A Portrait of the Gen Y Mom for Marketers

Luckie and Co. has released a portrait of the Gen Y mom, which is expected to be the fastest growing consumer segment we’ve seen since the WWII baby boom. Below are some of the juicier tidbits for you.

The Numbers: Gen Y has roughly 80 million members. The leading edge of this generation has begun turning 30 this year and approximately 9 million are already moms.

The Importance of Brand Names: Gen Y moms’ attitudes, values and beliefs were shaped during their formative years in the prosperous 1990s. (Nothing like that kind of stat to make this Gen X’r feel old!) As tweens they had stylishly decorated bedrooms from Pottery Barn and $100 American Girl dolls on their beds. They spent spring break in places like Cancun, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. They’ve always had their own computer, TV, DVD player, cell phone and MP3 player. Mass affluent brands like Coach, Tommy Hilfiger and Dooney & Bourke were standard gear.

The Look: As young teens they were pampered with manicures and pedicures and drank $3 lattes on their way to high school. As moms they’re likely to push their infants in $700 Bugaboo strollers and carry $300 Kate Spade diaper bags. Appearance for both themselves and their children will be very important.

The Attitude: Gen Y moms also grew up in an era of teamwork (versus individuality/do-it-myself for Gen Xers). They have very strong relationships with their mothers, many of whom are Boomers, and these Boomers moms will likely play a big role in helping Gen Y mom raise her children (an appreciated team approach). Boomer mom will be a highly trusted source of not only child-raising information, but also brand/product/service information.

The Outlook: Their teachers and parents always told them they could do no wrong. They were taught to voice their opinions and expect results when they did so. They are not “control freaks” like their Boomer moms were, but they like to be in control. Individuality is important, but not at the expense of group structure.

The Pendulum Factor: These emerging moms are exhibiting a return to traditional values exhibited by the Mature generation (who are Gen Y’s grandparents and many call The Greatest Generation). As teenagers and young adults, volunteerism, philanthropy and religion have all played a big role in their lives and impacted their thinking on everything from work to politics to family life. They are very in tune with not just local issues, but global issues that relate to the wellness of others and the planet. Another similarity to the Greatest Generation has been found in several studies with Gen Y females. These studies have found a desire for having more children and starting to raise their families at a younger age than Boomers or Xers did. This will lead Gen Y to be a powerful mom force for several decades.

The Web: The Internet will continue to be a huge player in daily life. Gen Y moms will use it to broaden their circle of friends (or tribes as some have called them), joining social networks and blogging their experiences with like-minded moms. Information and insights gleaned from these trusted social networks will be very powerful and generally hold much more value than all but the most focused marketing messages.

The Marketing: This is the most marketing-savvy generation ever seen. This coupled with their mastery and reliance on the Internet for word-of-mouth information from moms in their social-networking circles, will leave traditional marketers with a very challenging proposition for creating brand connections. Their Internet and social-networking savvy has created a generation of moms who are used to being (and expect to be) involved in the creation of ideas and content. They don’t want marketers selling to them; rather they want to be invited and engaged by brands. They know they have a strong voice and expect marketers to listen and adapt to them, not the other way around.

I’d say it’s a smart brand who starts securing the Gen Y Mom’s loyalty now. As their numbers grow, so will their conversations and, by extension, your potential sales.

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