Single moms are the new norm. What does that mean for your "mom" target?
BY STEPHANIE PEIROLO
If your marketing targets moms, then what you don’t know could hurt your bottom line.
Here’s an eye-opening stat: 57% of millennial moms are single moms. That’s more than 16 million of the women in the U.S. making 100% of household purchases. The math is undeniable!
Here are four insights that could unlock massive opportunities for marketers who take them to heart:
Stereotypes about single moms are NOT reality.
The sweeping stereotype that single moms are broken, can’t make ends meet, and desperate because they don’t have a wedded partner is FALSE. Turns out that single moms are more like married and partnered moms than they are different. In fact, 58% of single moms have attended college or have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many choose single motherhood, are co-parenting, and kicking butt at being a mom. They are powerful consumers who demand your brand’s attention and want to see themselves accurately represented in your advertising.
“I feel very aware of the perceptions of single moms and I feel they are overwhelmingly negative.” (Faith, mother of 3)
“When people think single moms, they think working three or four jobs and not making ends meet. I have a great career, I can afford a house.” (Lori, mother of 1)
Stereotypes alienate people. When a brand portrays single moms in ways that don’t reflect their lives, they turn away from it. Research the single moms in your target audience, find out how they actually live, and write that into your briefs. Then go a step further and make sure that your work shows single moms working, having fun with their kids, and living full lives. If every mom in your advertising is married, white and wearing a cardigan, then you’re missing something.
Single moms have an identity outside of “mom”.
The single moms we talked to have interests outside of raising children. They work hard at their jobs, they’re involved in their communities, and they take time for themselves. They indulge with beauty treatments, make time for hobbies, eat meals out alone, and go out with friends. Any experience they can have without their children can become a treat.
“We make time for ourselves, we do things for ourselves. It’s about balancing life …. You have to have time for yourself and your own identity.” (Lori, mother of 1)
“My mother taught me that a happy mom is a happy house. So, if you’re not happy, that is something that should take priority and it’s ok to take priority.” (Faith, mother of 3)
Your brand should add value to their busy lives.
Single moms don’t have time to shop, compare prices, or read labels, so they stick with brands they trust for consistent quality and value. They’re creative in making the most of their time and money, and they appreciate brands that help them with that. And while they watch their spending, they still often prioritize convenience, quality, healthy choices, and style. They’re loyal to brands that provide these because it gives them much-needed short cuts when shopping.
“The pace of being a single mom … is mania. It’s constant.” (Faith, mother of 3)
“Time is not on your side when you are the only income in the household, things have to run as smooth as possible.” (Mara, mother of 3)
Single moms are fiercely passionate and dedicated to raising good humans.
We also talked to the kids of single moms. We found that they are independent, well-adjusted, and financially and personally responsible. They’re proud of their mothers and respect what they do. And single moms are very intentional about giving their children the tools to become successful adults. They invite other adults into their children’s lives from family and the community. They think about parenting, they’re self-aware, and they seek information about being better parents. They’re also honest and they want spaces where they can talk with other moms about the real-life experiences and difficulties they face.
“I honestly can’t really tell you what it feels like to be raised by a single mom because my mom, she really filled both positions (of mom and dad), flawlessly. There’s a lot to my mom that even I didn’t see because that’s how she carries herself because she’s not dependent on anyone.” (Mara’s teenaged son)
“I wanted Ella to have an equal playing field with kids in her school when she started kindergarten. So, I scrimped and saved to buy us a house.” (Lori, mother of 1)
Single moms are a major economic force. Marketers who ask them about their lives, listen to their answers, offer solutions to their problems, and move past stereotypes can win their long-term loyalty — and a lot of their hard-earned dollars.