This weekend saw The Baby Show hit Birmingham so Lynne and I went down to see the latest innovations and trends in the baby and mother world.
The show was very busy and we managed to squeeze in a chat with Mamas and Papas who were showing off their fantastic prams including the Urbo and Mylo (we worked on a spreading the word campaign for these two pushchairs last year and it's great to see the changes suggested by our mums being implemented).
The biggest thing to come out of the day for us is that although there are always innovations and new products coming to market things essentially stay the same for mums - we want to feed, clothe, protect, entertain and care for our kids. And mums will find the best products for that.
It's always interesting as both a mum and a marketer to watch buying behaviours at the baby show, as it is an environment where mums are exposed to so many products and ideas in one place. It's very clear from observing mums on the stands and watching their shopping bags that what works for one mum won't work for all mums. In my case I made a beeline for the Close stand (makers of the newly branded Caboo carrier, formerly the Close Baby Carrier).
I was a bit of a sling addict with my two, purchasing and trying about half a dozen before I found (and loved) the Caboo. I'd tried so many different slings because I'd taken advice from different places, other mums, friends, internet forums and review sites. At MumPanel we know if brands want to influence a mum's buying decision it's important to connect with her in these different places. But as well as connecting you need to show mums WHY your product is right for them and that's about understanding a mum's journey and creating appealing messaging.
We spotted some products that we thought would have mass market appeal - the compact, mobile Milton dummy steriliser, for any mum that has ever recovered a fluff covered dummy from her handbag (excellent gap in the market identification by Milton). We also thought the VeraTemp no contact thermometer (initially developed by a pharmaceutical company for healthcare industry use) was fantastic - no more messing with in-ear or forehead thermometers, plus it works alongside a mother's natural instinct to check a child's temperature by putting their hand on their forehead.
As mums we were particularly impressed with The Gro company. They had lovely products to buy but also offered helpful safe sleep advice, making the shopping and brand experience about more than just buying another piece of baby kit. We'd love to see Gro develop sleep sacks or another sleep bag solution for older kids.
And while we're on the subject of stands, it was great to see stands staffed by team members from the actual companies (Superdrug instore staff were particularly lovely and introduced me to their own range of nappies, which I didn't even know existed). Sometimes companies have no choice but to use outside staff or PR companies to man exhibitions but it's worth bearing in mind that a mum to mum (or parent to parent) connection that's honest is incredibly powerful.
Finally a big thank you to Plum for supplying my ticket for the day (and for the very friendly welcome on their stand).