Facebook’s clever (and slightly creepy) algorithms have obviously worked out that I’m pregnant. In fact, Facebook knew I was pregnant well before I’d announced it publicly. And judging by the specificity of the products and services being marketed to me, Facebook has also determined that I’m in my third trimester. If I suddenly start getting gender-specific baby ads I’ll be completely weirded out but until then, I’m intrigued and mildly amused by the procession of ads for maternity dresses, infant clothing, nappy options and nursery furniture that are currently littering my social media feeds.
There are hundreds of maternity and baby brands out there scrambling for a share of my mama-to-be money, and with good reason. The chemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of pregnancy have clearly removed any price-sensitivity or inner voice of reason when it comes to shopping for bub’s arrival. $1600 pram? Tick. $300 cocooning pillow for when the baby has trouble adapting to life post-womb? Tick. High tech video-based baby monitor system that would impress Elon Musk … tick. (in fact if there was an option that Elon Musk had designed, that wouldn’t have been out of the question).
Yes, despite warnings from all my friends on impending motherhood purchasing craziness, I have indeed lost my mind and bought more than necessary for one tiny human whose arrival is about to mark the biggest life stage change that any woman experiences.
But it’s not just organic bamboo onesies, eco nappies and a baby capsule on my shopping list with the bottomless budget.
In the past few weeks, with my July due date looming, I have painted the nursery, bought two rugs, an original artwork and an armchair, had new tyres fitted on the car, updated my will and increased my life insurance. I’ve also had 76 downlights converted to LED, had a plumber upgrade several taps, bought new carpet for the master bedroom and organised steam cleaning for every window and blind in the house. I’ve swept the kitchen and laundry cupboards of every toxic cleaning product and replaced them with chemical-free replacements. Ditto with my skincare. I’ve ordered a baby-proof net for the pool (a little ahead of schedule given the baby won’t be mobile for another six months but hey, safety first!).
I’ve even heeded the warnings of the impending avalanche of washing and non-existent time for meal preparation in the first few weeks after birth and invested in a new ‘family sized’ washing machine and fridge.
At risk of sounding like an OCD-suffering control freak who may well need a second mortgage before the baby arrives, the research shows I’m not alone. Pregnant women are 8 times more likely to be in the market for a new financial or insurance product, 12 times more likely to be considering a new electrical appliance and 15 times more likely to be shopping for a new car.
What’s surprising is I’m not seeing ads or messaging for any of these products or services in my mama-to-be social media feeds. Yes, I’m keen to discover all the latest instagram-worthy materinity dresses but I’m also more receptive to hearing about life insurance than I ever have. But no-one is talking to me about it.
Life Stage marketing, whether its to pregnant women, people turning 50 (when major life re-evaluation occurs), empty nesters, divorcees, retirees, newly independent school leavers or engaged couples, is often an overlooked opportunity for many brands that exist in ‘non-obvious’ categories.
Life stage changes all come with their own emotional, mindset and psychological triggers for consumers and as a result, timely promotional messages targeted to the right audience at the right time can result in valuable new customers and a wildly successful return on invested marketing dollar.
When you’re next planning your marketing strategy, consider these life stage shifts and the array of non-obvious, yet powerful, category alignments. It’s never been easier to target these life-stage segments – both online and offline.
Now, back to my Facebook feed to see if it’s worked out the baby’s gender …