Stereotypes long associated with single moms are being wiped out by recent research from Draftfcb.  It seems that marketers may be getting it wrong when identifying who single moms really are according to the study, which shows that today’s single moms are older and more educated than previously thought.  As a matter of fact, 81 percent of single moms graduated from high school or beyond, likely leading to discontent with some advertising portraying single moms in a not-so-flattering light.  Because many moms are breaking free from the traditional role of a single mom, they have trouble identifying with current ad campaigns.


Breaking the Myths

Brands should avoid clichés and stereotypes when connecting with today’s single women with children.  Here is a look at some of the top myths marketers should avoid when planning their next campaign:


·        Being a Single Mom is the same as being a single parent:  Amy Fluke, a divorced mom and business owner from Waunakee, Wisconsin advises marketers to use caution when labeling single moms. “I don’t really see myself as a single mom because I still have a very involved parent partner.”  Fluke wonders if the term ‘single’ means ‘unmarried’ or ‘sole parent’.   She says, “…‘single parent’ is too close a label to ‘single mom’ and those are very different things.”


·        Single comes from divorce or tragedy:  Single motherhood is not only the result of divorce or tragedy but, in a growing number of families, it is a carefully planned decision.  Single motherhood is the desired lifestyle for some women, who work hard to create loving and safe homes for their children.  I strongly believe that the single woman who conscientiously throws herself into mothering has amazing benefits to provide to her children,” says Mikki Morrisette, founder of and author of Choosing Single Motherhood.  Morrisette feels that choice moms especially, bring honorable qualities in large quantities to the table, such as self-sufficiency, determination, a community connection and dedication; assets to any family environment.


·        Single Moms and Married Moms have different purchasing styles:  Purchasing decisions made by single moms and married moms seem to be motivated by similar forces and key factors –convenience and price resonate across all family types.  “I am honestly of the camp that believes if you can generalize you would have to put single moms in the same bucket as married moms,” says Fluke “…single moms and married moms both feel they are really busy and look for convenience, and who doesn’t feel like they need to watch their budget?”  This is good news for marketers, who are likely reaching married and single moms with the same message. 


Dad Marketing Opportunities

For those families where the role historically held by dad is vacant, opportunities may exist for brands that traditionally speak to dad to reach single moms as well.  Amenity LLC, a company with a passion for men’s grooming and personal care products, has created a how-to guide for moms looking for advice on teaching their sons to shave.  Reaching all potential customers is a goal for Amenity, who recognizes that some moms are responsible for directing their sons through this right-to-passage when dad can’t.  With humor and directness, Amenity walks mom through product selection and the shaving process, even including comments and tips from other moms going it alone.  Companies like Amenity, willing to take a fresh look at marketing to dad may indeed find new occasions for reaching some single moms.


Bottom line:  Single moms don’t fall into a neat category with predictable backgrounds and characteristics, however most desire straight talk from people just like themselves to deliver information on sought after brands.  Labeling these moms and stamping them with incorrect assumptions can alienate this segment of the market quickly, causing some brands to lose out on the dual effect their marketing to mom campaigns have on both married and unmarried moms.  A note of encouragement:  new discoveries in marketing to the single mom can be found in the realm of marketing to dad.  For those moms without an active partner in dad’s role, solutions in the arena of his typical purchases will be undoubtedly successful.