Hey, Mama!

If there’s a program that offers additional support and “networking” opportunities with other like-minded moms–show me where to swipe my card!

Various market reports indicate the infant/toddler/preschool market to be a $20-billion industry, where parents will spend more than $7,000 on baby before they blow out the candle on his or her first birthday cake!

If you’re concerned that focusing additional efforts primarily on women will alienate male customers–it won’t. While men still obviously have programming needs, they know what they like, and they certainly don’t require the vast array of options that women enjoy choosing from.

Ultimately, when departments begin raising the bar by marketing to, and programming for, this highly knowledgeable, more discriminating female consumer, everyone wins. The product typically improves across the board. Revenues increase. Offerings expand even further.

Hey, Baby

If my persuasive ways have convinced you of the importance of initiating this program expansion, but you’re not certain where to begin … I say why not start before baby even gets here?

“Be Prepared” may be the official motto of the Boy Scouts, but I assure you that we ladies like it and use it, too! Prenatal programs and products that offer education and support to expecting moms is a rapidly booming business.

There’s definitely room for parks and recreation departments in the mix too. Many of us have offered prenatal swim and yoga classes for years, but we’ve stopped there, and I’m not sure why. Maybe we thought we should only offer programs that look like traditional “recreation” activities, like swim or yoga.

But during tough economic times, when recreation departments must prove both their community value and fiscal worth, it’s exactly the time to grow our bag of tricks … and to market that bag to the women who do the shopping.

We’re already in the business of helping people become healthier, better versions of themselves, so in order to target new moms we have to use the same type of thinking. What classes or programs will help moms feel like stronger, happier, more capable parents?

Here’s where we decided to start our first time out:

Becoming a Coupon Mom! The skills that moms learn in this class will actually pay for themselves during their next grocery trip!

Lessons in Greener Mommyhood! There are invaluable tips on reducing your family’s carbon footprint and setting an eco-smart precedent for your children.

Moms appreciate programming geared specifically to them.

Happiest Baby on the Block! The geniuses behind this best-selling parenting “bible” have certified instructors in almost all 50 states who will run classes in your area to teach new moms about the magical “5 S’s” that can soothe a crying baby and add hours of much-needed sleep for newborns and parents. Learn more about locating an instructor or becoming certified at www.happiestbaby.com.

Create a partnership with a local lifestyle photographer, and offer a Shutterbug Babies Workshop. Teach moms inventive tips and tricks for putting their baby in front of a camera and enjoying the results.

Babies are what they eat! In an organic-conscious society, teach moms how to make their own baby food–free of artificial ingredients and preservatives, and stored in BPA-free containers.

This list could go on and on. While the ideas listed here may be somewhat “baby-centric,” there’s certainly room for many others that focus more on a mom’s physical, social, and emotional well-being that are of equal importance. This is really where the beauty of this new branch of programming lies–in the endless possibilities.

Our department will market these programs together, asking ladies to “Join the Mama Movement” with us. This will include welcoming “mommies-to-be, rookie moms, and masterful mothers”–opportunities for any stage or state of “Mom.”

No babysitter is needed either–many of these classes will be set up to welcome toddlers or babes-in-arms.

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