Understanding the Cohort of Moms

The modern mom is not the stay-at-home stereotype you remember from TV – she usually has a job outside the home.  She also relies on a larger, unpaid network of family members to balance everything she needs to get done.

From the start we have been intent on partnering firms that went beyond the development and deployment of tech and were just as intent as we are in delivering genuine, actionable customer insight.  (Full Disclosure: Suzy is one of the first platforms we partnered with here at TheCustomer so we have a healthy ongoing relationship with them).  If you’ve seen the “Ask America” feature that we post each week on TheCustomer – those insights are powered by the Suzy platform in realtime.

Several times a year Suzy does a deep dive into some interesting and valuable segment of their platform membership and when they do, we, likewise, like to take a deeper look into that research to see what we can surface for our readers.  In this case, Suzy has compiled what might be the definitive view of one of the most important purchasing cohorts in the marketplace – Moms.

But beyond a simple analysis of purchasing habits and tendencies, Suzy dug into the emotional, relational and economic factors that are shaping the lives, pathways and purchases of today’s mothers.  Here then, is a deeper dive into Suzy’s Mom2020 Report.

Moms are powerful.

First though, it’s important to understand the weight and influence of this group of people.

  • There are 43.5 Million Moms in America.
  • Collectively they have 2.4 Trillion in spending power.
  • They influence a full 85% of household purchasing decisions.

Moms today are different from moms of even a few years ago.

  • Moms are the sole earners for 40% of households with children
  • 10% of working moms
  • They rely heavily on family members for childcare support – as opposed to paying for help.
  • 58% of moms are generally happy with their lives and with their children’s development.
  • Like moms before her, she believes in parental authority but, unlike previous moms, she wants her kids to have a more of a say.

As the Mom2020 Report puts it, The modern mom is not the stay-at-home stereotype you remember from TV – she usually has a job outside the home.  She also relies on a larger, unpaid network of family members to balance everything she needs to get done.

As part of our deep dive we spoke with two of the people who were most instrumental in this research, Dr. Joel Mier of the University of Richmond, who led the research team, and Sofia Hernandez, Chief Client Officer at Suzy and a mother of two.  I asked both of them to go beyond what’s in the published report and talk about their expectations for the research, what surprises they encountered, and their biggest personal takeaways.

Dr. Mier:

“I come from a background in consumer insight so I was very enthused when Suzy first proposed this project.  Moms are easily one of the biggest – if not the biggest purchasing cohort in the market today but, among brands and retailers, I’ve had the sense that they weren’t really well-understood.  If you take a look at a lot of the communication and marketing towards mom’s today, much of it looks just like it did 5 years ago – or worse, 20 years ago.

The research was pretty conclusive – moms lead very different lives today.  They have a lot more at their disposal, they are busier than ever, and the options and channels available to engagement are more plentiful than ever.

One of the biggest takeaways for me is the huge opportunities that exist for brands and retailers to fill in the gaps in marketing and communication that presently exist and start “speaking with” these valuable consumers.  There is a distinct void in between brands and modern moms and the first movers to see that, understand it and address it will have a huge advantage over other late-comers.”

Sofia Hernandez:

“As a mom myself, I came into this project with a clear bias, if you will, as to what to expect.  But I was surprised at the universality of my experience as a mom as it relates to other moms.  To me, I really saw my own life as a unique embodiment of motherhood – with all of the stresses and joys – as my own … experience.  What became clear through the research though, was that I’m not the only one.  Not by far.  In fact, one particular statistic really stood out to me – over 70% of the moms we surveyed relied heavily on family for childcare support – as opposed to paying for help.

I get that – that’s me.  But I supposed that, partially because I am Latina, that this was unique to my culture – that’s just the way things are done our world.  But its every mom.  We’re all dealing with the same stresses and, for a huge majority of us, we’re handling them in much the same ways.

Like Dr. Mier, I see a huge opportunity for brands to start speaking to us in our own “language”.  Show me ways to make my life a little easier – or ways to help the people who are helping me.  We are all in this together and we are all stressed, over-worked and running faster than any of us have ever run before.  Show us how to derive a bit more enjoyment out of this process called motherhood and you will have unlocked something very, very powerful.”

One other thing that came through our conversations with Joel and Sofia, if only anecdotally – there is an unprecedented reliance on and participation in social media channels for product and service recommendations.  Perhaps it’s just a modern extension of the pre-internet “mommy network” but whatever it is, its more alive, complex and more powerful than ever.  Several stories emerged which illustrated just how influential this network can be both by promoting and complaining about purchases.  This fact raises the stakes for retailers and brands to get customer service right the first time because the consequences of not doing so can be dire.

Suzy Moms2020 Report


The full Mom2020 Report is an impressive document with a hefty amount of detail and guidance in it.  We’ll be talking more about modern moms this week but in the meantime, if you’d like to see the Mom2020 Report for yourself, you can download it here.

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash.

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