Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Marketing to Mommybloggers: Mommybloggers are pro-choice

I'm reading: Marketing to Mommybloggers: Mommybloggers are pro-choiceTweet this!

Yes, I believe all mommybloggers are pro-choice when it comes to marketing efforts. Our blogs are full of our ideas, hopes and philosophies; although quite public, they are very personal.

That's why marketers and PR folks need to consider our opinions and preference when reaching out to us. We like to call the shots.

And here's a great example as to why:

A week or two ago, I found an offer in my inbox to receive two product line samples of a natural personal care brand for kids. Specifically, the PR gal said she'd like to send me two samples of everything in their kids' line for me to give away to readers.

I wrote her back saying that I'd love to try out the line myself, and if it passed muster with my family, I'd be happy to host a blog giveaway and have the company send out product directly to the winners. If I wanted to deal with packing and shipping logistics and expenses I'd run an EBay shop, not a blog; right?

I never heard from the PR gal again. Maybe I was too blunt? I deleted her email. Out of sight out of mind.

Until it was in my sight again. In the form of a large, ten-pound box on my front stoop.

Much to my surprise is contained the product line in question. In duplicate.

They sent the whole shmear times two- shampoo, hand soap, bath soap, bubble bath, detangler, and more--everything but the toothpaste came in a single scent.

A scent that happens to be one of my least favorites: baby aspirin. Technically it's tangerine or "oh-so-orange" or something. But yuck.

I gave Smartypants a whiff. "It smells sickly," he replied. So we can safely assume the ten-year- old is not lovin' it.

That said, we may give some of the products a try. Just not all at once, unless I want to pretend we're vacationing in Florida, camping in the orange groves.

And then there's the fact that my bathroom is now a veritable Noah's Ark of these products. What to do with the extras?

I'm not going to ship them out.

Do I pass it along to IRL friends? Bloggers? Donate them to a homeless shelter? The school auction?

The school auction and homesless shelter are the most philanthropic choices, yet for no good reason-- or perhaps I'm sympathetic because I'm sometimes on the PR end of blogger reviews-- I feel obligated to pass the product along to bloggers. So I've chosen two nearby moms (of girls, FWIW) Cindy, and Veronica (surprise!) as recipients.

So maybe the outreach won't be in vain, after all. But if the PR firm had communicated with me- given me a choice as to what I want to try and how I want to manage a bloggy giveaway, I might have written a glowing review over their cute, smooth whale-shaped hand soap instead of this post.


Mrs. Mogul said...

I hear ya! Sometimes they ask if I can ship it back but like, hey I;m not ebay or an online store so I'm always honest and say I keep what they send me in return for an honest opinion.

CanCan said...

I feel kind of offended sometimes when I'm treated like a 2-bit floozy by PR companies. This one company sent me a computer game to review, only it wasn't the real game, but rather a burned copy labeled with a sharpie. Then after I did the review, they didn't reply to my email that it was live.
Finally when I chose a winner for the giveaway and sent them the info, they said they didn't want to work with me anymore because I wasn't generating enough hits (even though my stats showed 468 click throughs, which I think is pretty good for something they spent NO money on!). The clincher was that they said, "We will honor the giveaway winner THIS TIME..." like they were doing me a favor. It was their durn thing! Sheeze!

kristina said...

Yeah, who wants to deal with shipping and stuff. I don't know why the PR folks didn't listen.

Veronica said...

Hmmm...whale-shaped? Fab! Thanks chica!

Naomi said...

I like the smell of baby aspirin, personally... but I see where you're coming from, for sure.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Mrs. Mogul (everyone click over to see if she had her baby yet!) and I have a similar philosophy, except I never promise an on-screen review. If I really don't like a product, chances are I'm not going to spend hours--or even minutes writing up negative review.

Cancan- that is just cheesy.

Kristina- yeah it was weird. I really thought they crossed me off their list. Surprise!

Speaking of which, Veronica. I hate to see it, but the whale soaps are keepers! They are too cute and remind me of some vague soapy thing from my childhood. Oh wait, I got two sets. Of course you can have one. And the detangler. My boys' hair is never more than about 2 inches long, max. Now you'll *have* to show up. Or maybe I should hold off til the LeapFrog event ;-)

Cindy Fey said...

I do love freebies! Thanks, Kim! And my girls thank you too. You should have the seen the look on Mia's face as she tried the new toothpaste. Caution turned into "Yum!"

kristina said...

So let me ask you all: I had a product sent to me in June, and it is terrible. I just kind of blew it off not knowing what to do. The PR guy asked me today about the review. Haven't answered yet. Would you review it or not waste your time on it, like Kim said? And how to respond to PR guy?

MoreThanMommy said...

I work with some fantastic PR people, but I agree that some need to learn how to listen. I hate being pitched things that clearly have no match for the blog in question (like sunscreen on my Family Computing blog!)

CanCan - Software companies often send preview copies in that form - you're usually getting a copy before the CDs have been printed! I wouldn't take that personally. On the other hand, I think it's pretty crappy of them to tell you that you aren't generating enough hits. 468 hits isn't that much in the greater scheme of things, but they should have done their homework to get a sense of the traffic on your blog. They could just not work with you in the future without being rude.

As for Kristina's questions, I think that if you promised a review, you need to write one and just be more clear on your policy next time. Reviews do not have to be positive and you can actually lend credibility to your site by writing balanced reviews that are negative as well. Just list the pros and cons and try to stick to facts (i.e., the soap smelled like a dirty diaper, rather than the soap stinks). Either way, you do need to at least let the PR person know what's going on.

MoreThanMommy said...

P.S. It's also very common for press to return larger items to the PR people to avoid looking like they're paid reviewers. I always ask for return postage if I want to review something that I know I can't keep (I write for and can't keep review items worth more than $100).