More Babies, Fewer Husbands

Posted March 23, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Marketing to Mom, Mom Market Trends, Social Trends

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A record 4.3 million new babies were born in 2007, more than at any other time in history — including the post World War II Baby Boom, according to data released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That year also produced a record number of births to unwed mothers–nearly 40 percent.

More than three-quarters of those unmarried mothers were over age 20, a change compared to previous decades. In 1975, teenage mothers made up more than half of all nonmarital births.

For more details, visit this USA Today story.

Marketers, what products or services can you offer to help all those moms who are now raising kids on their own? Moms, what would you like companies to do to help make your lives a little easier?

Toy Ploy

Posted March 20, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Marketing to Mom, Social Trends

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While many marketers believed that parents would continue to splurge on children during the recession, that may not be the case, at least when it comes to toys. According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, families appear to be significantly reducing toy buying—especially when it comes to pricier playthings. They are doing so primarily because they need to but also, in some cases, on principle – to teach children about excessive spending. In the process, parents have been taking steps that range from shielding their kids from toy advertising to shifting focus to family outings over material things. The article points out that toy manufacturers such as Mattel and Hasbro are offering less expensive alternatives this year.

 

Retailers and manufacturers—what impact are you seeing and what are you doing about it? Parents, have you changed how you buy toys for your children? If so, in what way?

 

For more information, see “Pricey Toys Are Going the Way of Dinosaurs.

 

Children and Climate Change

Posted March 18, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Marketing to Mom, Social Trends

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We are in the midst of organizing 40,000 children at Goddard Schools nationwide in support of World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour 2009.  A global call to action on climate change, Earth Hour takes place on Saturday, March 28th at 8:30 p.m., when hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn off their lights for one hour in a vote for action on the climate crisis.

 

So you can imagine the recent blog post from Wired.com Math Meets Meteorology: New TV Show for Kids on Climate Change sparked our interest. PBS Kids Go is set to debut an animated series that will teach children about climate issues. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) just launched a website, www.EarthHourKids.org, which provides content to schools and children. This site features lesson-plans, games and songs that children can download.  Goddard has also developed tips parents can use to teach kids about the environment (email me @ sa@childsplaypr.com for a copy).

 

As parents, are you teaching your children about climate change? As marketers, how are you helping parents convey the message?

Social Success

Posted March 16, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Marketing to Mom, Mom Bloggers, Mom Market Trends, Social Networks

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More people globally now use social networks/blogs than email – 66.8% vs. 65.1%, according to a study released last week by market research firm Nielsen. This means that two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites, categories that now account for almost 10% of all Internet time. Social networks and blogs are now the fourth most popular online activity today, following, in descending order: search, general interest portals & communities and software applications. Email comes in fifth, and the use of social networks grew at double the rate of email usage — 5.4% vs. 2.7%.

 

More details from the report:

 

  • Time spent on social networks and blogs is growing at over 3 times the rate of overall Internet growth. 

·         The total amount of time spent online worldwide increased by 18% between December 2007 and December 2008

·         In the same period the amount of time spent on “Member Community” sites  (social networks and blogs) rose by 63%.

 

And to think that not that long ago, email was considered the second coming.

 

For more details, see Global Faces and Networked Places. 

 

 

 

 

Doddering Daddies

Posted March 12, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Social Trends

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Do older fathers mean dumber kids?

According to a study released Monday, children of older fathers scored lower than those of younger fathers on I.Q. tests and a range of other cognitive measures. These results support growing evidence suggesting significant downfalls to delaying fatherhood.

While this was the first study to demonstrate that children of older fathers do not perform well on cognitive tests at young ages (8 months, 4 years and 7 years old), other research has identified higher rates of schizophrenia and autism among the offspring of men in their mid-to-late 40s or older when they had children.

The new study, published in PLoS Medicine, reanalyzed data from the federally sponsored Collaborative Perinatal Project, which gathered information from 50,000-plus pregnant women from 1959-1965. Fathers in the study were ages 14 to 66, while mothers were 12 to 48. Regardless of their mothers’ age, children whose fathers were 50 years old had lower scores on all tests except those assessing physical coordination, compared to children whose fathers were age 20. The older the fathers, the more likely the children were to have lower scores.

Will the May-December romance now go the way of, say, Bernie Madoff’s investments? How ironic that, through the ages, it’s been women who have agonized over having children “too late” in life. The same study also showed that children of older mothers typically performed better on cognitive tests, suggesting they may benefit from “the more nurturing home environments associated with the generally higher income and education levels of older mothers.”

For more on the study, see the New York Times article, “Older Fathers Linked to Lower I.Q. Scores.”  

Meet the Parents

Posted March 9, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Mom Market Trends, Social Trends

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There seems to be a social network for everything these days, especially when it comes to moms. With Facebook, Twitter, Café Mom and more, online connections are just a keystroke away.  

 

What if parents want to move beyond cyberspace? Across the country there are local clubs and groups sprouting everywhere. Whether it’s to network, socialize or make new friends, these groups are providing a way to connect.

 

Raising a little one is hard enough and searching out the perfect group can be time consuming. We recently stumbled upon the web site www.monstersandmonkeys.com, which is essentially a match-making service that connects parents with other like-minded parents. Whether you are a mom-to-be looking to meet other soon-to-be moms or a current parent in search of some friendship, the site boasts that it will do all the research and fact-finding for you.

 

As the popularity of social media continues to grow, it’s also good to see real social circles expand as well. For the moms among our readers: Would you ever take advantage of a parental matchmaking service? Do you find it difficult to meet other moms in the real world?

Kids Today Conference

Posted February 27, 2009 by Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child's Play Communications
Categories: Marketing to Mom, Mom Bloggers, Mom Market Trends

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On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Kids Today conference in San Antonio, on how companies in the children’s home furnishings industry can – and should – work with mommy bloggers to market products. There was, happily, clear interest in the topic, meaning these manufacturers and retailers alike understand the influence bloggers have on the community of moms. Thank you to Kids Today magazine for the invitation and to members of the audience for your feedback.

 

Marketers, what have you learned in your dealings with mom bloggers – what experiences would you like to share?

 

Mom bloggers, what would you like marketers to know about the dos and don’ts of working with you most effectively?