It’s time for mommy bloggers and brands to step up

August 06, 2009

It’s time for mommy bloggers and brands to step up

Women have long been the coveted targets of marketers. So when women, including moms, took to blogging, they gave CPG brands a direct path, perhaps one that could be so effective that it would eliminate or at least minimize investments in other mommy-focused traditional media. Perhaps a new medium that is just as effective as word of mouth for the masses.  

Sounds good so far. Women bloggers hum on their daily fix of transmitting their personal words and knowing they might be read. They have a global electronic platform. Many have thousands of followers. Many might think they’re on the verge of a new career in journalism. But too often they’d be wrong.  Some mommy bloggers let it fly, mix opinions with facts, and don’t confirm accuracy enough before hitting the send key.  Therefore, caveat emptor, brand marketers and retailers. Don’t be naïve about the risks of dealing with enthusiastic self-promoter bloggers who typically lack the disciplines and training of journalists.  (By the way, we feel men are equally guilty. But this is an essay on marketing to mommy bloggers, hence the female focus.)

Done well, brands can ride the wave of mommy blogger excitement.  In their quest to be first to place a new experience on the Internet, we saw dozens of mommy bloggers Tweeting away while we were giving grilling tips and other supermarket shopping secrets in a webcast sponsored by Hebrew National.  The guidebook for brand marketers to mix it up with mommy bloggers is still taking shape, but urges CPG and retailers to be transparent and selective about the online efforts they conduct.

Events such as the BlogHer ’09 conference in Chicago can be a great place to connect, share knowledge and ply swag upon eager mommy bloggers. PepsiCo seems convinced. Jill Beraud, the company’s global chief marketing officer, told Ad Age: “”We believe it’s the way of communicating in the future, so this is not a short-term ROI…this is really an investment in our brands and understanding our consumers.”

If so, then blogger integrity is a must in order to encourage even-handed treatment. One positive step is the creation of the Blog with Integrity group. Says the founder on her Mom101 blog: “We are committed to integrity, responsibility and disclosure…a few bad apples do not speak for all of us. Not even close. We may not have editors that we're accountable to, but we do have each other.”

Only with trust can readers believe what bloggers say. Having an audience doesn’t make a blogger right. Only facts can do that. There’s a long way to go to tame the blogosphere. The trick for brands and stores is not to get hurt along the way.