Monday, March 09, 2009

Marketing to Mommy Bloggers: No Child Left Behind

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Usually my rants against No Child Left Behind fall under a different category, but a recent dinnertime conversation prompted me to chime in under the marketing tab. When a company works with a mommy blogger to launch a viral campaign or to get bloggy product reviews, that company often works with that mom's children, too.

My boys have helped, or perhaps I should say have been involved with, reviews for clothing, shoes, backpacks, games, toys and cell phones. Their experiences with those products not only impact what I write on my blog, they affect my future purchases.

I know this is true for other mombloggers as well because after I arranged for some of my blogfriends to receive the LeapFrog Tag last summer, several of them told me how much they'd spent on additional Tag books by the summer's end.

But PR efforts don't always make us open our wallets or leave us with a warm, fuzzy feeling. In fact, the dinnertime conversation I mentioned above involved my 10-year-old asking about the warm, fuzzy slippers he was supposed to review earlier in the winter. There was a a slip-up somewhere along the way by the time my request went through, the seasonal item was out of stock. And my son was sad.

He's ten he can get over it. But apparently he isn't yet.

After discussing the slippers, the conversation turned to the FlyPhone, or whatever one calls the FireFly phone for tweens. I was contacted in later summer 2007 with news that one of these then-new phones was headed our way. I received a few notes about delays, inquired a few additional times (whenever my son reminded me) and eventually stopped hearing back from the PR hack. We never received the phone*.

While the FlyPhone issue isn't on my radar, it's still top of mind for my son, nearly two years later. Know how intensely my boy feels about what's right and what's wrong. I think it's fair to say he will always remember FireFly as "the company that didn't send me the cell phone they promised me when I was a boy." Always.

So PR pros, please don't leave our children behind.

Bloggers, have you received a free review product that's become a regular purchase for your family? Have your children been left behind on a marketing campaign and do they hold onto those memories like my son does?

*Score one for Kajeet because they sent me a Kajeet phone with GPS locator after I wrote about FireFly.

Read more of my thoughts on marketing to mommy bloggers.


Tech Savvy Mama said...

I have absolutely purchased more books for our Tag after you hooked us up last summer and am anxiously awaiting the release of the third 39 Clues books for the 10-12 year old set. I'm always disappointed when promised something that doesn't come. The most recent thing I can remember is a iPhone application for beginning readers that the founders contacted me about. After exchanging a couple of e-mails, I never got a download code as promised. I'm always on the lookout for educational iPhone apps so would have loved the chance to try theirs. Oh well.

Ilina said...

The first thing I ever reviewed for my blog was a pair of Polliwalks, a great Croc alternative that are way cuter IMHO. They company has been fantastic to work with. Now the season has come for us to order a new pair. Both my boys are clamoring for the alligator Polliwalks, and it's money well spent. I love supporting this family owned business.

RookieMom Whitney said...

Mattel gave me a Hot Wheels starter kit and then I started buying the cars. However I honestly can never remember whether it is Hot Wheels or Matchbox, so I'm not sure if it's a total win for them as any car will make my son happy.

Veronica said...

The kid is 5, so I don't tell her about any product review until I have it in my grubby hands. I guess when she's older and I want to ok it before I tell the PR peep, I'll remember to frame it as "We might get this gadget for you play with." Thanks Kim for once again sharing your mom wisdom!

Qtpies7 said...

There are so many products that I have just had to keep buying, that I buy for friends when they have babies, that I tell everyone about, that people buy because I love them.
My children love doing reviews with me, but we haven't had anything not show up that I have told them about.
I HAVE had companies do that to me, and I definitely did not go buy their product after that.

Jodi said...

It irritates me to no end when I don't receive a product that I am told will be sent. I just never know why, did the product never get sent to anyone (aka the cell phone, which one of my writers was supposed to review) or did they just deem my blog unworthy?

And when I get something I love, I usually end up buying more, either add-ons, like the Tag, or as gifts.

Daisy said...

My kids are in high school and college, so they don't get excited about product reviews. As for phones, I wish one of the phone suppliers would help me figure out a link text phone for my blind teenager.

Robyn - Who's the Boss? said...

Leapfrog products have the "it" toys in our house since we received a free Tag and Leapster. My son plays with the Leapster every single time we get into the car. We purchased lots of games and will continue to purchase games since I've seen how his math skills have improved by playing.

I typically don't tell my son about a product until its on our front doorstep. But

Bonggamom said...

Leapfrog is definitely one of those products that I've reviewed and gone back to buy more. It has really been a mutually beneficial relationship! I've also been approached several times for product reviews which never arrived. They've all been toys as well, good thing I never tell my kids about them until they arrive.