Baby Monitoring, the $19.5B Market that Promotes Safer Sleep
The popular SNOO smart sleeper bassinet and Owlet nursery suite provide two examples of well-executed growth strategy template. SNOO and Owlet are tapping into a parenting and baby monitoring market estimated at $19.5 billion in 2021, with expected growth up to $39.8 billion by 2025.
Judy Harrison, Founder and Principal of Waypoint Partners explains:
“Owlet and SNOO offer tech-enabled better parenting. These brands tap into a parent’s goal to be the best parent they can be. Their products and services enable parents to personalize and customize their care to their child’s needs and, more importantly, their development and welfare. That’s always been the most attractive benefit for parents in every category that I’ve researched in the past.”
SNOO Growth Strategy Template Example
The basic promise of the SNOO bassinet is that for approximately $1500, parents and their babies will both get more rest. While that’s a lot of money, depending on perspective, it can even be considered a good value compared with a $300-a-night nurse. On a daily basis, $1500 translates to around $17 a day if used daily for a three-month period.
Historically, most marketing to new parents has focused on the first-time mom as the primary decision maker. While dads are involved, moms typically have the final say in a range of baby and toddler categories from diapers to strollers to toy subscription services like Lovevery.
Moms generally are more involved and intense about parenting than dads. For instance, 85% of moms will rate their child’s physical safety as most important, compared with 67% of dads.
Recent coverage on the SNOO bassinet’s success with affluent parents focused primarily on the mom’s perspective, consistent with the “mom first” model. In 2019, SNOO’s revenues were reported at $50 million.
We can also see that SNOO has done a good job of appealing to dads in its growth strategy template. In the Southern California market, I am hearing a lot from dads. These expecting fathers are talking, and SNOO is attracting their consideration and attention. As a Southern California expecting dad explains,
“SNOO has a huge marketing campaign, and I’ve talked with other dads about it. We’ve been seriously considering it. It rocks when the baby cries or moves, with an app that tells you how often the baby moves. I do have to ask, how critical is that data?
Another good thing, SNOO has a built-in swaddle thing that seals them up so they don’t move and roll on their side. That takes that concern away, they are safe.
One issue is that the baby does get addicted to it, and it can be hard to wean them off it to a normal crib. People even rent them, there is a whole SNOO community or forum.”
Background on SNOO Growth Strategy Example
SNOO creator, Dr. Harvey Karp, framed the need for this product in the context of the lack of support from families for new parents brought about during COVID. As SNOO’s advertising promises, the product is “your own personal helper.”
Benefits touted in a SNOO press release include extra sleep hours and safety for the baby (by sleeping on back) as well as potential better mental health for the parents.
“Additionally, in the absence of a physical village, parents are increasingly turning to technology to get that essential help in those stressful early days, like a white noise machine or a smart bassinet, like SNOO. I created SNOO to actually give tired new parents an extra pair of hands to hold and soothe the baby. And, it also is the only baby bed proven to add hours of sleep to the baby’s sleep and keep the baby safely on the back…all naps/nights. This is a massive piece of the puzzle in curbing the scary upswing in postpartum depression and anxiety…and for forging a new trend of reliable and meaningful virtual support that may help keep those perinatal mood disorders at bay.”
The SNOO delivers a powerful combination, promising better sleep for baby and parents, safety for baby, convenience and even better mental health. SNOO’s growth strategy template allows it to capture more of the affluent parent market by playing on the emotional appeals of safety and mental health.
The SNOO is not without controversy, keeping it front of mind and in discussion with dads, moms and sleep experts. The adage “all publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right” operates. It offers a chance for parents and experts to weigh in on whether the product is worth the investment. For example, pediatric sleep consultant Becca Campbell explains some of the challenges:
“SNOO is teaching parents to lean too heavily on props… So, in my experience, the many clients I’ve worked with, they are not using the weaning mode. Whatever they are doing with the swaddling and the motion, like it’s kind of working. Now they are at the point, they are like my baby is six months, I know I should stop the swaddle and get them out of SNOO and into the crib. This is nice and safe and secure but we have to make the jump. And when you make the jump it’s really hard to just cold turkey undo everything.”
Does SNOO Growth Strategy Example Diminish Mom’s Role?
Another interesting aspect about the SNOO approach is that it challenges a positioning premise that previously operated when communicating with moms. Historically, in our experience working with other infant products, it was always important for the product to position itself as secondary to mom, very explicitly. Too much “chest thumping” on the product’s superior qualities had a tendency of making mom feeling that she wasn’t being recognized in her primary position as caregiver. While SNOO may talk about being a helper to the parent, it clearly falls into the camp of “product as hero” positioning rather than “consumer as hero.”
Owlet Growth Strategy Template Example
A second brand in the infant parenting market is Owlet. Owlet has a well-articulated growth strategy template, with a portfolio of product offerings. Owlet’s “connected nursery ecosystem” has estimated sales of $100 million in 2021, up from $75 million in 2020.
Owlet’s original product, the Smart Sock, was introduced in 2015. “Worn on the baby’s foot, Owlet’s Smart Sock monitors baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation. Parents are notified of any abnormalities through the app. Lior Susan, Founding Partner of Eclipse Ventures and Owlet’s Chairman, says:
“Enthusiastically embraced by users, Owlet’s products are fast becoming indispensable components of the modern, connected nursery, and offer parents a peace of mind not previously available to the average consumer. The company’s strong revenue growth in 2020 demonstrates a convergence of Owlet’s high-quality product and robust market demand. We are committed to continuing to enhance our products as part of our ongoing goal to provide parents with a better understanding of their baby’s needs.”
Two moms share different perspectives about the Owlet Smart Sock:
“When I brought my preemie son home from the NICU, the Owlet sock gave me peace that my son was safely sleeping, even when I wasn’t watching him. I just needed to know he was alright all the time.”Heather, mom of three
“Years ago, I learned about the Owlet Smart Sock when my twins were in the NICU. At the time, it seemed like a product for preemie babies, or babies with health conditions. When we brought our twins home, we didn’t opt to use it. As a family, we needed to get away from the hospital atmosphere. Since then, the smart sock seems to be in more widespread use among parents of full-term, healthy babies.”Amanda, mom of three
Owlet also offers the Owlet Cam monitor and sleep training through its Dream Lab. Owlet has several additional products in the pipeline, including some in FDA submission for approval as medical devices. These include a wearable band for expectant mothers, a subscription pediatric telehealth service and technology-enabled nursery furniture.
In our experience, developing a winning growth strategy template takes teamwork and time. We shared a 12 step approach as follows:
- Architect the growth strategy team
- Prioritize growth strategy questions
- Create a growth strategy template in PowerPoint, sometimes called a “shell deck”
- Capture hypotheses on growth strategy options from stakeholders, sponsors, and core team
- Gather secondary date and leverage reports and studies available to address the priority questions
- Meet as a core team to review the summarized data
- Reframe growth strategy hypotheses with first-cut fact base review completed
- Assign resources to fill in important data gaps before testing growth strategy options with customers and prospects
- Develop stimulus for growth strategy options and test starting ideas with customers and prospects
- Vet growth strategy options with internal prospects
- Core team review of the growth strategy template and recommendations
- Core team meets with executive stakeholders or the board