Who's Your Mama?

So being a mom is the best, hardest, dirtiest, funniest, silliest, most rewarding and scariest job I have ever had. I could bore you with a million stories about my 2 little boys and I could tell you all about how I was told a million times I might never have kids….blah, blah, blah….every mom has battle scars and war stories, but I have yet to meet a mom that would change much of anything about the little people in their lives. We are fast approaching Mother’s Day. There are retailers out there doing anything they can to get folks into to get that perfect gift and make mom feel special. I mentioned in my last blog that I like to shop and I love to throw a party, but I will tell you a secret…my favorite thing about Mother’s Day is the art that is the preschool craft project. If it has a flower made from tissue paper or a hand print from one of my boys, it is going to make my Mother’s Day. Somewhere along the way, preschool teachers figured out that moms do not really want a handbag or new clothes or an edible arrangement from their kids (maybe from my husband). These saints that love other people’s children almost as much as their own realized that if your kid made you something and presented it from the heart, that even the awful mom in the movie Tangled might melt. I think they figured it out because so many of them are moms themselves.

So what does all of this have to do with marketing for small businesses in our lovely village? Every single client I have worked with in the past 4 years has had to make an impression with moms and women. When you Google “marketing to moms,” these are some of the statistics that come up:

  • 75% of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their household
  • Moms represent a $2.4 trillion market
  • 64% of moms ask other mothers for advice before they purchase a new product and 63% of all mothers surveyed consider other moms the most credible experts when they have questions
  • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care

When I meet with clients and start chatting about what they intend to do in the community to promote their businesses, almost invariably I ask what they are doing to get in front of moms and do they understand what a powerful marketing asset or liability moms are. In other words, like the interwebs confirm, moms talk to each other and for better or worse, the impression you make on a mom is going to follow you!

My most favorite former client is a company in Opelika that does HVAC installation, service and repair along with spray foam insulation. The product is not sexy at all. No one drives by anyone’s home and is jealous of what your HVAC system looks like, no woman can wear spray foam insulation as a fashion statement and no woman has ever made another woman jealous by getting an HVAC service contract for their anniversary. BUT, this company sees the value in educating the women decision makers on why they need to keep their HVAC in top working order, how air quality is affected by more than just how often you change the HVAC filters and they provide outstanding customer service. They understand what some huge advertising firms don’t, women are not shallow and unintelligent. These guys get that women are savvy and are not just making a decision for themselves, but are looking at the impact of their decision on their entire family. This company understands that they can be known as the guys who are jerks and give women the “little lady” treatment or they can be the guys that get rave reviews from their female customers when someone puts out a crowd source request on Facebook for a good HVAC company. They see the power in these statistics and like the preschool teachers that I adore, they are marketing in an effective way to the key decision maker in the home.

So remember your mom this year in a way that is going to make her feel incredibly special and loved. And if you are a small business owner, remember all of the moms in how you approach your marketing strategy. Remember that Lemonade Social is run by a mom that will figure out a way to get you in front of peers and help you grab some of the $2.4 Trillion that is out there to be spent!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tooting your own horn?

Lemonade Social has been up and running for a couple of months now. I am so excited to be out on my own and working for myself. So far, I have been fortunate and the business is picking up projects. I have also had the opportunity to speak to students at Southern Union State Community College at their 2nd Annual Ready to Work Soft Skills Seminar. And if you have read this far, I have to come clean and tell you that writing the last 3 sentences has made my stomach hurt and caused a scowl on my face that could lead to frown lines and crow’s feet. Everything I have said is true, so why is it making me cringe? Well because I am as southern as a butter bean and anything that borders on “tooting my own horn” makes me come close to breaking out in hives!

There is a funny story about how I chose marketing as my life’s calling. I started out at Auburn as a speech pathology major. I made it through my junior year in the curriculum and figured out that I HATED it. I mean the word loathe would be putting it lightly. So sitting on the bed in 209 Dobbs Hall on a fine spring afternoon, I picked up the phone (it was corded and I used a calling card) and with shaking hands dialed the number to my dad’s office. He picked up and I immediately burst into tears. Once he made sure I was not bleeding and got me calmed down enough to understand me, he sort of caught that I hated my major, that I wanted to change and I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. So he asked me what I loved to do most in the world, through tears and sobs my 21 year old self replied, “shopping and throwing parties.” He chuckled, which was good since I knew he was calculating in his head how much this was going to cost him, and said “Shug, you need a marketing a degree.” So off to the business school I went…

So my love of shopping and party planning got me this degree that pays me to “toot the horn" of others so to speak. I am really good at sitting down with a business owner and talking about what they do and why they are passionate about it. I can put together a plan and shout from the rooftops why everyone in Auburn and Opelika should call them for whatever good or service they provide, but when I sit down to do it for myself I am so afraid of sounding pompous or uppity that I second guess everything I put on paper, say to a group of students or post on social media. Until yesterday, I thought this might be a problem that was unique to me and my business, but apparently it isn’t. I sat across the table from a very successful professional consultant that I hope to make a client. Over the course of the conversation he mentioned a couple of times that effective marketing scared him in some ways because he was afraid of sounding cheesy or like a know it all. I left the meeting excited about the opportunity to potentially work with this gentleman and as I was recapping the meeting in my head a light bulb went off. A lot of business owners, especially those with small town enterprises, must have some of the same fears that I do about “tooting my own horn.” That revelation is huge for 2 reasons, 1) it helps me relate to my clients in a new and exciting way and 2) it helps to give myself permission to tell people that I am good at my job as long as I can back it up with client success stories. So, is tooting your own horn at the next class reunion something I recommend? No, absolutely not. Is tooting your own horn something that I think you can effectively do for your business, or better yet, allow me to help you do for your business? You bet!

Thank you for reading my little walk down memory lane. If Lemonade Social can help you and your business toot its horn, please call me!