Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast


The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 10: How to sell to the most powerful consumer - mums

Katrina McCarter

Founder Marketing To Mums

February 1, 2022
Did you know that women, especially mothers, are the most powerful customers in the world? Women control 80% of household purchasing decisions. Yeah girl!They are also one of the hardest audiences to market to (one that may be your target market too) because there is so much competition for their attention. ‍In episode 10 of Mumbition The Podcast by Mums & Co, Carrie and Lucy chat with Katrina McCarter. Katrina is a marketing strategist and author, who specializes in helping businesses sell more effectively to the world's most powerful consumer - mums. This jam-packed episode shares Katrina’s decades of marketing knowledge so you can tap into her experience with the consumer behaviour of mums. ‍So how do you get the attention of the mum market? Why is being brave and bold essential to your business? And why are collaborations the key to success?

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Marketing To Mums


Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Katrina McCarter

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Episode 10 Transcript

Carrie Kwan (00:02):Hi, welcome to Mumbition, the podcast for business-owning women byMums & Co, where we share inspiring stories of Australian mums in business.I'm Carrie Kwan the co-founder of Mums & Co and I will be joined each week by our community manager, Lucy Kippist. Together, we'll just discuss how our guests harmonize their ambition, livelihood, and well-being. Let's get into the inspiring stories now. In the spirit of reconciliation, Mums & Co acknowledges the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, and community. We pay our respect to elders, past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander peoples today.

Hello to the Mumbitious, the business-owning women, unapologetically, blending, motherhood and ambition, bravely creating a world where you don't have to choose between your career or caring, a journey that requires many champions and coaches, as you build a business while raising a family. Now, if you've already encountered our next guest, you'll know the value of her company and insights. Chances are you might have purchased something thanks to how well she knows you. Please meet Katrina McCarter.

Katrina McCarter (01:39):Ah, thank you, Carrie. It's really great to be on the show.

Lucy Kippist (01:43):Katrina, you are the founder of Marketing to Mums and your work over the past decade makes you basically the authority on engaging women like us, the most powerful consumers in the Australian economy. Women control 80% of household purchasing decisions and a business to that budget and their economic contributions skyrockets. Katrina, we are thrilled to have you here today to pick under the bonnet of your own thriving business and how you make all of that work as a mum.

Katrina McCarter (02:11):Thanks, Lucy.

Carrie Kwan (02:12):Now Katrina, our first question to any business-owning mother is always to hear her pitch. We think that women should embrace every opportunity they have to make any introductions and connect with customers. So please tell us more about Marketing to Mums and what you do.

Katrina McCarter (02:29):Yeah, absolutely. Thank you very much for the opportunity to practice my pitch. So my name is Katrina McCarter. I'm the founder of Marketing to Mums and that's a marketing and research consultancy. And I call myself a marketing strategist and I specialise in helping businesses from small startups, right through to corporates. I help them sell more effectively to the world's most powerful consumer who are mums. And I'm a really prolific researcher of mother's behaviours. I share a lot of my insights through two books that I've published called Marketing to Mums and the Mother Of AllOpportunities. I love speaking both at conferences and virtual events, and I regularly contribute to business media throughout Australia and also in the US.

Carrie Kwan (03:14):I've read both of those books cover to cover. I highly recommend.Now you've been in business for some time now, a few years, what do you love most about your business right now?

Katrina McCarter (03:26):Oh, great question. So for me, there's a couple of things.Flexibility is massive. I've got three teenagers. One's in year 12. So the opportunity to fly out, drop them off at school, and pick them up. For me, flexibility is really, really precious. The other thing that I would say is I love the diversity and the meaningful work that I do. I absolutely love being the voice of women all around the world and sharing their views with businesses, with brands, with employers, to change how we value and represent women.

Lucy Kippist (04:01):It sounds phenomenal. And as anyone who follows you on any form of social media, particularly LinkedIn, can see just how prolific your workload is. I'm just wondering what have you actually had to stop doing in your life to enable all of these wheels to keep turning in your business?

Katrina McCarter (04:17):Yeah, that's such a good question. Look, Lucy, the short answer would be, I've stopped having to do it all myself. I have been now in business for 10 years, and over that time, I've experienced burnout. I've done the 3:00AM mornings on a consistent basis, building a startup. And whilst I love being a one-woman show I do like to collaborate with others and I've really had to build my team of trusted freelancers. So I have one or two people in my pocket thatI've worked with over a long-term basis and I've added some more. This year because I've now got two businesses that I'm managing, so I've learned that I can't do it all by myself and I have to have some good team members around me.

Lucy Kippist (05:05):I think that's such a phenomenal point to make and something that, as women, we all need to encourage other women to think about because I think we so easily put on that hat of, I can just do it all. But when you're trying to make progress in your business, you can't, and particularly if you're running more than one business.

Katrina McCarter (05:22):Completely. And the other thing I actually do, Lucy, is I have client days and non-client days. And I found that this works really, really well for me. So I can have my really kind of more relaxed days where I'm doing my own work on my own business. And then I have my client-facing days and I know then that if something pear-shaped in my week, I've always got those non-client days where I could jump in and fix a problem or do something for a client if I really, really needed to. And that gives me quite a bit of flexibility within my week as well.Lucy Kippist (05:54):That's great. And are those days in your calendar, are they fixed or do you just tend to move them around, depending on what you've got to juggle?

Katrina McCarter (06:01):Interesting question. I've previously had them really fixed. And so certain days... Wednesday's always a client day. That's always been, and it has kind of fallen into Wednesdays and Fridays at the moment, but that can move. I just make sure that I've got that space. It almost manages my own work anxiety in terms of my workload and making sure that I'm still available for my kids and family.

Lucy Kippist (06:24):Absolutely. That's really appealing. I might put that one down for myself. Carrie mentioned before that we love asking the women in our community to practice a pitch, but we also like making business introductions around our network. So is there something that you need right now in your business or your life that we could put out to our community to come back to you in some way?

Katrina McCarter (06:43):Yeah, absolutely. I would say speaking and training opportunities.If there are opportunities for introductions to speak or train a team in understanding the Australian mother landscape, that would certain be an area that I would love an introduction to an organization or a business that wants to learn more about my research around marketing to mothers.

Lucy Kippist (07:08):OK, wonderful. And you've mentioned before, you've had 10 years building up your businesses and you've had three children. What do you think are the most important transferable skills between being a mum and being a business owner?

Katrina McCarter (07:22):Problem solving. Without question, no one can solve a problem and get things done like a mum can. And being able to transfer that into business, there is a really strong can-do approach by mothers in business. I just think that they really know they will solve a problem quite quickly because that's what they do all day long. That's what we do. We're constantly solving problems. So that's an easy question.

Carrie Kwan (07:51):I think I might add hostage negotiator to that list. I know you've got three, I've got two at the moment and right now they're actually observing my negotiating skills, I think. And then adding a few elements. And my little one said the other day, he goes... I gave him a couple of options, said we couldn't do that. And he said, "I don't accept that."

Katrina McCarter (08:14):I so love that. I've got what a couple of my kids can do my pitch.So they come out into the dining room, through lockdown and go, "Hi, I'mKatrina McCarter and I'm a marketing strategist. And I..." They think it's hysterical. Don't underestimate it.

Lucy Kippist (08:30):Yeah, osmosis. They definitely pick up and they listen.

Carrie Kwan (08:33):I love it. Now I know you love a good brand building story. SoI'll quickly share the reason why we're called Mums & Co. It's actually a play on the incredible businesses that mums create and a nod to the support of the company around that experience. So the co is our partners, our friends, our family, our clients, our village. Tell us about your co and how they support you?

Katrina McCarter (08:58):Ah, I love this. Co is so important. I cannot underestimate that I would not have the success that I have without my co. So this year I've had anew addition into my co world. I've brought it on a content creator who works with me, and it has been such a joyous experience. It has been so wonderful.We're at a similar stage of life, highly experienced, and we get a lot of fun out of actually working together. So definitely my new content creator who I've worked with this year, is definitely part of my co. The other co that I would love to give mention to, is my accountability group. I've been working with three other women for the past, let's say probably three or four years. And we're all very go-getting, high-achieving women who run businesses.We're all mothers. And we all bring a really diverse view of the world and our business experience. And we keep each other honest and we keep each other on track and we will hold each other accountable. And one of the things that I've found as a solo business operator that's so important. It's so important to have your accountability group. You need to have that safe space where you can have conversations about difficulties that you might be having within your business in a really safe environment. So that for me has been incredibly important, but what I love most about them is that they'll call me out and they'll say, "Katrina why aren't you doing X, Y and Z. We did our planning meeting."  We plan everyNovember and we head away for a couple of days altogether, and we make sure it's filled with one day of full massages and just indulgence and looking after ourselves and catching up. And then we get really full on into work. And we're pretty much working by about 7:30 in the morning, and we'll go straight through till, often 7:00 at night. We'll do that for a couple of days and we'll plan out our year ahead. So they know my business really intimately and effectively they've become my board advisory or my unofficial board advisory. And I offer that to them as well. So they are really instrumental in my co.

Carrie Kwan (11:13):That is amazing and such a sound thing to do, especially when we know a lot of sole traders, a lot of freelancers, we don't have the luxury of a bigger team. So having that feedback and having someone to bounce those ideas on and keep us accountable. Love it. Now I'm a little bit curious because I know you've worked with some big brands and helped them navigate how to market to mothers. Is there something in particular that your work has probably made me buy?

Katrina McCarter (11:43):Oh, that's such a good question. I think my work has probably helped brands understand you better, Carrie, and they've probably appealed more effectively to you, which has led you to purchase from them. I would hope that they might have had some small really personalized touches and maybe some surprise and delight elements that have made you interested in a particular product. Yeah, probably more in terms of how the businesses understood you more so.

Carrie Kwan (12:15):Absolutely. And look, you are known for asking us to face our fears and be brave and asking for exactly what we want in business and in life.Take us through your process of being brave in business.

Katrina McCarter (12:28):Ooh, how am I brave in business? I have an attitude around be bold. I really, really believe. Behind me, you can't see it, I've got a big sign up that says, be bold. And I really live by that. I grew up with a single mum and she was all about just having a go. And so I've carried this belief that always put your hat in the ring, always just play those small probabilities because what's the worst that could happen. Imagine if it actually did happen.And I've done that. I've really held firm on that belief because early in my teenage years, my mum made me dream big and I actually went off and satisfied one of those dreams spot, which was to go to New York City. And by having that confidence in that if I dream really big and I can make something happen, it's really shaped my thinking around being bold and being brave out in business, because I'm really willing to take chances. I'm really, really willing to play. If everyone else says you can't do that, that's when I go, "Yes, I can." And my mum really led by example. She was desperate to have this beautiful Italian Villain her backyard, and everyone said she couldn't do it. And my mum found a way and convinced our Perth's biggest architect at the time to do this really small venture. And that has been an incredible piece of inspiration for me to take forth as well. That sometimes we step in our own way. We're our biggest obstacles. So that bravery is to try and get out of my own way and take chances and play those small probabilities.

Lucy Kippist (14:16):I love that story. I know that you told us a little bit of that story at Be MPowered and I got goosebumps then and I still get goosebumps now.I feel like I need to listen to you say that every morning, Katrina. So I getup, I dream big.

Katrina McCarter (14:28):Yes, she does. My mum dreamed big she always dreams big. She allowed me to realize that was just the greatest gift she gave me.

Lucy Kippist (14:38):100%. Obviously, you are someone that is comfortable with risk because you've created such a successful business and that doesn't come without any risk, without dreaming big. But I'm just wondering, on the other side of that, while you are dreaming big, how do you protect yourself and your business from risk as you're developing these big goals and these big dreams?

Katrina McCarter (14:59):I actually think, Lucy, that's a really, really important question. We don't talk about risk a whole lot, and I'm actually quite risk averse. So whilst I'm willing to take these small probabilities, I'm quite risk averse by nature. So one of the key things that I do in my business that gives me a great degree of comfort is that I always make sure I've got three to six months running costs. My salary, running my business. I know that I've got that sitting in cash in my bank account at all times. And I don't allow myself to go under that. The other thing that I do is I'm really careful about my cost centers. And again, that comes from growing up with a single mum. Boy, did I learn to budget, and I'm really, really careful about spending money in my business. And I'm always looking for ways that I might not need to pay money to do something. So I collaborate. So for the last decade in business, I have collaborated with so many other like-minded women who are not in competition with me, but we share the same audience. And we will work together to promote each other's businesses rather than me invest in advertising. And I still very much use a partnership-first strategy in my business. And it's allowed me to build three brands and a global reputation. And I don't invest money in advertising. I just, don't.

Carrie Kwan (16:27):Now we've listened to the Marketing To Mum's podcast and read many columns sharing your expertise. I gather also from Instagram that you quite enjoy browsing for sneakers online. You'll get along well with my husband. WhenI met him, he had about 150 pairs of sneakers.

Katrina McCarter (16:46):Oh, I can't wait to meet him because when I go to New York, it's the one thing that I do every year. I try and go to New York and I look at retail trends and everything is dictated to me where the greatest excitement is in any category in apparel in footwear, is the sneaker industry. And if you're ever in New York City, anyone wants to see the sneaker industry in play. You goto a shop called Stadium Goods Downtown off Broadway. And this is where they do all the resale of the short term collaborations. And I go in there and I watch people spend $10,000 US on a pair of shoes. In this resale market, it is absolutely fascinating. So there is actually an encyclopaedia on the sneaker industry that your husband would love. And I can't wait to meet him.

Carrie Kwan (17:36):There's even a venture fund, I think, that is kicked off around sneakers. So it's definitely a fascinating market.Katrina McCarter (17:48):I'd love to jump here because the sneaker market really excites me because I think that there's so much to be learned in other businesses and other industries because what they do so well is create excitement within a category, through their short-term releases and collaborations. And they do it better than anyone in the apparel and footwear industry. And I think we should always be looking at other industries to see how they're doing something well and see how we can apply that within our own industry. Sorry Carrie, I couldn't help myself.

Lucy Kippist (18:21):No, I love the segue. I'll introduce you to husband later. Now my question is, what's an insight into Katrina that we might not see in published pieces or your social feed.

Katrina McCarter (18:33):Oh that is so interesting. Something about me. Okay. I will tell you, over COVID, so the last couple of years talking more about those non-client days, I've perfected WFB, which is work from bed. And I have found that I can get enormous amounts of work done and it frees me up. It's great for my own wellbeing. I feel great. And I know that I'm getting the work done on my business that I need to do. So that's something that I find nice and indulgent and something that I perhaps you might not have read about me. It's not something I would normally share.

Lucy Kippist (19:18):I absolutely love that. I was only reading an article about working from bed the other day, which I will share with you now I know.

Katrina McCarter (19:23):Oh please, please do. I'm a big advocate from a little bit of WFB during the week.

Lucy Kippist (19:28):I love it. In addition to WFB, is there something else that you do on a daily basis?

Katrina McCarter (19:34):Ah, without question, I walk in nature every single day. I need to get at least an hour to an hour and a half of walking in nature. So I'm located near the Yarra in Melbourne, but in the outer areas. So I've got huge bushland around me, kangaroos, heaps of bird life. And I spend an hour walking on the tracks around my area every single day. And I do that for my own wellbeing. But what I find is that it is the best place to go solve problems and it is the best place to really feed my creativity. I find a lot of people want to work with me because I look at things in a different way to other people and I take a different angle. And so they pay me for that level of creative thinking. So I need to make sure that I keep myself creative and if I'm working too hard, I need to make sure that I'm getting out even more because that creativity is fed through nature. So I really, really nurture it. So definitely walking in nature every day.

Carrie Kwan (20:42):Wonderful. That's giving yourself the creative space-

Katrina McCarter (20:46):Oh, you have to.Carrie Kwan (20:47):... for those creative juices to flow. Yeah. Great tip. And what about to those considering starting a business? What do you think is the most important tip for their sort of journey to grow their business?

Katrina McCarter (21:00):Yeah. Look, there's something that I would really recommend is niche. I know that a lot of new business owners are really frightened about niching in terms of the market they want to go after, and this is one of the biggest mistakes that I see people make when they market to mums, is for instance, they'll try and be all things to all mothers and you just can't be, we all know how diverse we are. So I really encourage business owners to niche and really understand that niche very, very deeply. They are the two biggest issues that I see business owners make as a mistake that really cost them dearly.

Carrie Kwan (21:40):Now at Mums & Co we talk about harmony as a triangle of ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. Could you describe the shape of a good life for you, Katrina?

Katrina McCarter (21:51):I so love this question. The triangle shape actually works pretty well for me too, but I want it to be a really, really, really big triangle because I want lots of ambition and lots of livelihood and lots and lots of wellbeing. Yeah, for me, it's got to be full and joyous, but I love that triangle.

Lucy Kippist (22:12):Katrina, in the spirit of women supporting women who are the mumbitious that you would like to say hello to?Katrina McCarter (22:18):Well I think it would be perfectly fitting for me to put a big hello out to my accountability group. So Kate, Anushka, and Sam, a big hello and thanks to you for all of your support of me over the past three or years or more.

Lucy Kippist (22:35):That's great. Katrina, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today and thank you everyone for listening. We hope you've enjoyed theepisode with Katrina. And if you'd like to follow Katrina, you can find her onInstagram at Marketing To Mum. Also, a reminder that you can catch up on moreKatrina in our digital library, the Mums & Co member website, sign up at www.mumsandco.com.au.

Katrina McCarter (23:00):Thank you very much for having me, Lucy and Carrie.

Lucy Kippist (23:07):I have someone right here, literally here talking to me about Nintendo. This is my son, Harry.

Katrina McCarter (23:15):Good day, Harry.

Harry (23:16):Hi. What brings you the most joy?

Katrina McCarter (23:19):Being around my kids brings me my most joy without question. I love seeing my kids smile and thrive and chase their dreams.

Harry (23:29):Oh, thanks.

Speaker 5 (23:34):We hope you enjoyed this episode of Mumbition by Mums & Co.Head over to the show notes for a full transcript of the interview. And any links we have referred to. Mums & Co is Australia's most caring business network for women. Join us today for just $30 at mumsandco.com.au. This podcast was produced and edited by Morgan Sebastian-Brown of BrownTree Productions and hosted byCarrie Kwan, co-founder of Mums & Co and community manager, Lucy Kippist. We love hearing your feedback. So if you haven't already please share, rate, and review this podcast and we can reach more business-owning mothers, just like you.