Much has been said about marketing to the post-millennial generation, Gen Z. They don’t respond to traditional marketing strategies, are notoriously tough nuts to crack when it comes to engagement, are mobile natives with omnichannel behaviour, value authenticity over branding and promos, and so on.

But have we considered what will happen once they become parents? This mind-numbing thought was brought up in a panel discussion entitled, “Future Trends and Challenges” at the recently held CHOmum Marketing to Mums Conference.

The question on Gen Z mums was posed by Tickled Media ( Founder & CEO Roshni Mahtani to her fellow experts on the panel: Phil Townend, Chief Commercial Officer APAC at Unruly, Claire Taylor, Head of Strategy & Planning at PHD, Chiradeep Gupta, Global Media Director at Unilever, and Lindsay Davison, Global Senior Brand Manager at Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition.

So what’s it going to take for your brand to be ready for this enigmatic demographic within the next 5-10 years or so? In true modern mystery form, we give you more questions than answers:

  1. Are you adopting technology faster than your audience is?

This is a fear among peers, according to Gupta. “As soon as this happens, the brand loses relevance,” he goes on to say. Because we’re not just talking about the latest Facebook feature here – it’s next-level home advertising integration, machine learning, AI. The great news is that these great leaps are happening on both the B2C and B2B fronts.

Townend talks about an advanced computer vision tech being developed by an Australian company: “You can train it to understand what different cues and visuals mean. Eventually you’ll be able to train this machine to think like a mum, and it’ll be able to ingest thousands and thousands of videos at any one time… start analyzing the patterns in those videos and if you can map that back to sales or brand impact and you can start to say, ‘If this happens, followed by this, followed by this, then this is the outcome.’ Then similarly, the way a creative is made… becomes a lot more automated. This custom kind of programmatic creativity I think is going to be a huge step forward.”

How can you beat the Gen Z mum in adopting tech? The trick is establishing an ecosystem that works to your advantage, where you surround yourself with companies that offer (highly) specialized services. “Each one brings a different skill set to the table, which adds incremental value across the entire process,” says Gupta.

So you don’t need to go out and do all the tech-hunting + trial and error yourself. “Find ecosystem providers that you can partner up with,” advises Mahtani.

  1. Above the noise, do you truly understand what makes your audience tick?

“Facebook is telling everybody that you have 6-8 seconds to talk to a consumer.. the interpretation from the industry is that there’s a decline in attention,” opens Townend.

What he thinks this actually means is that people are increasingly becoming ‘allergic’ to interruptive advertising. (He then points out how his wife can binge-watch 6 episodes of Gilmore Girls, so it’s definitely not an attention deficit problem).

It boils down to not being able to force your audience to watch your ad – a model we adapted from TV. So how do you get your audience to at least hesitate in hitting the ‘Skip Ad’ button? Strike a chord.

“One of our video successes was a 5-minute video in Thailand, which is known for these very emotional viral videos with almost 100% completion, so it can happen,” shares Davison. “You just need to show meaningful content that mums want to watch… It better be good and it better be good fast. As mums, we’re starved for time and we also just value our time very highly. So from that perspective, we need to love what we’re watching, and it needs to be fast.”

  1. Are you Krang or Professor Xavier?

You, as a marketer, are at the helm of this operation, but how efficient are you being?

Are you (or is your brand) Krang, force-controlling everything and muscling through? Or are you Professor Xavier, utilizing his resources brilliantly and sustainably?

You don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel, constantly squeezing out fresh ideas. Remember you have a wealth of data to learn from. “Look at how it’s performing. Don’t just say ‘Oh we did that’ and leave it there… make a 30-seconder, head it out the door; make a 30-seconder, head it out the door,” advises Taylor.

You also don’t have to work your brand/endorser/VO talent like a horse, especially with the same overarching message. This bombards the mum across multiple touchpoints. To avoid this, Davison simply states that there are times when “the experts can say it better…To not bombard [the mums] again with similar messages, we use our influencers to do that, and it builds credibility that way.”


What are your thoughts and trepidations about marketing to tomorrow’s mums? Have a chat with us: [email protected]. Stay tuned for the next CHOmum conference happening in Mumbai, November 14th 2017.