"Mom marketing" is a field unto itself. If you're trying to sell to mothers in 2012, you have to know how their behavior changed over the last year. Among other things, they overwhelmingly embraced social media and are now at the center of what's being called "recommendation culture," which affects their purchasing behavior.

Stacy DeBroff is founder and chief executive of Mom Central Consulting, a company that specializes in marketing to mothers. DeBroff's business has assisted many of the country's top brands, including ABC, Barbie, Kraft Foods and Ralph Lauren.

DeBroff tells BusinessNewsDaily of six important trends that any marketer needs to recognize before embarking on a journey to market to moms.

Moms are no longer brand-loyal. Amid a stagnant economy and with lingering concerns about a recovery, mothers shifted long-held consumer habits in 2011. Families made do with the household goods they already had, and when moms made purchases, they appeared open to exploring new brands and forgoing the ones they had added to their shopping carts for years.

Moms are getting personal.Traditionally marketers have struggled to find moms who were willing to discuss personal topics openly. Yet in 2011, DeBroff saw evidence that mothers feel more comfortable addressing personal issues in social media forums – in fact, 75 percent of women reported being willing to discuss health or medical issues on social networking sites. This new sense of openness encourages moms to seek information from other moms and share their experiences with millions of other women, DeBroff says.

Moms are clipping coupons. While more and more mothers rely on saving money via coupons, the success of a couponing promotion and its ability to convert new consumers into advocates relies on the brand’s ability to find moms' tipping point. For most moms, coupons that offer to save them more than 50 percent will inspire them to try an item they haven't used.

Moms are taking and giving advice. One of the biggest "mom marketing" trends centers around the rise of the online recommendation culture. Mothers' eager participation in social media have turned blogs, Facebook and Twitter into the new "picket fence" where moms gather to make connections, hear trusted recommendations, and gain first-person perspective. We've always lived in a recommendation culture, DeBroff says, but in 2011 we saw how social media became the conduit for moms to develop a network of trusted advisers and tap into them for their experiences and insights.

Moms are skeptical. While mothers continue to incorporate social media into their lives in overwhelming numbers, they remain skeptical toward brands that seem to be just going through the motions in the use of social media. Moms want brands to be fully engaged.

Say hello to "Generation Mom." 2011 saw the emergence of "Generation Mom." Motherhood transcends generations and the age of one's children. Regardless of whether a mom fits into the Boomer, Gen X, or Gen Y category, certain universal truths emerge about her beliefs on topics ranging from parenting to social media usage and purchasing behaviors.

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