Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business Marketing

Marketing real estate to women – the evolving mommy factor

Many companies market to women, after all, they are the purchase decision makers these days, but companies use old information to reach out, thus wasting effort. Let’s dissect this…

Many companies market to women, after all, they are the purchase decision makers these days, but companies use old information to reach out, thus wasting effort. Let's dissect this...

Mothers and babies playing in the park, photo by Peter Merholz.

The strength of mommies

There are many blogs and books devoted to marketing to mothers and in American culture, women play a pivotal role in real estate decision making. Women are no longer delegated to being pregnant and cooking in the kitchen, in fact, that hasn’t been commonplace in many decades. Women are empowered and in most houses, their opinion is just as valuable as a husband’s, so many real estate companies take advantage of this fact and spend a great deal of money attempting to reach these moms. A local builder in Texas has an ad campaign that shows a happy nuclear family on a sofa and notes that if mom’s happy, everyone’s happy, so come buy their product, generic mom.

There are many reasons to appeal to mothers, but many companies (not necessarily just in real estate) are doing so at the expense of non-mothers. The local builder ad rubs some women the wrong way, not because it’s cheesy, but because the definition of mother and of family is evolving and not only are women having children later in life, but many are choosing not to at all.

The White House Report on Women in America[1] reveals some shocking information on this evolution. First, more women than in the past have never had a child and in 2008, 18 percent of women age 40-44 have never had a child which has doubled since 1976. There has been a sharp rise in women age 25-29 who have not had a child, jumping from 31 percent in 1976 to 46 percent in 2008. The study reveals that the likelihood of a woman having her first child at age 30 or older increased roughly six-fold from about four percent of all first-time mothers in the 1970s to 24 percent in 2007, while 14 percent of first-time moms are age 35 and older.

What does this mean for the mommy factor?

The mommy factor is changing, there is no question. Women are waiting longer to get married and have children, but many marketers are running on the assumption that if a woman is of drinking age, there is a green light to market to her as a mother. Some women are choosing not to have children at all, not because of physical issues but simply as a lifestyle choice.

What this means for real estate companies is that marketing real estate to women under the assumption that they are mothers or even want to be mothers is wrong. Endless flyers mailed out proclaim, “moms, get an extra room for that new bundle of joy” or “if mom’s not happy, no one is happy.” In 50 years, we’ll look back and laugh on this flawed thinking, just as we now laugh at the idea of yesteryear that women should not go to college, rather, should be at home, barefoot and pregnant.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

One motherhood status is not necessarily superior to the other, but motherhood in America is simply a evolving reality- the US Census reports that 46 percent of women in America are not mothers… and that’s just through age 44. Nearly half of all women being marketed to are not mothers yet get “Dear [insert lady’s name that lives at X address], we wish you a happy mother’s day and hope you enjoy your day. Love, Realtor People” emails and mailers.

Tapping into the mommy market is like tapping into the Oprah fan market- they’re golden. They’re loyal, spread brand messages well and often rely on peer recommendation for their own brand decisions. The problem is that the mommy market is only half of all women in America, but marketing professionals pitch ideas as if every woman is a mother.

The growing gray area

The gray area that most won’t talk about is that a growing number of women are not mothers, not because they chose a high powered career and shoulder pads over human creation, but because they can’t have children. Many women have spent years attempting invitro fertilization to no avail, others have had stillborn children and want badly to be mothers, and others are infertile. This growing group hurts deeply with every “Happy mother’s day” email and every “oh, your future children will love this house” comment, and that hurt can cause women to avoid the brand who committed the inadvertent pain, despite knowing it wasn’t intentional. There is a growing group of  ‘tweeners… women who want to be mommies but either cannot or have difficulty doing so.

Real estate professionals, there ARE smart ways to brand to women. One national real estate brokerage hires female bloggers age 25-30 because their digital presence is specifically targeting that demographic, so stories are told in a relatable voice. Because they do that, their chances of spreading the “you must be a mom because you’re female” message is slim. Don’t assume women are, want to, or can be mothers; try to keep it neutral as you pursue your marketing to the equal decision makers of today.

[1]White House Report: Women in America

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. JBond

    August 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Great demographic to target, but as you said not all women over the age of 21 are moms. Good to keep that in mind.

  2. Why not? Mommy bloggers tend to rule the blogosphere. It is smart to market to them, my wife makes as much as I do and she is smarter with our money than I am

  3. Property Management

    August 30, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Most effective marketers nowadays are women. And it will not be surprising if they will dominate the Internet in promoting different businesses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Social Media

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is updating its trends page as another step in its revamping process.

Business Marketing

(MARKETING) Whether an anomaly or the new normal, publishers are seeing diminished reach with text content on this popular site.

Tech News

(TECH NEWS) Panda is so helpful for organizing web browsing that companies like Facebook, Google, Uber, and Trello, have already been using it for...

Business News

(MARKETING NEWS) This Stanford study tested schoolkids’ ability to assess the value of digital media and their take on fake news ads.

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.