Mothers turn to Web for product, medical advice

Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:09pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Companies trying to market products to mothers need to head onto the Internet with a survey showing the 21st century mother is online daily, using Facebook to connect to friends and Google to diagnose illnesses.

A poll by parenting website found 63 percent of online mothers now use social media networks such as Facebook regularly, compared to only 11 percent three years ago.

It found 44 percent use social media for recommendations on which brands and products to buy with little difference between mothers of different ages.

"They don't watch TV as much, they are not reading magazines as much, but instead they check Facebook, Twitter ... where people are really drawn together over parenting issues," BabyCenter's Editor-in-Chief Linda Murray told Reuters.

"One of the major activities is looking for recommendations on products. They are information seeking, particularly when it comes to babies, and companies need to realize this."

But companies also need to know their market well as mothers are sharing information -- and complaints -- online regularly.

In 2006, only 11 percent of mothers read blogs regularly and only 6 percent wrote them. This year the survey found 29 percent of moms read blogs regularly and 14 percent write them.

Drug company McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which makes the ibuprofen painkiller Motrin, learned the hard way last November when online mothers found an advert campaign targeting moms to be offensive, sparking a tirade on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

The company responded by taking a video ad down from its website, pulling the related print ads from magazines, and apologized for any offense caused.   Continued...