How Walmart Made 11 Moms Become Its Brand Ambassadors
Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and is especially attractive to families who are seeking good value on food and everyday necessities. Walmart Moms, which was originally called ElevenMoms, is an online community created by Walmart to represent this large and diverse demographic. It is currently composed of 22 moms who write blogs and share information on raising kids, shopping, household chores and more. The blogs written by Walmart Moms can be found on the Walmart.com website and on the moms’ personal blogs. Some of the moms post videos to YouTube as well. The main Walmart YouTube channel regularly posts videos by Walmart Moms, so this is a group that has been thoroughly integrated into the huge Walmart brand.
While content of the blogs often refer to products sold at Walmart, the focus is on lifestyle topics such as recipes, cooking tips, how to save money and other subjects of concern to mothers and families. This is an example of how a company can use an online community to indirectly promote its products while also making its brand even stronger.
Due to the massive size of Walmart, a group such as Walmart Moms has quite a bit of relevance and is referred to by pollsters and market researchers to keep up on current trends. For example, Walmart Moms are considered a powerful voting bloc.
Features of the Walmart Moms Platform
Since Walmart caters largely to families, Walmart Moms represent one of the store’s largest demographics. Although Walmart Moms is a popular feature on the Walmart website, it is well integrated into the rest of the site. Visitors to the main website are encouraged to register in order to get special deals and access to features, but there is no separate URL or place to log into Walmart Moms. You can reach the moms’ blogs in a number of ways, such as by searching for a type of product that has been covered in one of their blogs.
Walmart Moms is actually more a part of the overall Walmart online experience than an independent community of its own. There are no forums where members can talk to each other. Readers can access bloggers’ articles by on the Walmart website or by following links to authors’ personal blogs. The philosophy behind Walmart Moms is that these 22 Moms represent a cross-section of mothers across the nation. They are described on the site as “moms like you.” Because the moms are quite varied in terms of geography, ethnicity and age, many readers are able to identify with the challenges and choices made by these bloggers.
Independence of Bloggers
Walmart Moms are independent and not compelled by Walmart to advocate any positions or promote specific products. While participants do receive compensation and product samples in exchange for sharing their views, they are free to share their sincere opinions. As a member writes, “…everything we ElevenMoms do with Walmart is optional and fully disclosed.” Proof of this can be seen by the fact that Walmart Moms were part of a protest against Walmart, campaigning for higher pages and better working conditions. This independence is a central feature of the community; without this, anything written by the moms would be seen as merely an advertisement.
How Walmart Moms Links to Social Media
Readers of Walmart Moms’ blogs are encouraged to share content on social media and there are social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Although Walmart Moms are clearly part of Walmart’s overall branding strategy, these moms are not portrayed as official spokespersons for the company. This is perhaps why Walmart has chosen not to create a more robust interactive community around this feature. Readers can follow links to the personal blogs of the Walmart Mom. These sites are all a little different, but it is usually possible for readers to leave comments. Readers might also follow links to the moms’ YouTube channel, Facebook pages, Pinterest sites and other social media pages, which are all interactive.
Walmart offers an app to make it more convenient for shoppers to access their site from mobile devices. The mobile app encourages people to log onto the site and shop from their smartphones and tablets. There are incentives for people to download this app in the form of access to special savings and conveniences such as reordering prescriptions.
Walmart Moms: Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors have become central to many companies’ marketing campaigns. Walmart Moms have, for the last seven years, have been influential brand ambassadors for the retail giant. The mom bloggers have leeway to write on a variety of topics, but many of these reference products sold by Walmart. For example, a blog by Walmart Mom Jennae Peterson, My Daughter’s New Mini Me, specifically mentions Walmart’s My Life As doll collection. Even when the blogs don’t mention specific products, links are inserted that lead readers to products on the site. If you read the blog Growing From Baby to Toddler by Linsey Knerl, you’ll find the term “baby toys” links to a page on the Walmart site that sells this type of product. Readers can find this article in the Parents & Baby section.
The Walmart website is set up so that everything -blogs, tips, links to products- is fully integrated rather than separated into separate areas. Because Walmart has such a vast selection of products, it’s not difficult to find connections between topics covered by the mom bloggers and items for sale. This allows the Walmart Moms to be effective brand ambassadors without having to do any hard selling.
Walmart Moms has been a popular feature on the Walmart website for several years now. It’s a way for the company to deliver helpful and interesting content to visitors that does not directly market products. These blogs help to make the website more diverse and more than simply another retail shopping destination. At the same time, the Walmart Moms certainly do their part when it comes to publicizing the company’s products, especially ones related to parenting. The entire concept helps to reinforce the idea that Walmart plays a crucial role in the lives of everyday families.