Monday, July 27

Translating Research: Mommy Bloggers


The results of a new national survey commissioned by Hallmark Cards, Inc. attempts to pin down one of the more increasingly elusive but always important audiences for some companies — moms. And, according to the new survey, the company discovered that moms need more encouragement from other moms to meet the day-to-day challenges of motherhood.

What Moms Are Telling Hallmark Cards, Inc.

• 84 percent of moms said they believe that sharing funny stories about their child or children with other moms helps them manage the day-to-day challenges and stress of motherhood.
• 68 percent said they share funny stories about their experiences with others as a way to handle the day-to-day challenges of motherhood.
• 75 percent said they are looking for new ways to boost their child's confidence for going back to school.

What Hallmark Cards, Inc. Offers Moms.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. translated these findings into a new greeting card product line, one they say helps moms encourage moms and moms encourage kids. While the commercials connect and the concept is sound, the cards seem one step disconnected.

Translating Research Makes A Difference.

I can't help but wonder if moms are saying they want to connect with more moms. In other words, maybe the research suggests that they want a community, which makes those cards seem like a secondary or ancillary solution.

In other words, if moms are saying they want to connect and share, meeting that need might be the priority over a product that may appeal to them once they've connected. Translating the research this way leads to several different paths to entry that range from developing a network to supporting those networks that already exist. Reading Susan Getgood's post might be a good place to start too. She lists several mommy networks that seem within reach.

Of course, any program developed out of the initial research ought not be exclusive to mommy bloggers, which is where Hallmark Cards, Inc. attempted to apply it last April. Back then, the company hosted 12 mommy bloggers at Hallmark headquarters to learn and share, among other things, ideas about the need for mom-to-mom encouragement.

The takeaway here is two-fold. How you translate data makes a difference. In this case, sometimes the path to creating new products includes developing or supporting a network where that product becomes useful. The difference is in the objective: demand creation vs. demand fulfillment.

Over the long term, I suspect Hallmark Cards, Inc. will get it right. The company has a history of listening to consumers and then translating any insights into new products and services. Now, it only needs to learn that some research doesn't translate into new products as much as it translates into the environments where such products might fit.

2 comments:

Barry on 7/27/09, 5:49 PM said...

Hi Rich,

Upon reading this post I began to wonder if creating its own market has not been a very large part of what Hallmark has been doing all along.

From "Love American Style" to "Making love out of nothing at all" The Hallmark legacy has seemingly been to hold a mirror just right so as to catch the reflection of sentiments the lovestruck public appears to be latching onto.

In this way Hallmark cards have always seemed a bit contrived to me. They are like circus posters for Cupids Stereotypical Sideshow daring us to believe we are different while whispering sweet nothings that, alas poor Cyrano, we are all the same.

That is an arrow through the heart that smarts!

Barry

Rich on 7/28/09, 8:20 AM said...

Barry,

I do think Hallmark is working toward creating its own market. Its only the modeling that is one step off, e.g., people have to be connected before they send each other cards. So ... Hallmark might consider helping them connect. :)

Giftware is very fun and extremely tricky stuff. I remember all to well when Stanley Papel's team would kick back greeting card and giftware copy to us, saying it wasn't generic enough. And therein was the balance — finding the sweet spot for an ultra personal message with a mass appeal.

Meaning no disrespect to the writers of the new series, this new line does strike me as contrived, even for the intended audience. Time will tell if they got it right, but from my interactions with moms online, they seem a bit more down to earth to me.

Great to see your comment, Barry. Always appreciated!

Best,
Rich

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