They make most of the household spending choices; need an endless supply of products, and will keep their job for the rest of their lives. Is it any wonder that mothers are the focus of intensive brand loyalty campaigns?
Building Brand Loyalty with Mothers
If ever there’s an important time for brand loyalty, it’s when it comes to mothers. Ask any parent and they will wearily tell you of the endless, (and endlessly evolving) consumer demands that parenthood brings; nappies, kid-friendly food, toys, school uniforms, buggies, and sometimes even bigger ticket items like cars and new homes.
It’s a heady time for consumer and business alike, as the new mother’s needs and spending philosophy instantly shift; and the business has to move fast if they want to develop an ongoing relationship.
Certainly businesses are incentivised to build a relationship with parents: A Nielsen survey in the States found that women are controlling over 80% of consumer purchases, and that their purchasing power covers everything from household items to cars.
Closer to home, an EU Mom survey (powered by Amárach) found that families with kids account for 70% of all spending in Ireland; and mothers do most of the spending in the family home. Indeed 72% of mothers are solely responsible for what goes on the grocery list and 98% are responsible for bills/budgeting.
Marketing to new mothers represents an immense opportunity, but also a tricky one: Spending habits change, not just in the items they purchase, but in their shopping values as well. For instance, mothers are less likely to treat themselves and are more likely to put the money aside for their child. And they’re not strictly brand-loyal, preferring to shop around and experiment to find the best combination of value, quality and appeal to parent and child.
A number of global franchises have ploughed a lot of thought (and money) into building brand loyalty with mothers. You’ll see some examples below, with distinct approaches. However, the three tenets they have in common are communication, investment and customer understanding. All of these brands have invested heavily, are generous with their drivers and all have in-built loyalty programmes based on getting to know mothers better.
Selling to parents – just like parenting itself – is a long game.
Bringing up Baby: How Major Brands in Ireland are investing in Loyalty for Mums
Ikea: “Ikea Family”
The Swedish home-ware giant is planning to open its second Dublin shop (in Carrickmines), expanding on the huge success of its Ballymun branch. Their ‘Ikea Family’ loyalty programme offers discounts on family-friendly items (such as baby blankets and books), freebies at their restaurants, workshops and events.
Ikea Family works slightly differently from typical retail loyalty programmes, in that it’s not strictly tied to rewarding purchases based on money spent. Instead, it’s based on constant communication and perks big and small.
Members of Ikea Family enjoy monthly benefits, additional reductions on sale items, free tea and coffee when they visit, a regular magazine and workshops on how to better organise their home.
Recently they introduced “Swipe a Surprise,” a competition that guaranteed a prize for every Ikea Family member who entered. That prize could be anything from a hot beverage to a family holiday.
Mothercare: “Family Card & App”
Not surprisingly, the children’s goods chain pays close attention to brand loyalty through the use of their new Loyalty Programme: Parents are rewarded with redeemable points (worth €5) just for downloading the Mothercare app. The app keeps payment details (making purchases easier), contains the company’s blog and product reviews, and information on relevant events. Mothercare also has a points system for customers, which the app keeps track of.
Its points system is appealingly simple, with Family Card holders earning 5% back on every €1 spent. Members are also privy to invites to “VIP events,” member-only offers and bonus point promotions.
In addition to redeemable points for every purchase, Mothercare also rewards shoppers for the information they share: “The more information you provide,” says its website, “the more points you collect!”
Boots: “Parenting Club”
To cultivate their relationship with parents, Boots have a “Parenting Club” which offers points, personalised offers (based on previous purchases), expert advice, email correspondence and even free gifts.
Parents are offered 10 points for every €1 spent, which is more generous than the average programme. However, unlike some similar loyalty sub-clubs, this one is strictly finite – lasting from pregnancy until the child is three years old.
Tesco: “Baby Club”
The Tesco Clubcard is practically iconic, but their loyalty programme extends to parents too, with lavish competition prizes (such as €1,000 baby goods hampers), €12 off the first shop over €60 and tailored and speculative offers based on shopping habits.
Tesco also frequently maintains and updates its blog, advising parents on every step of their journey (with the conversation beginning during early pregnancy). Useable advice and friendly communication help to maintain a pleasant relationship between a business and its customers.
Mums can also take advantage of the Tesco Boost Partners where they get four times the value of their Tesco vouchers to use with Boost Partners, e.g. Dublin Zoo, Milanos or Bowling Buddies – a great way for them to spoil the family.
Aptimil and Cow & Gate – “Apticlub” and “C&G Babyclub”
Both of these formula providers take a similar approach to customer loyalty; focusing on providing a steady stream of advice, news on parenting trends and interactive communications. Indeed, Aptaclub offers a live chat online for parents.
Aptaclub’s blog deals with parenthood by describing what parents can expect week-by-week; while C&G Babyclub has an elaborate website separated by stages of development; pregnancy, baby and toddler.
Loyalty Programmes: Building Relationships
People love value for money, but when it comes to loyalty programmes; that’s only part of the story. Whether they’re wandering the shop aisle, or interacting with friends, people like to feel valued.
All of the loyalty programmes mentioned above – and any successful one for that matter – invest in communication: It starts with blogs or other content; then it expands to sharing advice, meeting customers, asking for their view and encouraging parents to communicate with one another.
Throwing money at a programme (in the shape of discounts, gifts and vouchers) is appealing to customers and tempting for businesses. But – just like in everyday life – people feel most valued when they know they’re being listened to and talked to with care.