Today I had the good fortune of watching a few tiny pieces of BlogHer ’08 in its final formal day (there is an unconference over the next 24 hours, which no doubt I’d be more interested in). Now, I have just come from two very important Australian conferences. Firstly, PubCamp which was presented in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, by itechne (which I have connections to, and which I presented at) and then also the Future of Media Summit organised by Ross Dawson, which was a combined conference simulcast between San Francisco USA and Sydney, Australia.
Both of those conferences talked (heatedly at times) about the responsibility and accountability of media and journalists as they move online.
And then I hit BlogHer. As a Marketing and Events teacher at College level, and as someone who has admittedly only experienced a small portion of the event itself, I feel BlogHer 08 is making dollars by capitalising on the marketing potential of the target audience – both the target of the attendee and of the advertisers seeking that attendee’s ear.
The ‘Mommy Bloggers’ are ka-ching for so many marketers. This audience – the mums (yes, I say ‘mums’ rather than ‘moms’ because I’m an Aussie) – is one that is hard to convince through regular advertising channels. The best way of convincing mums to try their products is through word of mouth. I don’t need my academic credentials to tell me this, I know it. I’ve had four little darlings and I know the best recommendation on products for my child has come from other mums I trust.
And the mums that are trusted in the 21st Century are the Mummy Bloggers. Until now, mums have had very little interaction, relatively speaking, with other mums. Playgroup, pre-school, kindy etc were the places these women connected. But now there’s the internet. And it’s connecting all mums so they’re a power-buying force.
Guess what? The marketers know it, and are chucking free ‘schwag’ at the blogging Mummies in an attempt to inform and persuade them to use, review and talk about their products. They’d be stupid not to.
But guess what else? Mums are not stupid. They/we did not expel our brains at the same time as delivering our children. You want to give us free stuff? Great. We’ll take it. Thanks very much. If marketers think that giving stuff to a mum automatically means they’ll write something good about it on their blog, then they are the stupid ones.
Journalists in Australia have a code of ethics which compels them to produce content that meets a particular standard. It is supposed to guarantee accountability and responsibility.
Bloggers, including mums, probably don’t need a code of ethics. Why? Because everything they write has their own personal name behind it – not some third person brand owned by a mogul. Therefore everything a mummy blogger writes has an underlying guarantee of accountability and responsibility. They are their own brands. Their reputations live and die by their own hand. If your toy sucks, then it sucks.
So you want to give Mummy Bloggers free stuff? Go ahead. From the sounds of the attendees at BlogHer 08 they got heaps and heaps of what they are calling ‘schwag’, ranging from a phone through to books, toys, massages… but if you make the mistake of thinking it will influence them to write something untrue, you’re a crap marketer. More fool you.
Oh, and I’ll be at Blog Her 09. And I’ll be taking a second suitcase that’s empty, just in case. 🙂