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Back to School: It's Not Just About the Kids

Posted by Kathy Ofsthun on Tue, Aug 23, 2011

 “It's the most wonderful time of the year!”  You probably remember the singing parents in the Staples ad. So funny, and true!  And if your kids are college age, like mine, you may have wiped a tear when reading Beverly Beckham’s piece in the Boston Globe, “I was the sun, the kids were my planets.”

Back-to-School is as much about MOM as it is about kids (and teachers).   While moms miss their kids, it’s also time for mom to learn and grow.  Moms welcome the opportunity to do something for themselves for a change, and retailers can help.  You don’t have to sell pencils or lunch bags to participate.  Offer moms the opportunity and ability to learn something new themselves, or renew a prior hobby or sport.  Consider what the following moms said they plan to do, once their children are back in school:

“I’m taking a drawing class!”

We are expanding the 2nd floor, so I am picking out new paint and will be doing that.

“I’d like to re-paint the bathroom and maybe re-decorate the living room.  We’re having company for the holidays, and I want the place to look great!”

There is so much opportunity to talk to moms and help them achieve their short term goals, and maybe some long-term ones as well. Whether you’re a grocer, a paint store, a gym, or you sell yoga mats or tulip bulbs, engage moms by demonstrating how you can help them achieve something this season.  They will re-pay you with their purchases, loyalty, and recommendations.

And don’t forget to also talk to moms about their kids – they’re #1 with them, and they want to explore and enjoy fall with their families.  From leaf peeping and apple picking, to biking and soccer, moms look for ways to connect their families in the midst of busy schedules.

Kathy Ofsthun is an Account Director at CMB, specializing in Shopper Insights.  Follow her on twitter @ShopperMRX, or find her at the mall, a SoHo boutique or the nearest estate sale!

Topics: retail research