The Atlantic

How Marketers Talk About Motherhood Behind Closed Doors

Two days at the 14th annual “Marketing to Moms” conference
Source: Hekla / FocusStocker / Boris Medvedev / Elena Crk / Stockforlife / Artissara / inxti / Pro3DArtt / Shutterstock / Katie Martin / The Atlantic

On a recent clear-skied autumn morning, families milled about Rockefeller Center in Manhattan—clasping shopping bags, gazing into their phones, waiting on benches for straggling loved ones—unaware that 31 floors above them, in a sleek meeting space, a room full of marketers were trying to get inside their heads.

“Moms are the most powerful influencers on the planet,” said one. “She is caring for new life—she will buy anything for that baby,” another said later.

They were onstage at M2Moms, a two-day “marketing to moms conference” in its 14th year. Its 80-odd attendees and speakers—who came from consumer-product companies such as Volvo, Crayola, and Kohl’s, as well as from marketing firms—were gathered to learn how to reach, in the words of Nan McCann, the conference’s organizer, “the females you want to become your customers once, twice, and always.” This knowledge was delivered to M2Moms’ mostly female, mostly white audience in the form of presentations with titles such as “From Bras to Booze: The Principles

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