Moms and loyalty — the power of the I-Network

May 25, 2011 | by Sharon Goldman

I read this blog post about Moms and loyalty with great interest: The post noted new consumer research that shows that many consumers value the ability to research multiple brands over sticking with tried-and-true brands. As Moms are often the primary decision-maker when it comes to shopping, the post continues, these women would clearly be impacted by this trend.

I don’t, however, agree with the title of the post, which posits the question, “Has the Internet killed the brand loyalty of Moms?” That is, does the fact that Moms now have the ability to do research before purchasing, and value that ability, mean that they are as a result going to be less loyal to brands?

At COLLOQUY, we have been reporting for months on a long-term trend we call the “I-Network.” All consumers have the ability to put the “I” into their shopping experiences — they can shop where they want, when they want, and receive marketing messages where and when they choose to. If loyalty marketers want to reach consumers, including Moms, they need to reach them how they want to be reached. In addition, Moms and other consumers have the previously unheard of ability to easily and effectively do research about purchases online prior to shopping.

Nothing about the “I-Network,” however, is necessarily a negative — including how it affects the Mom consumer. What it does mean, however, is that brand loyalty is no longer a given. A Mom who was brought up using a certain brand of detergent, for example, may decide to switch if she discovers a new option that is a better value or works better. Or, she may decide to switch the grocery store she frequents most often.

This can actually be a good thing for loyalty marketers: It means a Mom’s loyalty is up for grabs and that if you can offer a Mom a better value proposition and reach her in a way she wants to be reached, you can develop a long-term relationship with that Mom that she appreciates and sticks with.

In our cover story from last May, The Mom Effect, we discussed the $2.1 billion in spending power that 83 million U.S. Moms wield. The key for loyalty marketers is not to worry about Moms doing research on other companies or brands — it is to her in the most appropriate way to inspire her not to switch…but to stay loyal with a long-term, two-way relationship.

Marketers can gain data and insights to better target Mom, for example, as Hallmark does with its Crown Rewards program. Companies can also work to offer convenience and value to time-starved Moms, as Huggies does with its Enjoy the Ride Rewards program. And, retailers can work to optimize its merchandising and store layout to appeal to Moms, as Sam’s Club does in its aisles.

The Internet has not killed the brand loyalty of Moms — not by a longshot. The only thing that can kill brand loyalty is a poor loyalty marketing strategy that does not take into account the power if the I-Network.

Topics: Consumer Behavior , Loyalty Programs , Marketing , Retail - General , Shopper Marketing

Sharon Goldman / In her role as Senior Editor, Sharon writes and edits stories for COLLOQUY magazine. She helps develop future communications and research initiatives, and also works on white papers and thought leadership content for other lines of business within LoyaltyOne.
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