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Customer Segmentation Examples for Marketing to Moms

American moms are a major market and a focus for many brands.  And it’s a highly dynamic group. In 2019, CDC estimated around 3.8 million births.  These customer segmentation examples show the choices faced by brands targeting this mega-market.

A new cohort of moms moves into the market each day. The average age of first-time moms in the US (and in Europe) has been on the rise for more than a decade. In 2018, the age was 26 in the US.  And, there are marked differences in age of first time mom found by ethnic and  education background

With such a powerful market, estimated at more than $2.5 trillion in annual spending, it’s important for a brand to identify the most actionable customer segmentation approach to use.

Customer Segmentation Examples for Moms

There are a number of customer segmentation choices in the American moms market:

  • First time moms vs. experienced moms, a popular approach
  • Needs-based segmentation for a specific product category
  • Shopper segments of moms, e.g., The At-Home Worker, The Care Provider, Freelance Gig-Worker, Small Business Owner, The Solitary Confined
  • Single kid moms (i.e., moms with one child) vs. multi-kid moms
  • Primary breadwinner moms vs. secondary breadwinner vs. non-working moms (i.e., working outside of the home for pay)
  • Millennial moms vs. Gen X moms vs. Boomer moms
  • Moms by education level
  • Asian moms “Tiger Moms,” African American moms, Hispanic moms (acculturated, bicultural, unacculturated)
  • Single moms (about 25% of moms) vs. married / partnered moms
  • Moms with oldest child ages 0-2 vs. 3-5 vs. 6-9 vs. 10-12 vs. 13-17 vs. 18+ (this is the approach we recommended in the book I coauthored, Tuning into Mom: America’s Most Powerful Consumer

Most brands will consider several examples before selecting the approach that makes the most sense for their marketing and product development.  Their choice will vary according to the intended application and the product or service category.  

Customer Segmentation Example for Beech-Nut Baby and Toddler Food

Beech-Nut’s goal was to create a strategic segmentation of moms focused on both toddler and baby food and feeding. The desire was to be sufficiently broad to understand young child feeding but also to go deep into both toddler food and baby food, so the frame of reference was important. The segmentation’s main application was for marketing for new products, identifying the most promising segments for new products and innovation. 

Beech-Nut considered a number of mom segments to find the most useful segmentation approach, including: motivational, needs-based segments, experienced and first-time moms, WIC (women and infant children) program participants and brand users of Beech-Nut, Gerber and Earth’s Best.  The ending samples included over 1,700 moms with children ages 4-36 months.

The motivational, needs-based segmentation was selected as the most useful for new products and innovation. Contrary to what many believe, not all moms are highly concerned with their child’s nutrition. Around 60% are concerned, and 40% are not. There were three lifestyle orientation dimensions that emerged:

  1. nutrition emphasis
  2. finicky eater dynamic (do you have a picky eater or not)
  3. lifestyle demands (busy lifestyle) 

There were four category specific dimensions that emerged:

  1. baby or toddler food as an important source of nutrition
  2. new product interest
  3. price sensitivity
  4. brand preference

In this customer segmentation example, two of the seven segments that emerged used very little baby and toddler food, cumulatively 9% of category. As a result, these two were not actionable targets for new products. There were five prospective segments that offered marketing targeting and growth potential: Premium Seekers, Career Moms, Child Pleasers, Picky Eaters and WIC Moms. Picky Eaters (moms with children who are picky eaters) primarily were parents of toddlers (ages 12-36 months), making this group a logical target for toddler foods, along with the Child Pleasers segment.

Looking at the five more relevant customer segments on two motivations that related to nutrition emphasis illustrates how moms differ in this customer segmentation example.  The first statement is:

I feed my child whatever he/she likes and I’m not that concerned about nutrition.”

On a six-point scale, just 11% of all moms completely or strongly agree with this statement.   However, 31% of Child Pleaser moms completely or strongly agree with this statement, three times the overall average.  

The second statement is:

Balance is important, I try for good nutrition, I also have to make sure my child will eat it”. 

On a six-point scale, 60% of all moms completely or strongly agree with this statement, compared with 46% of Child Pleasers and 82% of Picky Eaters. 

Customer Segmentation Examples for Marketing to Moms

Customer Segmentation Example for Marketing to Moms Coalition

A second example comes from The Marketing to Moms Coalition.  The goal of this organization was to take marketing to mom to the next level, to provide resources to make marketers smarter about reaching moms and to add value to moms marketing initiatives across the industry, with best practices and insightful research findings.  Founding members were Maria Bailey, Bridget Brennan, Teri Lucie Thompson, Amy Colton and Michal Clements (the writer of this blog post). Advisory board members were Becky Chao, Mary Dillon, Katherine Durham and Rob Matteucci.  

A major annual focus was “The State of the American Mom” report, which was designed to allow multiple mom customer segmentation example approaches. These included:

  • marital status
  • age of children at home
  • household income
  • ethnicity
  • number of children
  • employment status
  • education level
  • opinion leader groups
  • customers of different retailers

In this example, the most insightful approach differed by topic. Age of child turned out to be the most helpful segmentation approach when looking at how moms take care of themselves.  Moms of teenagers ages 13-17 were much more likely to take time to do something they enjoy such as talking to a friend or reading a book, compared with moms of younger children. By comparison, spending time with your spouse or partner was more popular among moms of children less than two. Preparing and eating healthy foods was more popular among moms with children ages 7-12.

When asked about marketing approaches, all moms enjoyed seeing something that made them laugh or showed a mom having fun with her kids. As might be expected, working moms were more likely to appreciate seeing a working mom, whereas moms who did not work outside the home preferred to see a “put together” stay-at-home mom. In 2020, these distinctions may have likely blurred with many moms and children staying at home, whether working or not.

Customer Segmentation Examples for Marketing to Moms

As these two customer segmentation examples illustrate, the approach that will be the most useful should be a topic of active examination.  More customer segmentation resources are found at our customer segmentation resource page.   Or contact us to identify the most helpful approach for your brand.