Sarah Moore: Using real moms for marketing

When Sarah Moore, the San Francisco half of advertising consultancy MomWise, was a little girl, her father was an executive at a major advertising firm.

One day he brought home storyboards from a Flintstones Vitamins commercial, and when young Sarah saw the same commercial on television during morning cartoons the next day she witnessed the way marketing connects to everyday life.

Now that Moore is a mother and a former senior ad executive herself, she has long recognized that such a relationship between marketers and their real lives can give a significant advantage in her business.

“Because moms control close to 90 percent of the household spending in the country, there will always be a place for marketers who empathize with mom,” Moore said.

With that in mind, Moore and her longtime friend Betsy Westhoff this year created MomWise, a consultancy that harnesses the collective empathy of marketers who are moms themselves.

Moore, who said in marketing she most enjoys “jumping into the target’s head,” has two boys, Henry, 12, and Christopher, 10. She was a senior executive for almost 20 years, most recently as management director for DDB Worldwide in San Francisco.

She said too many times in the boardroom her colleagues would turn to her for the “mom” opinion, because she was the only mother in the room. And yet, when groups of mothers were consulted for marketing decisions it was typically done as a focus group, so the mothers were thinking as consumers rather than marketers.

MomWise for the first time, according to Moore, combines the wisdom of mothers and marketers. The company’s resources include a panel they’ve convoked, drawing advice from more than 55 “marketing moms.”

Moore and Westhoff began the venture earlier this year without any startup investments, Moore said.

The two ran consultancy projects for Munchkin Baby Products and Peapod.com, an online grocer, which became the beta phase of MomWise, and contributed the opening capital.

“People are beginning to think how moms are influencing products that are not traditionally considered mom brands,” Moore said.

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