Accordingly, expectant parents are a prime audience for offers of life insurance, financial services, real estate, home improvement, household cleaning products and automobiles. "It's a great time for life insurance because it's a life change where you stop thinking about just yourself," notes Lenore Cunningham, sales director at list management and brokerage firm Lake Group Media. For example, direct marketers such as Savings Bank Life Insurance, Mutual of Omaha and Gerber Life Insurance actively target expectant parents.
The Countdown to Baby
Timing is critical when marketing to the prenatal market. Pregnancies are not part of the public record, so the lists available for rent typically are response files sourced from magazine subscriptions; point of sale; insert programs; and Web sites that offer free samples, coupons and informational resources. Many expectant mothers do not publicly acknowledge their pregnancies until the end of their first trimesters, so marketers usually have a five- to six-month window of opportunity.
What's more, marketers may want to target these women in a certain trimester. This makes due date a key select. For example, Linda Lomax, director of marketing at One Step Ahead, a multichannel marketer of infant products, says she selects third trimester names for her prospecting efforts. "That's when baby showers typically are held and people narrow down their needs," she explains.
First-time mothers-to-be are another popular select because they generally have a greater need for furniture, toys and baby supplies. Early branding is particularly important with this group, because they are in information-gathering mode, notes Norma Blatto, vice president, publisher/executive director of American Baby Group, a division of Meredith Corp. "If you get in early with a strong message that shows them how it's going to make their lives easier and gives them a good sense of trust ... you will have a better shot at converting them," she says. This is why companies that sell consumables such as diapers, formula and baby food begin targeting expectant parents in the second trimester. MacNicholl agrees: "It's a first in, first win thing."