Head of Content
We need to move away from talking about women on maternity leave as having a “career break” to celebrate this as a positive part of CVs, argued political commentator Peter Kellner on International Women’s Day. These are women who have become immensely skilled at multitasking, time management, organisation, conflict resolution, and are people who can work flat-out when dog tired.
Well said that man, as there’s no doubt in my mind that these skills are as valuable to professional relationships as they are at home. But there’s another reason digital marketers are at an advantage with new parents on their side: For we’ve been out in the field, bursting with thousands of questions that brands are falling over themselves to answer. And as anyone who’s been there will tell you, hitting the right note with a perpetually multitasking and sleep-deprived carer – especially on mobile – is no mean feat. Need to test your digital content? You won’t find a more discerning audience.
People say there’s no manual when it comes to caring for babies, but there is: It’s called Google. (God knows how people brought up children without it). Yes, there are hundreds of books – Keep Calm: The New Mum’s Manual is a good ’un – but whether you’re tethered by bottle or boob to your little one it’s your smart phone that becomes your best friend, your doctor, your bible; your lifeline.
Add one-click shopping into the mix and the spending power of the new parent is immense. In the first three months I would have handed over my life savings for the answers to broken sleep, how to complete any task with a baby in tow and if it is even possible to shift that stain. I nearly did to Amazon.
Never before has online content seemed so valuable, or others’ opinions so interesting, and never before have I dedicated so much of my time to seeking it out – on forums, Facebook groups, blogs, reviews, columns or, best of all, the NCT WhatsApp group.
Of course brands know this – we’re their golden ticket. From the free brand packs at your first midwife appointment to the in-store weaning events, there are selling opportunities at every milestone. And in these, hundreds of examples for digital marketers to learn from.
The bad: A tongue-in-cheek guide introducing new dads to the washing machine that left everyone looking stupid. Mobile pop-up ads you don’t have the dexterity to minimise at 3am whilst holding a screaming baby you’re desperately trying to find out how to calm. And the 2,000+ words on nap training you’re sure are really useful but are equally sure you’re not going to get through today between nappy changes, feeding, burping, rocking, singing, cleaning, crying…
And the good: BabyCentre’s bite-size tips, milestone lists and even infamous nappy gallery served up at exactly the right times – proving that useful content targeted intelligently can be repackaged again and again. Light relief posts from www.theuphill.com, reviewing products that have since found their way to my door. And the Baby Feed app that has replaced my memory.
So next time you need a second opinion on whether your comms will have cut-through, ask a new parent. We don’t have time to mince words.
Jo-ann is mum to Harrison, six months
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