Purdue marketing leader co-authors book on importance of moms in promoting goods, services

October 11, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Don't ever underestimate the influence of mom - even long after a child has left the nest. So say marketers Teri Lucie Thompson and Michal Clements in their book "Tuning Into Mom: Understanding America's Most Powerful Consumer."

The book provides an in-depth analysis backed by exhaustive research, face-to-face conversations, and years of experience and collaboration to show marketers of goods and services why moms are key and how to reach them. It also is useful to those who teach consumer science and marketing courses.

"Moms are in many cases the CFOs in households across the United States, and they are still the primary influencer in most consumer categories of their children's lives," said Thompson, chief marketing officer and vice president of marketing and media at Purdue University. "This is true from the moment their child is born through early adulthood. Simply put, improvements in attracting and retaining moms as customers, as purchase influencers of their children, and as referred providers of other moms will yield rich returns. This book is about finding better ways to reach the mom market."

The book provides insight into a mom's psyche through the various stages of her children's lives. For instance, as a child begins preschool, mom's focus is on socialization and fitting in. By middle school, her attention has turned to learning. While trying to help the child build self-reliance, she also helps keep track of schoolwork and often uses the Internet to help her and her child.

By understanding what moms value, companies and organizations that produce these resources can build brand loyalty and a strong customer base.

Thompson and Clements grounded their book in quantitative research of more than 5,000 moms, complemented by a series of in-depth interviews with mothers of children ages 1-29. The research underscored several of their "hot button" issues - identified as food, exercise and sports, education, health and safety, technology, and fashion and beauty - which manifest differently through various periods of their children's lives, from the infant/toddler stage to the young adult phase. The book includes "Theme Resource Guides" to help readers navigate the matrix of hot button issues and life stages to more effectively reach moms, as well as multiple case studies with best practices across a range of categories.

Before coming to Purdue, Thompson was vice president of marketing for Safeco and held several marketing and leadership roles at State Farm Insurance, where she spearheaded efforts in marketing to women.

Clements is a principal at the Cambridge Group who previously founded Insight to Action, a firm focused on building brands through insights that result in specific business-building actions.

Both women are founding board members of the Marketing to Moms Coalition and co-creators of the annual State of the American Mom survey.

The book, published by Purdue University Press, will be released Saturday (Oct. 15) as a hardcover and e-book. It can be ordered at http://www.thepress.purdue.edu/ or from all major bookstores.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Sources: Teri Lucie Thompson, 765-494-2082, tlthompson@purdue.edu
                  Michal Clements, 312-425-3600, michal@itoaction.com