First things first: the term “mommy blogger” makes my sarcasm-pickled heart quiver in disgust. However, I have been encouraged on my return from a three month maternity leave with my first son to write about any pearls of wisdom I gained during this mind-boggling experience. Turns out I actually had a couple revelations about marketing while spooning Nutella from the jar and crying along with my kid at 3 a.m. So here it is, 3 Things Being a New Mom Taught Me About Marketing, the first and last Mommy Post you’ll ever see on Digital Briefs!
1. Word of Mouth Matters More the More Something Matters
We talk a lot about the value of earned media, or word of mouth, in digital marketing. It’s important for all brands, but I discovered that the more significant the buying decision, the more people rely on their communities (online and off) for opinions. When I look through SkyMall and seriously consider purchasing a four foot tall knight in shining armor to hold my toilet paper, I don’t need anyone else’s thoughts on why that is absurd. However, when my four week old stayed up all night for three nights in a row, I was desperately searching online forums, calling every mom I knew and would have bought anything that trusted sources said would put the little demon to sleep.
So if you’re trying to sell novelty mustache socks, it makes sense to allocate most of your budget to paid search. But if you’re looking to develop new customer bases in industries where the service hits close to the heart (senior care, education, divorce law, cancer treatment, etc.) you also need to put resources into developing legitimate, engaged online communities.
2. No One Wants to Only Hear About You
Every content marketer and social media director preaches to clients that they can’t only talk about themselves if they want to develop these communities and improve their overall visibility. However, many clients balk at paying for marketing initiatives that don’t even have the brand’s name on them. This conflict can be a serious source of tension between partners.
I picked up some new insight into where brand managers were coming from through Facebook. As I’ve gotten older my News Feed had morphed from pictures of partying, drooling drunks to pooping, drooling babies. I don’t know how many times I rolled my eyes at an over-sharing parent who felt the need to update everyone on Little Ansel’s every bowel movement (especially the one after he tried chili for the first time. That’s an instant block from the Feed). But once I was a new mom I understood how the once-fascinating people I knew turned into one-track baby monsters. My baby was my world, especially at the beginning. Surviving every apocalyptic night and seeing the dawn of a new day seemed like a major accomplishment that deserved documentation.
The people who really care about their jobs (and the jobs of the sometimes thousands of people under them) feel the same way about their brand. If they aren’t constantly taking care of it, nurturing it and ensuring its safe future, who will? It’s a lot easier to see where clients are coming from now and I think I’ll approach these conversations differently. I’ll attempt to describe how not just talking about yourself will actually make for a more well-rounded and successful brand and while it’s difficult to let go, the brand needs to have its own life in the digital space in order to grow.
3. True Partners Know When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up
We talk a lot about “client relationships” and being “partners”. Well there’s nothing like extreme exhaustion and a mutual legal obligation to keep a teensie human alive to figure out some new things about partnership.
Lesson One: Let your partner try something new, even when you’re sure it won’t work. As the Momma Bear I thought I always knew best. However, when I forced myself to sit back and let my partner try some different techniques we discovered all kinds of new solutions. If I hadn’t been open to new ideas, I never would have found out the hair dryer and vacuum were sure ways to get the kid to pass out, that there was a YouTube channel of vacuuming so I didn’t actually have to vacuum at every nap time and Little Man was perfectly content to hang out in his swing if we put “Single Ladies” on repeat.
Lesson Two: A seriously stressful meltdown situation is not the time for discussing any of the following: past mistakes, vague suggestions or assigning blame. Do whatever it takes to address the issue at hand. When the crisis is over, the vomit is cleaned off the ceiling and everyone has a glass of Scotch, then you can dissect what went wrong and work together on ideas to make sure it never (never) happens again.
Lesson Three: If you always speak up for your partner, there’s always someone speaking up for you. If you get furloughed for a night out with the girls, ask to stop on the way back to buy a six pack for the sucker at home. If you text a coffee client an idea that came to you while in line at Starbucks on a Saturday morning, they might think of your team when their golf buddy’s business needs help with a new website. Partnerships work when you take care of each other.
That’s all I got. In sum, Gratuitous Baby Brag:
This is Rocco. He's the coolest dude on the planet.