Two women sitting outdoors smiling

Motherhood stages are not created equal. I find it troubling when the term “mom” is all-encompassing and when “moms” are viewed as a singular unit. The transformation from when I had my first daughter 10 years ago to my son two and half years ago is astounding. As a first-time mom I made all my baby food, nursed until she was 12 months and took sign language classes. Conversely, my third child was bottled-fed, ate jarred baby food and his only sign language has come from watching “Sesame Street.” And I’m okay with it.

For both first-time and experienced moms, there is a common plea for marketers to abandon the glowing images of motherhood in favor of portraying the often messy reality. Authenticity speaks loudly! Yet, realism is interpreted differently by first-time and experienced mothers, so, it is useful for messaging to recognize the stages.

Moms change. There’s no question that preferences, challenges and decision-making processes they had with their first babies are different with three kids. Marketers who understand that the growth of “mom” undoubtedly impacts her behavior are empowered to design strategies that speak to mom’s language at every stage.

First-Time Moms: Under Pressure.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of first-time moms feel other moms judge their parenting decisions at least sometimes. Additionally, a survey done by BabyCenter shows the younger the mother, the more likely she was to stress about her social media image. First-time moms want the best for their babies, but they don’t always know what that is.

Call-to-action for marketers: the first-time mom is stressed to the max. She is feeling pressure, both self-imposed and from those around her. This is an opportunity for marketers to dial down on sharing perfect mom and baby images. Identify with them to show they are not alone and that uncertainty is normal.

Foster an authentic connection with first-time moms through content that shows real stories from other first-time moms. Today’s first-time mom is most likely a Millennial and is primed to turn to her social networks for camaraderie and advice. She spends about 17 hours per week on it. About 84% of millennial moms trust peer recommendations, meaning authentic one-to-one emotional connection is crucial. Present both brand- and user-generated content to make her feel at ease as she is establishing new routines, remembering milestones and ensuring the care and safety of her baby.

Experienced Moms: The Hurdles Change With Time.

The veteran mom feels more comfort than the newbies when it comes to parental pressure. The percentage of moms who feel that other moms judge her parenting decisions drops to 58%.

But, experienced moms still struggle, especially as their families grow. A study found that 65% of women are likely to be less happy in the first year or two after the birth of her second child. More than half (56%) experience significant changes in their marital or cohabiting relationship satisfaction and 52% experience significant shift in satisfaction with their financial situation once there are two children. Many also balance a job outside the home as close to 70% participate in the workforce. It’s no secret: this time in life is stressful.

Marketer call-to-action: while experienced moms know they don’t need to be perfect, they still juggle. They are the CEOs of their households and need to make smart family decisions, while maintaining difficult balancing acts.

The experienced mom craves convenience and relevancy, infused with unapologetic comedic honesty. She is on-the-go and looking for brands to help make sensible choices for her family. Equally, while she may be more confident than her rookie counterpart, she still doesn’t know everything and life can be overwhelming. If you can make her smile or laugh, it’ll go far.

It’s why What’s Up Moms has become a YouTube sensation. And when Luvs released its second-time moms campaign capturing the contrast between first and second kid, it showed how starkly priorities shift. Break down barriers with experienced moms, get on their level. Appeal to the efficacy and value of the brand, but also, connect on the “we get it” factor.

For different reasons, real-life stories are incredibly valuable to this group. Having an authentic relationship with your mom customers starts with brands being real. This can mean creating a custom dialogue with different moms so it’s relevant and resonates with them. Or it can mean letting other moms tell their personal stories with your brand versus pushing out your agenda through messaging.

Marketers that wipe the mom slate clean and recognize the variety among moms have the greatest opportunity to create genuine and lasting relationships.