Everyone is looking for the next best marketing initiative to connect their brand with moms and ultimately drive sales of their products.  As marketers, you have most likely dabbled in all the new marketing programs on Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram and Vine.  We all want to find the silver bullet – that one program starts the wildfire of word of mom!  2014 has seen a growth in two growing Mom Marketing trends- Ambassador Programs and In-Home Parties.

To witness the social media buzz of Ambassador Programs, cruise your favorite mom blogs to feel the excitement these women have created around being named to the Papa Murphy’s Mom Panel, HP Moms Panel or Claritin Mom’s Crew.  They are engaged online and offline with the sponsoring brand and produce millions of impressions and referrals for the brand that invested in a deeper relationship with them.   In-Home Parties are making their mark on social media and local communities as well.  Watch the hashtags #DisneySide #HPSmartMomPanel and #PapaMurphysMNO on Twitter to read the millions of tweets that thousands of moms have posted.

At first glance, marketers and agencies might think it’s time to go into launch mode and begin throwing parties around the country or invest in the first proposal that hits their desk.  But buyers beware!  Like any marketing program, these initiatives are only successful with the right mix of people, strategy and execution.   We’ve put together a few considerations marketers and brand owners should heed before rolling out the carpet to mom panelists and party hosts.

1)     Creating a Mom’s Panel requires a larger budget and a longer commitment than your most recent mom campaign.
Doing it right can, rather should, cost you more than a blogger tour or a full-page ad in a parenting publication.  If you see a price tag that doesn’t have six figures, something is missing.  A Mom’s Panel requires the brand to invest in long-term, unpaid relationships with moms that include constant engagement via product samples, promotions and consistent dialogue. It also requires a commitment of 12 months to 5 years.

2)     Not every mom is the right mom for your brand.
This cautionary phrase is one that I say as often as I say my nightly prayers.  You can’t successfully launch a Mom’s Panel or In Home Parties if you are using a database of moms that is used over and over by multiple brands.  For both types of programs, it is necessary to select the right moms for your brand.  If your plan of execution doesn’t include a solid platform to screen the moms during the selection process, you won’t be successful.

3)      Jumping before you look will only take you to the bottom.
It’s exciting to watch other brands use new marketing initiatives that seem promising for your brand. You see their hashtags trending and their brand floods your news stream. However, jumping into the mix without a clear vision for your ultimate desired results is dangerous.  Engaging moms in either of these new trends requires a solid communication plan between your brand and the moms you recruit.  Before you start the conversation make certain you have clear goals for the relationship.

Moms enjoy engaging with the brands they buy but they also like to know your expectations as a marketer.  Before engaging her with the latest and greatest marketing initiative, prepare your brand with a solid communication plan built on the right strategy. Sometimes it’s best to watch and listen before you react.