Finds Moms Are Buzzing About Brands

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New research released by BabyCenter reveals that today's pregnant women and new moms engage in one-third more word of mouth conversations per day than the total public or women and almost two-thirds of these conversations include brand recommendations. This group has an average of 109 word of mouth conversations per week about products, services and brands, most of which are positive and considered highly credible by other moms.

The BabyCenter/Keller-Fay Word of Mouth Marketing Study, conducted in the first quarter of 2008, shows that 60 percent of conversations among this group carry with them a recommendation to buy, try or consider the brands under discussion and positive brand sentiment outweighs negative by a 10:1 margin. The credibility of word of mouth measured higher for pregnant and new moms than for the total U.S. public or women in every category measured. Among the mom segment, word of mouth about shopping, retail and apparel is highly impactful, with 69 percent likely to purchase based on what was heard.

The study showed that moms have much more on their minds than toys and car seats. Half or more of all moms surveyed report having at least one conversation per day about technology, financial services, health care, food/dining, media/entertainment, packaged goods, shopping and retail experiences. In fact, eight of the top ten most talked about brands listed in the study are retailer, consumer electronic or soft drink brands. On average, pregnant and new moms engage in seven conversations per week about technology and eight conversations per week about both beverages and shopping-related topics. Within these conversations they mention five technology brands, six beverage brands and eight retailer brands on average.

The majority of discussions about brands and products occur in person, but much of this talk is stimulated and informed by content moms have been exposed to through media channels such as the Internet and TV. Among pregnant and new moms, the Internet is the #1 driver of word of mouth, beating out all other forms of media, including TV, magazines and outdoor.

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"Moms have a natural desire to share ideas and information with each other. The rich content and community experience found on the Internet plays a key role in driving these conversations," said Tina Sharkey, chairman and global president, BabyCenter, LLC. "For marketers, having the validated insight that the Internet is the leading media driver of word of mouth for moms can help them shape their media and marketing budgets, plans and ultimately creative execution and messaging."

The study also found that pregnant and new moms are more likely to qualify as word of mouth influencers. Close to 1 in 5 pregnant and new moms were identified as word of mouth leaders or Conversation Catalysts, based on their recommending behavior and size of social network. This number is 60 percent higher than the total public and 45 percent higher total women.

"Moms and moms-to-be are tremendously engaged in word of mouth, not only about products relating to their children but across all product categories," said Ed Keller, CEO, the Keller Fay Group and co-author of The Influentials. "If you want to reach a group of highly engaged consumers who are actively engaged in word of mouth to learn and share consumer experiences, this is a 'must reach' group of consumers."

Study Methodology

The Keller Fay Group interviewed a sample of 1,721 pregnant women and new mothers in January 2008. Respondents completed an online survey probing specific details about their conversations about brands, across 14 categories, during the 24 hours that immediately preceded the survey. Respondents were asked to report on any form of conversation, whether it occurred face to face, over the phone, or through the Internet. Respondents were recruited via a combination of the BabyCenter 21st Century Mom Panel, BabyCenter's website, and an external panel. Qualified respondents were women age 18 and older who are either pregnant, and/or have a child or children five years and under, and/or are trying to get pregnant. Comparisons to the total public and total women are drawn from TalkTrack, Keller Fay's ongoing study of the nation's word of mouth conversations.

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