Donna: My guest today is Katrina McCarter, the founder of Marketing To Mums, a marketing and research consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia. Katrina is a marketing strategist, a bestselling author, international speaker and business advisor who specializes in helping business owners and brands. So more effectively to the world's most powerful consumer that is Mums.
Katrina is an award-winning business woman and mother of three. And so, check today, not only do we talk about all things marketing to Mums, but we also talk about Katrina's journey as a mom in business herself.
So my guest today is Katrina McCarter the founder of Marketing To Mums. I am thrilled to have you on this morning for me over here in Queensland. So welcome to the podcast, Katrina.
Katrina: Thank you so much Donna I have been absolutely wrapped and looking forward to our chat today.
Donna: I'm really excited to have you on, because I think our chat is going to be really, really interesting.
Because for most of our listeners, they're all female and many of them target Mums for their business, but most of them are Mums themselves as well. So I think that our chat today is going to be interesting because it's always going to be like a 360 review where we're looking at mums as the consumer, within our business, but also learning about ourselves as the consumer.
So, part of the podcast, as we briefly discussed is inspiring and supporting other mums in business. And I would love for you to share your journey of navigating a business and also having three kids in the mix and what that experience has been like for you.
Katrina: Oh, okay. where do you want me to start?
So I'll share with you. I came through corporate. So I had been working in a fast paced. I'd been working in the grocery industry. So I've come from a predominantly sales background and I worked running sales teams for Arnott's biscuits, and also looking after the Kohl's account for a market, couple of market leading brands.
So that was kind of, I was involved in kind of the pace and I really, really enjoy. Everything changed for me when I have my first child, which is now 18 years ago. And I had a baby who is really, really unsettled. And I found the transition into motherhood, really quite challenging in the sense that I felt like people spoke to me differently.
I suddenly I had this new identity and all these other facets and interests that I had were kind of sidelined as people spoke to me. And I mean, absolutely no disrespect by this, by as just a mom. And so I went into work and I no longer wanted to work full time. What I found was I was the first one who was dropping off my child at childcare, on opening.
I was waiting for them to open up the doors so that I could, and I was the last one to the office. I was the first one to leave the office at the end of the day. The last parent to come up and pick up their job care at their child from childcare. And I just thought, I just, this is kind of not the way I envisage my life to be, this was not what parenthood was about for me.
And I remember going back to my employer and just saying, I don't want to work full-time anymore. I would like to have a more flexible arrangement, but it was soon we're talking about 20 years. They didn't yet have those practices. They weren't widely spread. I was kind of a new breed of women coming through the organization at a senior more senior level.
And so they gave me a project and they said, try this out. We'll let you quote, work yourself out for 12 months, which was very interesting language in itself. And I was really sidelined from decision-making and that for me, I really lost my fire in the belly. At that point, it didn't feel meaningful for me what I was doing anymore, particularly when I had these gorgeous bundle of joy that I loved spending my time with.
So I remember my partner just saying, would you like to head back to Perth, which is where I'm originally from and let's go and spend a year over there. And I would have the rest of the year off. Well, what happened was that I had another two children and, another 10 years, it was 10 years that we ended up in WN.
And I had the first five years at home with my children. that for me was something that I really wanted to do. My auntie is a psychologist in attachment theory, and I really wanted to grow those attachments with my kids. And, but after five years, Itching to get back to work. Absolutely itching.
There was no grocery industry in WWI and I needed to recreate myself and over playing cards with some of my girlfriends, one Saturday night, they were all talking about these deals that they were getting online and what it turned out to be. It was the beginning of the group buying sites here in Australia.
So scoop on, had just launched a few months before I watched it with a lot interest and I saw that no one was catering for the family market. And I really saw that as an opportunity to launch my own business, but I didn't have any contacts there in Perth. I didn't have any of my corporate kind of context form a networker available.
I didn't have the money available, but I had this idea and I had a drive and ambition. And so I just tried to make things happen. And I literally started going for some fairly awkward coffees on St. George's terrace, pitching my idea to two guys who I thought were potential investors and lo and behold, six months later.
I had raised my capital and I had launched Australia's first group buying site for families. And that was back at the beginning of 2012. And I grew that business to a community of 150,000 Mums across Australia before selling that business in 2016. And it was really through that process. But I saw that mums were really unhappy with the way that they were being communicated with, by brands, with such certainly something that I felt myself.
So it was really great to have that endorsement of 150,000 mums across the country. And, at the same time, I'd get the copy that creative copy from brands who want to meet up, share their promotions. And I just go, you really don't understand women and you really don't know how to communicate with them.
And that for me was a really big light bulb moment. And I thought there's a real gap here in the market. And I've really got some insights that I learned over that journey of having my first business. So I went off and did a survey to my mums, in my community and it was really astounding. We found that 63% of Australian mothers believe that brands and advertisers didn't understand them.
And for me, I went, that's it. That's what I'm going into. And I launched a business called Marketing To Mums, and that is really, I'm a marketing agency, and I work with, small businesses right through to corporates, helping them attract more mothers to their business.
Donna: Yeah, it's an amazing journey. And I haven't heard that before.
I've listened to your podcast for a while now, and I've also heard you as a guest on a few other podcasts, and I didn't know to the extent of your journey through that. So it was really interesting. Thanks for sharing. And it's really also like, to your point about communicating to Mums. I completely agree, because when I first became a mom, I had experienced being a business owner pre-kids and then, after having kids, it really does change the way that you see that communication. And I help Mums in my program Ready To Rise, transform from feeling that overwhelmed and exhausted on, on the path to been at, as a mum in business, to becoming a thriving business owner. And within the modules of the program, we talk a lot about branding and marketing strategies.
And so I'm really interested to know and dig in with you now. About. Why do you think it is that every business needs to consider mums in their marketing strategy?
Katrina: Oh I love that question or straight up, it's our financial power here in Australia. We have got 6.2 million mums just roughly, every year, about 140,000 women become mothers for the first time.
And collectively based women are responsible for spending $132 billion in this country every year. one of the stats actually says that if mums were an industry, they would actually be our largest contributor to GDP so without question, they are financially so powerful. So straight up that's the first reason.
The second thing that I would say is that Mums that are really influential, not just are they responsible for multiple generations of spend, but they are also really influential in other people's buying habits. And we're not just talking about other Mums in their network. Mums are often the go-to person that extended family members go to, to find out, which accountant do I need to say, I need to buy this product? Where do I go for the. They are the reference point, giving out recommendations to others. The other piece of research I'd love to share with you is that when a woman becomes a mother, she is eight times more likely to talk about brands. So she effectively becomes a mini nano influencer overnight.
So it's so important as a business, whether you think that you market to mothers or not. That mums have good things to say about your business.
Donna: So I find it really fascinating about that. I really want to also talk about, cause I know you're so knowledgeable on all of this stuff and I've heard you talk about the fact that Mums have really made it clear for a few decades, now we've talked about this sort of at the beginning
. That they're unhappy with the way that brands communicate with them. So what are some of the big mistakes that you see brands and business owners make when they're communicating to Mums?
Katrina: Well, we going to answer this in two ways, if that's okay, Donna, the first way, I'll say from my perspective, so things that I've observed after kind of running my business for the last six years.
what I find there are probably three. I find that they target too broadly. A lot of brands will treat mums as one big homogenous group and yet, Hey, we're all different. And I think that that is a really big misstep by a lot of brands and business owners. The second thing that I would say is that brands and businesses tend not to understand mothers deeply enough, so they haven't taken the time. They haven't invested in research to understand their motivations pain points in our problems. And that's costing them a lot of business.
Katrina: And the third thing, what I find is because they're targeting too broadly and then not understanding their mothers deeply enough, what happens is that credibility becomes a problem.
there's this lack of trust and what, normally we say these characterized by a brand, starting to their sales start to diminish there's poor loyalty and retention rates as well. This is a really, really big red flag for a business that, that I need to go back and have a look at the targeting of mothers and also the level of understanding that they have.
Katrina: So that's kind of from my observation, what I say, but I run a research project at least once a year, having a look at Australian mothers behaviors. Because when I started my business, I found that there was very little information, and research available, which blew my mind when you're talking about this,
Donna: I was about to say because it's such a big group. How has that been missed for so many years?
Katrina: It blows the mind. So there's quite a lot of global data on there, but there's vast differences between geographical areas and cultures, et cetera.
Donna: Well, I can imagine that would be,
Katrina: Yeah. So what we find is, my ladies that I really want to maintain.
Providing a data about the Australian mother market. I do have insights into a lot of other markets as well, but my home home ground and , and what I really want to understand deeply is Australian mothers behaviors and motivations..
So I went out as ask them. I said what do you think that brands are getting wrong? What are business doing wrong?
The number one mistake that Mums feel brands and business are stereotyping. So I’m really, really, making great assumptions about mother and this can be even as simple as the family unit has changed, it’s not mom, dad, 2 kids and a dog, anymore. Never really has been, we have same sex couples, we have interracial couples, we have a lot of solo Mums. And the diversity is not being reflected in advertising and communications. Mums are calling out and shows us that they want to see the diversity in terms of family structure and how life is.
So that’s a really big clear one, they say don’t treat us all the same. So coming back to that thing about targeting too broadly but other things that come through like not being real, they really feel like brands there’s a disconnect between advertising and Mums reality, they say show us some real, we are not actually as inspirational as you think, show us the reality of life.
So that’s come through. There’s probably about nine in total but they are some of the key ones.
Donna: wow. It's so interesting. And like we were saying before, it just blows my mind that this kind of research hasn't really been dug into before. And it's so great that you do it on an annual basis to keep it relevant as well, because. Yeah. Like he was saying, it's not the two kids, the mom and dad and the dog anymore.
Oh, well it never has been, as you said, I personally come from a blended family and that's a completely different dynamic and there's so many things that come into that is different as well.
Katrina: So. If you want to have a look at a business that does this really well, cause I'm talking about the problems here.
I would say that a business that does this really well is actually Volvo cars. They are really a leading light. I've interviewed their brand director, Mike Johnston, for my second book. And also I had him on my marketing to Mums podcast and he gives some great insights and Volvo, particularly in the UK really challenged the norm.
And so they take a piece of research and insight and really blow it apart. So they've really taken this diversity and different family, non traditional family structure. And they did a collaboration with Westfield shopping town and they removed over one weekend. All of those, how we have in the car park, they've got all the baby's signs and two couples and man, and a woman and a pram for priority parking.
They started doing same six images and they did a series of all sorts of different images to showcase that, Hey, we all family differently. I also put together a brilliant video about what parenthood looks like, so they'll have an older parent or an older mother, and really challenging the current norms and what we say.
So I think that there are a standout in terms of a great example of someone that, that does it well.
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So let's do a little bit of a recap before we move on. We need to not only include, but also really consider the needs of a mum as a consumer within our marketing strategy, right. That needs to become part of our strategy rather than either ignoring it completely or not, speaking to those Mums in the way that they would like to be spoken to.
And we need to just be really aware about the mistakes that we see. They made that you've raised to us today and make sure that we're not also making those mistakes within our own business. When we're doing our social media mums and social media, because that's a real area that I know for me in my circle of friends and within my business, that social media is a really great way to put your business in front of Mums.
But what do business owners need to know when it comes to mums and social media?
Katrina: That's a topic, but I will share a few steps with you. We have found that it doesn't matter what the age of the mother here is in Australia. Facebook is their actually their preferred platform. And I know that that will surprise a lot of people because there's an automatic assumption that if you're millennial, that you are lean towards Instagram, all our research to date is actually showing that it's Facebook.
So if you only have enough time to invest in one particular platform, you want to have a really good look at Facebook first and foremost. The other thing that I would say, in terms of favoring, Facebook is we've seen a huge uptake in the number of mothers that belong to a closed Facebook group, just for mums.
So back in 2016, when we first launched our study, it was probably about 66% of Australian mothers belong to a closed Facebook group, just for Mums by 2019, that had gone up to 80%. So 80% of Mums are in a closed Facebook group just for Mums. So that provides huge opportunity for some brands. And a lot of people will say, will often say to me, well, how do I, it's not like I can just join a Facebook group and start sparking my business, you can't. I agree, but there are ways to really successfully work with a closed Facebook group. And if you can do that successfully, what that is, because there are very few advertisers, if any, within there. You've got a really cluttered, you're not competing up against a whole lot of noise. you can work and co-create content with the administrator of that closed Facebook group.
And you can develop really strong, powerful relationships with the members of that closed Facebook groups. To me, there's enormous opportunity in there in terms of social media.
Donna: So what's your advice if someone wanted to do that in approaching that administrator and making that a partnership?
Katrina: Yeah. Look, I do a lot of work in this, in this area.
I certainly have a lot of brands that approach me and I will help identify. some closed Facebook groups that would be most appropriate, and match up with their kind of ideal, most profitable mother. I would recommend that you actually approach the administrator. Now, in some cases, the administrator may have kind of an advertised, kind of, service rate or something like that more often than not, they won't, because more often than not, they haven't actually commercialized their closed Facebook group. It's something that they've worked on for many years. They, they invest a huge amount of energy moderating that group and keeping up the interest and engagement within that group.
some of them are a little tired and, open to having a look at ways that they could work with brands, for them to open up a new income stream. So I would definitely be talking to the administrator and talking to them about how you might be able to co-create content together, because it's not about putting up an ad in a closed Facebook group.
Katrina: It's about creating really engaging content. And I'll give an example to you. I represented a. Beverage company. They had a, it was a chai tea company and they were looking to connect with mothers. And I worked with the, administrator of a closed Facebook group of Thermomix users. And, the Femi makes administrator actually created a recipe on how to brew chai.
So it was making a recipe on how to brew, try using a fair mix. Now the child company went on and sold a month's worth of sales within two days of that post. So really, really powerful, but it's done in a non salesy way. It's often about speaking to the administrator about what would be valuable content.
For their community and they know their community. So treat them like you might working within influencer as such.
Donna: Thank you so much for sharing that. Cause I know it was probably going to be one of the questions that would come our way from our listeners afterwards, so that's amazing.
To just to finish up now because you've given us so much gold.
What tips would you give business owners and brands to attract more mothers and families into their business.
Katrina: Oh, okay. Look, I know that you work with a lot of mums who are also targeting mums. They have an enormous advantage over other business owners. Please be aware of that. You have the opportunity or the ability to talk mum to mum.
So your brand story and why you're in business is incredibly powerful and it will connect with other mothers. So without question, if you're looking to expand your audience and really connect with new potential customer, lead with your brand story. I really, really would emphasize that strongly. The other thing, or the number one thing that I would recommend for your listeners is to identify their segment of the mum market.
As I said earlier, we're not all the same, and the real skill and the real benefits and success that I see in clients happens when they niche. And they've done either a research project with someone like myself to identify that segment, or they've got a really strong handle and maybe some data to support it about what their core customer looks like.
And why they choose them. And I think that that's often a mistake that's missed get that right. You've got a really strong foundation in place in your business to build your strategy.
Donna: Oh my goodness. There's so much gold in that. Thank you.
Katrina: A real pleasure. It's great to come on and chat.
Donna: Yeah. I'm going to really send to this episode and pull all the really great stuff out of it, which is most of it.
I'm just thrilled to have you on the podcast today. Thank you so much for educating us about marketing to Mums. And I know the listeners will also get so much wealth from your knowledge that you've shared today. If people are interested in finding out more about you, how can they find you?
Katrina: Yeah, look, I would say head over to the marketingtomums.com.edu website.
there's some great materials there. You can also connect with me there very, very easily. I'm also a big one who hangs out on LinkedIn, so Katrina, McCarter on LinkedIn as well.
Donna: Thank you so much. I will definitely put all of that into the show notes and I'll also. Make sure that I mentioned your books because you've got some really great books there that people will be able to dig into as well.
Katrina: And there's actually a lot of research on there and there's two free research reports available in the website as well.
Donna: Okay, great. Oh, well, yeah, make sure I link to those as well. Thanks so much for your time today, Katrina.
Katrina: Thank you very much for having me
Donna: And don't forget the doors to the Ready To Rise program are open right now, but they will close on Tuesday the 15th of March at 7:00 PM. So you don't want to miss out head over to donnahann.com to grab your spot.
Make sure you check out the show notes for anything extra, I talked about today. If you liked the episode, make sure you subscribe and I'd love it, if you left me a review, even better, share it with a friend, because what I really want is to help women in business feel supported on their business journey, share it on socials tag me so that I can give your business a shout out to.