Mom), we can probably effectively communicate to your customer.

We’re also experts at rebranding: It’s not fish, kids. It’s “sea steak.”

We’re direct. Who has time to mince words when our second job is literally keeping humans alive?

And we’re sensitive. About many things. Including the idea of writing a blog post about mothers, knowing there are so many brilliant, creative women who want so badly to have kids, or choose not to.

The rumours are true — we’re emotional beings. But last time I checked, emotion was the key to great advertising. I’ve cried several times at the office. There’s nothing quite like a well-crafted brand manifesto, or an ad like this, to put a lump in your throat.

So, whether you work on the client-side or the agency side like me, get that potent mom energy on your marketing team. Hire moms and mother figures, from all generations and backgrounds. Listen to us. If we don’t speak up, ask us what we think. Please, put us in charge. (Years ago, someone at m5 put Heather Dalton and Susan Clarke in charge and now they own half the company.) Hot tip – Don’t ask us “how will you do it all?” during the job interview or you could be in for a very candid Yelp review.

But as cringy as that question is, it’s valid. The mental load is real. Working moms are still doing most of the childcare and household management – you know, that second job we don’t get paid for. The pandemic has made this impossible balancing act even more grueling. Many of us are not okay. Some of us are leaving the workforce. So, if you’re lucky enough to have kickass moms on your team, make sure you keep that magic around. A little support can go a long way. And while we all wait (and wait) for systemic change and a colossal shift in cultural expectations, the New York Times has a number we can call. Just leave your primal scream after the beep.

Vicki Murphy
Creative Director
m5 St. John's