Hey, marketers! What’s been going on for the past couple of months?

So before I spout off about anything, I need to take a moment to thank Nicholas Kontopoulos and Martyn Etherington for their contributions to Marketing Magnified while I was on leave. We have some other submissions from folks like the incomparable John Petralia that we will include in future issues. Part of the fun of being with the CMO Council is seeing all of the thought leadership and insights across our membership base…but the fact that we could fire up the bat signal and have three amazing marketers heed our call for contributions is just extraordinary. I’m truly blessed to have you all in our corner. 

As far as what’s been going on with me…well, I’m including a not-so-shameless mom-brag moment here. Let me introduce you to my little CMO in training (although my other half insists she will be a future chief data scientist/programmer in training), Reagan Mary-Francis Brunner, who was born on March 24. Yes, yes…she is perfection in a onesie, I know. Oh wait—that might be my bias coming thru. 

So why share all of this about my daughter? It’s not like she is the first child to be born in some post-apocalyptic melodrama. Well, it’s because thanks to her, I have had a whole new window into the world of personalized marketing, and I have to say…it hasn’t been pretty. 

A post on Forbes by Ricardo Casas shared insights on “How to Market to Moms on Facebook.” The post went live on May 9, just about a month and a half after I became a first-time mom, so it was like my new world of being a mom was crashing into my world of being a marketer. The line that stuck out to me was this: “In general, mothers are growing weary of being the targets of direct marketing on Facebook and everywhere they go.”

Had I read this on March 24, 2016, I would have likely said, oh it can’t be that bad…at least no worse than the normal onslaught of pseudo-personalized marketing campaigns that litter the average Facebook feed or email inbox. But now, I couldn’t agree more…in fact, I kind of want to get it printed on a t-shirt. Enough. 

Here are just a couple things I have noticed: 

  • Almost nobody is getting it right—seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I have received emails from partners of our baby registry store asking if we have considered banking umbilical cord blood. This was fine pre-March 24, but I wasn’t aware I could bank cord blood for a 3-month-old. The record they purchased from the retailer includes the due date and gender of the baby, so…really? Three months late on the email delivery?
  • As a new mom with no sleep, I’ll buy pretty much anything that helps my baby in some way, but I don’t know what I don’t know. I am continuously surprised by promotions and experiences being sent my way that completely fail to share details on what most influences my buying decisions. I’ve been endlessly searching for reflux helpers, but I have yet to receive anything about products that address reflux. It’s an easy enough word to tag.
  • Product packaging in the world of baby does a terrible job of keeping up with the trends du jour. With conversations raging across mommy message boards about colic, reflux, brain development, etc., where are the packaging call-outs that reflect current conversations? It’s like half of the products on the shelves are responding to conversations that are so 2016. And in the age of immediate delivery and instant satisfaction, response to 2016 conversations just won’t drive 2017 business.
  • If I get another email from my healthcare provider that uses the “he” pronoun or fails to remember when she was born, I might just lose my mind. I gave birth two weeks early. Besides friends and family, do you know who else knows this? My healthcare network! So why did I get an email, two weeks after we had already come home, asking me if I was “ready for the big day: tips for the first days at home”? Uh, no…I wasn’t ready for the big day since it came two weeks ago. Thanks for nothing!

There is arguably nothing more personal than sending an email to a new mom about her new baby. But this also means there is nothing more rewarding or more damaging to a customer experience than getting the engagement wrong. So here I sit, trying to figure it all out in the face of a million opinions, suggestions and recommendations across a ridiculous number of channels that include digital, physical and my mother (who really is a channel of her own). Now is the time when a well-timed, relevant and compelling experience will absolutely earn my loyalty.

Until next month!


(AKA Reagan’s Mom)

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