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Mobile and Social: Researching the Millennial Mom

Posted On  May 3, 2016

Marketers are eager to understand the behaviors, opinions and attitudes of the elusive Millennial moms. A lot has changed in marketing and research in the last five years, but the importance of new techniques slapped me in the face at a focus group I moderated, where one mom told me she only pays attention to marketing messages she can access on her smartphone. The others nodded and another mom chimed in, “When I want advice on what to buy, I just post it on my Facebook feed and I can get lots of recommendations.” In that moment it became clear to me that in order to understand moms, we need to make sure our research techniques capture them where and how they live. That means we should hone in on mom’s strongest relationships outside of her family – the one with her mobile device and her virtual relationships developed on social media.

Millennial moms are mobile. Research them on the go.

Get a bird’s eye view of millennial moms’ purchase decision-making process with mobile-enabled DIY ethnographic approaches. Most moms under the age of thirty-five keep their smartphones within arms’ length at all times, including while shopping. They use their phones to find product ideas, get recommendations, compare features and prices, look for deals and decide where to shop. Online self-narrated ethnographies allow moms to share their thoughts, feelings and behaviors along the path to purchase. Last year, respondent-made shopping videos helped me understand the specific indicators that communicate a “safe” baby product to new moms in China.

Millennial moms are mobile. Keep their surveys mobile-friendly.

I will avoid lecturing you all on the need for short surveys here. I think you’ve heard it before and you get it, even if it’s hard to do.

Millennial moms talk on social media. Find out what they’re saying.

Moms have always sought personal recommendations to make purchase decisions, but now these recommendations stretch across the Internet. Social media analytic tools allow us to better understand the nature of this new form of word of mouth, giving us new ways to measure how often moms talk about particular brands or products, the extent to which the conversation is positive or negative, and ways in which life hacks can be converted into new product ideas.

Millennial moms talk on social media. Find out what which ones lead the conversation.

An LRW study of a campaign around Mother’s Day identified thousands of relevant posts on Twitter alone and found that seven of the top eight contributors influencing the social media conversation were a unique group of mom bloggers. If marketers want to influence word of mouth, researchers can play a role by identifying the most respected voices for their particular category.

Millennial moms are active, engaged, and accessible. By embracing mobile and social research techniques, marketers can uncover new insights and discover what gets new moms going – and connect and convert with them while they’re on the go.

Lori Collins-Jarvis has a PhD from USC and was a professor of Communications at Rutgers University before coming to LRW, a Material Company, 17 years ago. Lori has conducted research across a variety of categories, including home entertainment, TV, technology, toys, retail and OTC and is experienced in social media analytics.


  1. Great post Lori. I’d contend that opinions and impressions of millennial moms have even more impact than we realize – it’s far greater than what they purchase, rather the incredible influence that they have on others’ shopping decisions (especially within retail).

  2. Can’t stress enough how crucial it is that surveys be smartphone-compatible for young, busy audiences like these. Recent segmentation survey among moms of infants, due to being mobile-compatible, had nearly HALF take the survey on their phone. The sample would have been badly biased without including them.

  3. Great article. Quoting Nielsen here “recommendations from friends remain the most credible form of advertising among consumers with big brands coming in to a close second”. It’s no surprise millennial moms take their search to Facebook and on the go. They want the best products and they want it now! It’s a why we built our app Fifome (Find for me). It allows you to leverage both our community of shoppers and Facebook friends by posting a picture of what you’re looking for and your budget and receive instant product recommendations.


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