Stealth Marketing to Moms

Stealth Marketing to Moms

REI’s mom-friendly marketing strategy doesn’t dilute their adventurous image

Some brands are faced with a marketing strategy quandary. How do they appeal to the Mom Market, which controls  $2.4 trillion of spending in the United States, while maintaining a youthful, adventurous image? These brands include companies like REI, a sporting-goods cooperative with about 110 retail stores and an online presence. We’ll take a look at how REI has successfully managed to appeal to moms and adventurers alike.

First, let’s explore why exercise and sports are important to Mom and how she influences the family’s purchase decisions. We identified exercise and sports as one of Mom’s hot-button themes in our book Tuning Into Mom. Many moms are highly involved in their children’s sports programs. The evidence for this can be found on any Saturday or Sunday morning by observing local sports fields, which are full of moms watching their children compete.

Beyond team sports, Mom is also interested in getting her family involved in other outdoor sports and activities. As her family’s “Chief Memory Officer,” Mom is responsible for creating, capturing and sharing family memories—and family outdoor activities are a great way to do that.

REI understands exercise and sports are important to Mom, and they bring that to their merchandising, store design and customer service approach. Meanwhile, REI maintains their “Get Outside Yourself” brand promise in marketing campaigns.

Nando Zucchi, Vice President of Marketing for Sog Knives and Tools, speaks about his experience with REI’s growth and marketing strategies:

"REI does a wonderful job of marketing to the family without alienating customers with more advanced skill levels. They have a big emphasis on the family with their ‘Done in a Day’ initiative.These are activities that can be completed in one day, like canoeing. Moms think, ‘What a great family activity and bonding experience. We’ll make great memories.’

"At the store, the staff can help families put all the gear together. REI has displays of campsites and a bike shop that helps customers envision using the products. Typically, Dad will focus on what gear to get, and Mom will make sure everyone has comfortable clothing, safety gear and food."

In fact, the “Done in a Day” initiative is an important contributor to REI’s revenue.  REI is an example of a brand that promotes itself as rugged, adventurous and outdoorsy but actually makes most of its revenue from families who take day-long outings. They’ve shown they can combine the appeal by providing mom-friendly store design and customer service. Other brands wanting to attract the Mom Market but fear alienating other customer bases can learn from REI’s growth strategy to expand into this lucrative market.


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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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