09/10/2012 05:06 EDT | Updated 11/10/2012 05:12 EST

Marketing To Mom: Not As Simple As You Think

little boy getting on bus
little boy getting on bus

Companies discovered years ago that "mom" was the most influential consumer on the planet. She makes a strong majority of all household purchases from groceries, to clothing, to the family car, and also decides where to get services for the family, like banking, insurance and cable, phone and internet. She wields a lot of power and yet, many marketers seem to have a hard time engaging with her and delivering what she wants and needs.

Here are three important insights about moms that every marketer should know:

Don't tell mom she's a "Superwoman": Being labelled a superhero sounds like a very positive experience. Problem is, mom already has a lot to live up to. She has a hundred jobs at home and, in many cases, a 9-to-5 job on top. Without realizing it, marketers and communicators who encourage mom to be a Superwoman add unwanted pressure. Think about it, Superwoman doesn't fail, she has super powers and she does it all without breaking a sweat. Easy, right? For "real" mom, not so much. Mom is multifaceted, yes, but she doesn't want the expectation that she's perfect at all she does, every minute of every day.

When it comes to mom, you have to rethink the term "aspirational." Telling mom she can have it all suggests she doesn't have enough or needs more. Most of the time that suggestion -- that she could have or do more -- really ticks her off. Instead, mom actually aspires to having more time -- time alone or time to do the things she never gets a chance to do. Careful when you suggest your product or service will make her life better -- what she really wants is real convenience that gives her more control.

The Mommy Wars are a sensational myth. The battle between working moms and stay-at-home moms has been a long-standing topic. While it's been great fodder for books and magazines, and many marketing campaigns, it turns out the divide is overblown. It turns out that no matter what they do between 9 and 5, moms are more alike than different. Their No. 1 similarity? Their commitment to being a mom and their commitment to doing what's right for their family -- be it staying home or heading back to work. While the mommy wars fired them up for the last decade or more, it appears it's a tired a phony topics. Moms are weary of the discussion and the brands that perpetuate it.

These are just three insights. By no means do they capture the complexity of moms today. But, if you're marketing to mom (and, if you sell a product or service whatsoever, you probably are) it's worth getting to know those complexities and how they get translated into the vastly growing network of consumer moms.

(Check out this infographic for more insight on Canadian moms)

Marketers today need to be speaking with their customers on a continuing basis, and should be trying to understand much more than their purchasing or media habits. There's a great proverb "If speaking is silver, then listening is gold." So, go get the gold and make your mom proud.