Everyone agrees that women are a hot target market, but companies marketing to women often treat them monolithically, typically with a focus on moms.
We've got news for you: There’s a huge number of women out there who aren’t moms (or even want to be). Market to them the right way, and you could just find yourself with a whole new target customer.
To get the lowdown on non-moms—a group that author and study partner Melanie Notkin dubbed “the Otherhood”—DeVries Global polled 1,000 moms and 1,000 non-moms. The study sought to get the lowdown on what makes this target market tick.
So what exactly are non-moms? DeVries Global defines them as women who are single and never married, living with a partner or a same-sex partner, married, separated, divorced or widowed with no children. Nearly half (47 percent) of all women of childbearing age are not mothers—that’s 19 million women between the ages of 20 to 44 alone. This number is unprecedented, as is the fact that today, 20 percent of all women will never have kids.
Traits of the Non-Mom
So what defines this underappreciated marketing audience of women? While these women make up a diverse group, many of them have the following seven traits in common:
1. They’re well educated. About 75 percent of non-moms have some college education or above, compared to 67 percent of moms. What’s more, 37 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and nearly 10 percent have an advanced or professional degree.
2. They’re well connected. Members of the Otherhood have extensive social networks, both online and off. With more free time than the average mom, they’re more likely to go out and spend time and money with their friends. Social media is where the Otherhood really shines—the average non-mom in the DeVries Global study has more than 1,500 friends, followers or other connections on social media.
3. They spend money. Somewhat surprisingly, non-moms spend an average of 35 percent more per person per month on groceries than moms do. Non-moms spend approximately $87.50 per person, while moms spend $65 per person for a household of four. And it’s not just frozen dinners they're buying: Non-moms are interested in cooking and enjoy gourmet foods. Another product area where non-moms spend more than moms is beauty and hair products. The average non-mom spends about $1,200 annually—almost twice as much as moms.
4. They’re not spendthrifts. Don’t assume the average non-mom is a frivolous Carrie Bradshaw blowing her entire discretionary income on martinis and Manolos. The study found that non-moms are just as likely as moms to set budgets, look for deals and use coupons.
5. They love to travel. Women of the Otherhood are more likely to travel than moms are. They spend 60 percent more days abroad per year than moms and more than twice as much time away with their partners.
6. They’re self-reliant. The Otherhood’s top priority is their career; their second priority is finding love (which doesn’t necessarily mean marriage and children).
7. They have kids in their lives. Children play an active role in the lives of 80 percent of non-moms. While about half of those children are nieces and nephews, 41 percent are the children of close friends. For many non-moms, friends are the new family.
Appealing to the Otherhood
If you want to attract this overlooked demographic, be sure to take the following tips into account:
Don’t stereotype her. Non-moms aren’t maiden aunts, spinsters or clueless around kids. They’re also not party girls or workaholic career women. (You don’t market to successful men as “career men,” so why would you market to women that way?) Make sure your marketing shows the women of the Otherhood in all their many dimensions. This may require niching your marketing campaigns to appeal to different issues that are common to women whether they’re married, single and working or not, such as being busy, wanting to save money or wanting to be healthier.
Acknowledge her influence as a tastemaker. The Otherhood has time to check out hip new restaurants, bars, fashion, music and movies. While the mom lifestyle is typically presented as something for the Otherhood to aspire to, keep in mind that just as many moms look wistfully at the Otherhood’s fun life. Reach out to the women of the Otherhood on social media, and get them to like and share your content, review your business, and otherwise influence their online and offline social circles to try your wares. The study says non-moms tend to be leaders, not followers—which includes being first to try new social media platforms.
Search for her unmet needs. Food and beverage (smaller servings, healthy food, low-calorie alcoholic beverages) is one industry where single women face unmet needs. Travel is another; the report cites couples’ vacations as a hot growth area, but you might also think about focusing on solo travel or girls’ getaways.
Celebrate her freedom. Freedom is what non-moms value most about their lifestyle—the freedom to go where they want, do what they want, spend their money as they want and be spontaneous. (The study notes that the number-one reason they’re hesitant to have kids is they don’t want to give up their freedom.) Marketing messages that emphasize freedom will resonate with this group, whether you’re selling financial planning services, cycling vacations or a hot new restaurant.
Take a look at your current marketing targets. Are you speaking to this group? If it make sense for your product or service, it may be time to start.
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