I spent the majority of last week at the BlogHer Conference in Chicago. Though I’m a blogger myself and interested in maximizing my own personal opportunities in the space, I was there for business. I have worked for BlogHer for three years now, selling digital advertising to agencies and Fortune 500 companies. It is the best career I’ve ever had, and I love it, in large part, because I am wholly excited about what I sell.
Marketers, more than ever, have realized that Moms are the primary decision makers in household purchasing decisions. And they know that many of these women have turned away from TV, radio, and newspapers in favor of the Internet. In particular: Moms have turned to blogs as a way of understanding, absorbing, sharing and relating. And the big brands, in turn, are looking for a way to reach these women who write blogs, and who read them. I feel privileged that I have both the knowledge and the opportunity to help connect companies with the audiences of the smart, tech savvy women who are paving new paths with their writing about parenting, products, relationships and life.
But I’m also a little worried about the possibility that these Moms - whose attention is so very coveted by these big brands - might be sabotaging their golden power of influence by overreacting to marketer’s attempts to reach them.
I woke up early on Sunday morning at the Conference to respond to email and peruse through the trending topics at Twitter when I saw conversation that made me suck in my breath. A few tweets told me quickly of a happening at the Conference: a Mom blogger had attempted to take her baby to a Nikon invite-only event, and had been turned away - the event was at a bar: a cocktail party. The Mom was offended and apparently so were dozens of other Moms - so much so that they initiated a hashtag to aggregate the conversation - #nikonhatesbabies.
As someone who works in the digital ad space to sell marketing on Mom blogs, I obviously have both a bias and a vested interest here. I want my customers to see Mom bloggers and their audiences as savvy and valuable. I want them to see Mom bloggers as business women as well as lucrative spokespeople. When I see stuff like this, I cringe: it makes me wonder if companies will stop attempting to outreach to us, if they will eventually dismiss us as too dangerous, vocal and shrill. We’re such a diverse group, we Mom bloggers - but I still feel we all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves professionally and with integrity. Labelling a company as “baby hating” because they denied an infant entry to a cocktail party seems to me a giant mis-step.
Chris from Notes from the Trenches has a brilliant post on this subject, and I particularly like Kristen’s, too. My own opinion is this: Nikon invited Mom bloggers to their event in hope that they would woo the women as writers, as business women, as consumers. The fact that they did not allow a baby at a cocktail reception was not a personal attack on Motherhood, and I wish the offended parties could have contacted Nikon via email or phone to rectify the situation if it was that offensive to them. I believe the punishment in this case is much worse than the crime, and has the potential to hurt the reputation of Mommy bloggers as savvy business women - as well as fierce adorers of our babies.