5 Best New Products and Product Launches for Moms

My friends at M2Moms recently invited me to emcee one day (focused on digital and social media) at their annual Marketing-to_Moms Conference.  They also asked me to share IMC’s thoughts about the best new products and product launches for Moms.

We canvassed friends and family among agencies, CPG firms and manufacturers, and came up with a great list.  These products all feature some of IMC’s favorite tools for innovation: surprising combinations of brands and products; thoughtful insights into trends; a willingness to engage in creative partnerships; and adapting innovations from one marketplace to another.  They also each used digital and social media to persuade women to buy products from the resource they trust the most: other women like them.

Our top 5 best new products and products launches for Moms followed the stages of “Mom-hood” itself, beginning, from watching over a newborn to watching over the empty nest, and each addresses a need unique to that stage of life.

1.                 Video Baby Monitors

Motorola Digital Video Baby MonitorThe first big-brand entry into this category was Motorola.  Via a partnership with UK-based Binatone , Motorola added the trust of an established brand name to a category that offers Moms a new level of security in overseeing their new babies.  For generations, baby monitoring meant listening to sniffles and rustling from the nursery, trying to discern whether any particular noise meant trouble or not.  With video, Moms can now see what their babies are doing and determine whether they need closer attention or not.

I am particularly excited by what I expect to see in the next generation of video monitoring products.  The biggest step will be moving the video feed from a monitor screen to the screen to which Moms are already paying the most attention: their smartphones.  Look for apps that feed the video feed to a phone or desktop, and then allow Moms to share an image by email or social media.

Another trend to look for in video monitoring?  We love guiding new product concepts from one marketplace to another, including moving them from human to pet.  In research we conducted through our own influencer-marketing division, we found that 48% of women are concerned about their pets well-being while they are at work or on the road.  Video monitoring will soon help these mothers keep an eye on their animal babies as well.

2.                 Dole Smoothie Shakers

DoleSmoothies have grown more popular, and kids love them, but offering these healthy treats at home takes a lot of  time (and requires having a lot of ingredients in stock).  But mixes and powders that made smoothies easier to make  also made them less healthy.  Convenience and nutrition seemed in conflict with each other, until Dole acquired  a technology developed for frozen desserts and turned it into a real-fruit Smoothie Shaker that could be made by  adding only juice.  The product also leveraged social media, with a comical series of Youtube videos and bloggers    spreading the message about a product made for other women like them.

 

3.                 Sprint Kyocera Hydro Edge

Sprint Hydro EdgeMoms with teens are spending increasing amounts of money on their cell phone plans.  And it’s a line item that won’t go away anytime soon: our own research has shown that 59% of moms pay for their adult children’s cell phone bills (even after they have jobs and marry).

Moms are also tired of paying to replace cell phones that have been damaged by water – whether it comes from a football field, a washing machine or a toilet.  A new launch from Sprint and its subsidiary Boost Mobile – the Kyocera Hydro Edge phone – answers the needs of these mothers and teens with a fully waterproof phone, and Boost has made this product even more appealing by offering it without a contract.

While many phones are launched with favorable write-ups and reviews in the tech press, Sprint also knew it needed a better way to reach Moms, and launched a campaign with the online authors their target customers trust most: mom bloggers.

4.                 Keurig Mini Plus for Back-To School

KeurigMoms don’t stop spending money when their children leave the nest.  In fact, they often find themselves spending more money than ever to give those children comfortable nests in college.  Keurig recognized this phenomenon when it launched a new Mini Plus product and marketed it specifically to moms of back-to-school kids, working with MomCentral and its network of influential moms online.

Keurig took innovation one step further in a licensing partnership with Campbells, developing the first soup products  that could be made in a K-Cup format. This innovative partnership extends usage occasions for Keurig machines and  appeals to Moms.  While mothers might be reluctant to buy their children expensive K-Cups for premium coffee brands,  I can easily imagine them paying for a regular delivery of soup pods to their child’s dorm room to promote healthy  snacking – and to ward off the common cold.

5.                 Cottonelle Flushable Wipes

CottonelleAt IMC we love translating innovations from one marketplace to another, In what we called “adult-to-baby” innovation, brands built for adults deliver products for babies and children – from Baby Dior to Pottery Barn Kids.  A similar “human-to-pet” path turns brands and products created for humans into the pet category: think Burt’s Bees-branded pet products produced by licensee Fetch for Pets, or Harley-Davidson leather dog leashes.

We haven’t seen many products follow the baby-to-adult path, but the smart people at Kimberly-Clark have come up with one by getting mothers to understand that a product they’ve all used on their babies’ bottoms (wipes) can also be used on their own: Cottonelle Flushable Wipes .  And because Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle brand realized that it couldn’t just tell women to change their habits around such a sensitive topics, it engaged other moms in an all-out social media assault, to try out their new products and tell other women about it themselves.  The result?  An internet full of authentic posts and stories about the experience of using flushable wipes with or without toilet paper.  They even worked with our Vibrant Nation division to engage post-menopausal women 45+ in naming their new product, and in sharing their own stories about this product .

Not just everyone would understand why a flushable wipe might work for adults, but moms do, and Cottonelle launched this new use by getting them to talk to each other about it.

At IMC we make great products happen, which means not just developing the best strategies for innovation: it also means finding the best partners, developing the right products, and getting the most important consumers – moms of all ages – talking about them.  Congratulations to these five innovators and their marketing partners for doing just that!

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