While Moms may not follow every golden rule they teach their children, they are very good at sharing. This is especially true when it comes to product and service brand recommendations. Most brand marketers know this and are exploring different approaches to foster sharing, including rewards programs. We agree that rewards can be a powerful marketing tool when executed thoughtfully.
Rewards programs can work hand-in-hand with social media to help encourage sharing that already comes naturally to Moms. Moms value each others’ advice and appreciate being heard by their peers. These are among the key reasons Moms are so highly engaged with social media: it makes sharing easier and more efficient than ever before. As such, there is a large Mom-to-Mom multiplier effect that can spread the word about a brand quite economically, when Moms are motivated to share.
This is an incredibly valuable opportunity for brands, with many options to drive word-of-Mom marketing, including launching a rewards program. A May 2013 study by PunchTab indicates that rewards programs are strong Mom motivators of social sharing. Of Moms surveyed, 44% said they would Like content on Facebook for a reward, and 40% said they would post a review, 26% said they would pin to Pinterest and 25% said they would tweet on Twitter.
Rewarding Marketing to Moms
We believe in the power of rewards, but recommend designing a rewards program strategically, keeping Moms hot buttons in mind.
- While 83% of Moms surveyed by PunchTab indicated that they wanted free products and services, those types of rewards can make their praisesuspect. If her fellow Moms know that a brand is giving away free goods for social network sharing, they are less likely to believe the reviews. It’s similar to the skepticism directed against bloggers who are known to be receiving freebies from various brands in exchange for publishing positive reviews. Moms have told us time and again that they care deeply about their reputations, especially among other Moms, and they would not want anyone to think that they are “being bought.”
- A better appraoch may be delivering less tangible incentives with real cache, such as special access to limited products or special customer status. The PunchTab study suggests that these types of rewards are still highly valued by Moms. For example, over a one-third of the Moms surveyed indicated that they value incentives that offer them exclusive access to brands, such as being able to buy new products ahead of the general public (39%), being able to influence a brand’s future products (38%) or getting advanced notification of new products (36%). Rather than giving away products and services, these types of rewards are true relationship builders, fostering longer term connections between Moms and brands. Moms are made to feel a part of the team and the praise they share with their social networks is more likely to be meaningful. Investment in identifying these types of brand-appropriate incentives is likely to pay off.
- Remembering the fundamentals of delivering rewards to Moms is always key. Rewards must be not only meaningful, but also easy to earn and redeem. When rewards are complicated to earn and/or to redeem Moms opt out. We’ve recently heard some bad feedback from Moms on two recent rewards efforts because of the hoops customers are asked to jump through. A leading global cosmetics manufacturer requires use of scissors and snail mail to earn points, ignoring any technological advancements of the past two decades. A leading supermarket chain, on the other hand, puts technology to use to the detriment of their customers who must take the extra step of uploading specific offers to their loyalty card before they can earn points and/or discounts in-store. Imagine the frustration of a Mom on a large family shopping trip who is taunted by signs of offers in-store that she cannot redeem because she did not plan ahead. These programs are both so overtly building in complexity to minimize value, that it could be potentially damaging to their brands. Moms will share information about these programs and it won’t be good news.
When programs are easy to use, they win with Moms. Simple frequent purchase programs work because because they deliver simplicity and true value. It’s a simple but effective tactic by used by a past client of ours, HomeMade Pizza. As part of their ongoing loyalty program, they offer a simple buy 10, get 1 free program that their customers appreciate. They told us that it makes them feel valued as customers and motivated to make those repeat visits. Equally simple in its approach, but appealing to both Moms and their kids is LEGO’s VIP program. Every dollar spent earns a point, every 100 points earns $5 to spend. Technology can also be put to use in an easy to use way. Ebates Tell-A-Friend program provides members with seven different online options for sharing with their friends, making earning referrals bonuses extremely accessible. It’s these types of programs that will experience positive Mom-multiplier effects.
Of course, there are many other ways beyond rewards to foster Moms’ sharing online. For more on that subject, please read our article, previously published here, Connecting with Digital Moms in a Digital World.
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