How to Create a Sensitive Marketing Strategy on Mother's Day

Business owners need no reminding of the importance of seasonal marketing. Every important date on the calendar brings with it a unique set of challenges for consumers – and opportunities to present their products as solutions. Mother’s day is no exception as consumers of all ages look for gift opportunities to show love and appreciation to their mums.

However, Mother’s Day marketing requires a sensitive approach. There may be many in your customer database who are not looking forward to the occasion. Some may have lost their mothers or have a difficult relationship with them. Some may be new mothers who are having a difficult time adjusting to the role, or who have recently lost a child. For those enduring these hardships, seeing Mother’s Day advertising campaigns can be hard.

In this post, we look at some Mother’s Day marketing ideas that emphasise sensitivity and inclusion.

Food and beverage

Those in the food and beverage sector will typically see a surge in business around Mother’s Day. Many will want to take their mothers out for a delicious meal in their favourite restaurant. Or, where mothers and their children are separated by distance, some may want to send their mothers gifts of food and drinks in the form of gift baskets and hampers.

While this creates opportunities for some compelling Mother’s Day promotion ideas, it also presents some messaging pitfalls for brands.

Give customers an opportunity to opt out

Businesses in this sector can send out email marketing messages encouraging them to book or buy early to avoid disappointment. However, this kind of Mother’s Day marketing campaign can be upsetting for reasons mentioned above.

It may be worth sending a sensitive Mother’s Day message before your marketing campaign starts in earnest. Acknowledge that this is a difficult time for many, and offer your customers the opportunity to opt out of Mother’s Day marketing emails.

Offer more teetotal options

Wine and other alcoholic beverages are often at the forefront of many brands’ Mother’s Day promotion ideas. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, brands may wish to consider promoting more teetotal options in their Mother’s Day messaging.

A 2019 study in the Alcohol and Alcoholism Journal suggests that over a third of UK children are negatively impacted by their parents’ alcohol consumption, while three-fifths of parents surveyed admitted to consuming alcohol to help them cope with feelings of depression.

As some children have parents with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, brands may want to reconsider the prominence of wine and other alcoholic drinks in their Mother’s Day marketing.

Health and beauty

The health and beauty sector is another vertical with ample scope for Mother’s Day advertising ideas as people look for gifts and experiences. Some may want to book a relaxing spa day, while others give their mothers bath bombs. Again, there is an opportunity here to implement a more sensitive Mother’s Day marketing strategy.

Keep it real

The health and beauty sector often employs images of aspirationally fit and healthy people. But there is a fine line between aspiration and frustration, and busy mothers may not respond well to airbrushed images of perfection. Many brands have begun to eschew conventional imagery in their depiction of motherhood, especially in the post-Covid era. Debbie Welch, Director of Data Science at Swift, admits that in recent years, brands have “gone away from a super polished, Instagram-perfect place. More and more people are showing the realities of what it means to be a mom – it’s messy, it’s imperfect, and it’s OK to mess up”.

As such, brands in the health and beauty business may want to focus their messaging on real stories, real people, and the less-than-glamorous realities of motherhood.

Message to Mums who deserve a treat

As well as people who want to give their mothers a treat, health and beauty brands should also include mothers themselves in their Mother’s Day marketing campaigns. Not all mothers have partners or children old enough to show that they care in any tangible way.

Encourage mothers to treat themselves and position your offering as a refuge of self-care, rest and relaxation. Demonstrate that you understand the realities of motherhood and are there to make it easier for mothers to give themselves the TLC they deserve.

Retail and eCommerce

Needless to say, the retail and eCommerce sectors are also rich with gift-giving opportunities on Mother’s Day. However, there are ways that retail brands can be more sensitive, inclusive and helpful in their Mother’s Day campaign ideas.

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Cross-promote with other brands

Many Mother’s Day shoppers make a string of purchases to put together the perfect gift packages for deserving mums. Whether you operate in a physical or online space, there are opportunities to make life easier by cross-promoting with other brands. Flowers, chocolates, jewellery, greeting cards, balloons, all of these common products are exceedingly popular on Mother’s Day. Giving customers the opportunity to get everything they need in one transaction can position your brand as a welcome solution in their busy lives.

Be LGBTQ-inclusive

In retail, as in other sectors, a sensitive marketing strategy is one that reflects the changing face of society. One way in which brands can do this in their Mother’s Day marketing campaigns is by acknowledging the LGBTQ mothers who are often absent in our heteronormative marketing landscape. Mothers in same-sex relationships and transgender mothers will appreciate feeling seen this Mother’s Day.

A little sensitivity goes a long way

Brands do not necessarily need to reinvent the wheel when composing their Mother’s Day messaging. A little sensitivity can show customers that you understand them and are receptive to their needs. Whether it’s allowing them to opt out of Mother’s Day marketing emails altogether, or simply being more inclusive in your imagery and messaging.