While we are always celebrating Moms at M2Moms®, we wanted to take this opportunity to also celebrate the PANKs—Professional Aunts No Kids.  A term dubbed by Melanie Notkin, founder of SavvyAuntie.com, PANKs represent an entire group of women who don’t have children but have children in their lives whom they adore—and the discretionary income and time to spend with these children.  Melanie recently spoke with Patti Minglin about the SavvyAuntie site, the power of PANKs and what kind of marketing messages she would like to see.

Patti Minglin:  Tell us a little about your site, SavvyAuntie.

Melanie Notkin:  SavvyAuntie.com is the first online community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. It’s full of great Expert information designed just for Savvy Aunties, Activities (even for the Long Distance Auntie), hundreds of Gift ideas and a Community of women ‘just like you.’ It was recently nominated for a Webby Award for best Family/Parenting Website. The Webbys are the highest honor in the Internet industry, so I’m very proud.

Minglin:  It’s a great site—I send my sister there to get ideas for our kids. What marketing channels do you use to attract visitors and keep the community engaged?

Notkin: Thanks for the referral! I am so glad you like it!  I am completely self-funded, so I don’t have marketing dollars to drive traffic. Instead, I use SEO techniques, social media and PR.  The Gifts section that you mention creates enormous Search benefits for me. About 40% of my traffic comes from Google. The main social media tools I use are Twitter and Facebook.  It’s amazing today how many ways you can share your brand and interact with consumers, with no budget. And that includes PR. I’ve connected with journalists from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week and more through social media channels. I also do TV morning show segments with gift ideas for kids and am a regular on FoxNews.com/strategyroom Business Hour with Eric Bolling.

Minglin:  Why should marketers be paying more attention to the aunts, godmothers, etc.?

Notkin: Marketers should be focusing at least as much on women without kids, as women with kids. Nearly 50% of American women do not have children. I’ve dubbed this segment PANKs – Professional Aunts No Kids. Aunts, godmothers, and all women who have a child in their life whom they adore, have the discretionary income and time to spend on these children, not to mention to spend on themselves as well.  PANKs are a powerful segment of women in the economy simply because we don’t have kids. And at nearly 50% of women, or 25% of all adults, we’re probably the ones to help turn this economy around. Now if you were a marketer, wouldn’t you want to pay attention?

Minglin:  Are there similarities in marketing messages between marketing to moms and marketing to aunts?  What are some of the glaring differences?

Notkin: Well the most glaring difference of course is that marketers are marketing to moms, and not nearly as much to non-moms – especially when it comes to products  PANKs are purchasing – like gifts for kids and household items. Until Savvy Auntie came along, it was a challenge for marketers to target PANKs. Of course, it’s still a challenge for marketers to change their mindset.  I’d love to see a laundry detergent commercial or home appliance commercial targeting women who don’t have kids but, for example, also do laundry – and use a washing machine to do it in.

Minglin:  What exciting things do you have on the horizon for Savvy Auntie?

Notkin: Savvy Auntie is a multi-platform media brand. We’re already moving into video, publishing and licensing. Plus, as my visibility grows along with my influence, there are opportunities arising for very interesting partnerships. It’s incredibly exciting for this 9-month old company to have gained such momentum so quickly. I believe I owe it all to my three-pronged strategy: strong product; powerful niche; social influence.

Minglin:  And, just for fun….what are the five most played songs on your iPod right now?

Notkin: I’ve recently discovered Diane Birch. I believe her first single hits later this month. I met the head of her record label, S-Curve records, who introduced me to her artistry… and from the moment I heard her voice and her songs, I was hooked.  Dare I admit I’m an American Idol fan? David Cook’s “Light On” is one my favorites.  I also listen to anything by Sarah Bareilles. And often enough, I’ll hit a top 40 tune to get me going. Otherwise, I click ‘shuffle’ and enjoy whatever life surprises me with.  And happily, life consistently surprises me with something I can tap my feet to.

For more great ideas on emerging demographics that affect your marketing to mom efforts, be sure to attend M2Moms®-The Marketing To Moms Conference, www.m2moms.com.