Meet the Moms: Erica the Planner and Lisa the Curator

When you think about customer journeys, you probably envision a very linear flow in which marketing guides prospective customers through a series of defined steps toward purchase.

But digital and mobile technology have radically altered that pattern. Today, customer journeys are consumer-directed—they’re more fluid, flexible, and fragmented than ever before. Shoppers move at their own pace toward decisions, shifting back and forth between stages as they grab micromoments during busy days to get jobs done.

Of course, this can make your job as a marketer challenging. How can you plan for these wildly divergent needs and paths to connect with your audience?

The answer is to know your audience better than ever before. Brands that are able to layer an understanding of their audience’s modes—their mindsets when they have a job to get done—will create valuable messages that are on-deck and ready when the right micromoment arises. Understanding mode allows your messages to hit the right targets at the right place and the right time.

Mode goes beyond demographics. As marketers, we are tempted to use yesterday’s tools to solve for today’s problems. It would be a mistake to assume that all Outdoor Millennial Moms are the same just because they are between 25-34. They use technology to make choices in extremely varied ways.

However, outdoor millennial moms are similar when it comes to the mindsets they get into to get jobs done. Targeting these modes not only sharpens the focus of your message, but also widens the target audience by helping them get something they care about done.

To bring these ideas to life, we’re introducing the personas of five moms, highlighting how these women think about their purchases, and showing you how those personas might play out in the following scenario:

1) These moms have decided they’re going on a camping trip with the kids, and 2) that they need a pack for the trip.

Erica the Planner

Let’s first meet Erica, the Planner. Erica’s the biggest cohort of them all, at 61% of the moms in our research. She’s definitely a mom you’ll recognize: She’s time-pressed, solution-oriented, and focused on doing the best possible job for her family. That means being organized and ready for anything, without wasting any time.

Her personal motto is, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Erica’s kids: Are school-aged

Her outdoor experience: She might not have grown up outdoors, but she’s experienced and confident outside. Rainy days? Not a reason to stay inside.

To make decisions: Erica is crazy busy, which means she doesn’t have a ton of time to spend on research. But she absolutely wants to feel prepared when she’s making choices, which means if your brand can help her feel informed without taking a lot of time to do it, you’ll win her over.

Why is she taking the kids outside? Because she sees nature as a playground where her children can learn about life—to be resilient and active, and to value family time.

What does Erica’s outdoor activity with the family look like? Erica’s family is low-intensity; she likes to take day hikes or just hang out outside.

Her equipment needs: To Erica, gear is a tool, and her practical nature tells her that good enough is good enough. She’s doesn’t need or want to explore unnecessary extras, especially extras that might make something more complicated or expensive.

Now, knowing what we know about Erica—how can we give her what she needs when she’s shopping?

Mode: Planning

Erica’s information goal is to be an expert in what her family needs as quickly as possible. So she wants trustworthy, straightforward facts. Her first question is going to be, “What do I need to know about packs to get the right one?”

Your brand should:

  • Help her feel prepared by giving her the lay of the land—clear, straightforward details in formats like easy-to-scan checklists or quick-read infographics about how a pack can be the tool she needs.
  • Make that information easy to find. Erica’s going to look to experts first—whether that’s well-known mommy bloggers, parenting websites, or stores that sell outdoor gear—but she’s not going to spend time diving deep into nuances. She just wants the facts, please.


Mode: Prepping

She’s busy! Stress will set in if things seem excessively hard or complex, so simplify the options by showing her why they might solve (or better yet, prevent) common problems on her trip.

Your brand should:

  • Make picking the right gear fast and easy—give her lists, tools, and apps—that make dialing in on the right solution a snap.


Mode: Packing

Reaffirm her decision to buy your item by showing that your brand wants to help her solve problems.

Your brand should:

  • Be an even better solution than she expected by giving her a little more help—offer how-to stories to make camping trouble-free and more fun.


Lisa the Curator

Lisa (11% of the moms we researched) is a young parent and a natural storyteller. As a result, she lives and breathes social media—the stories she finds there inspire her, and her feeds are where she expresses herself and shares the story of her family.

Of course, social stories are almost always visual, so Lisa thinks in pictures. She’s a master mobile phone photographer who will do what it takes to get the right shot. In fact, her filter-free family photo mantra is “Let’s take another,” until we get the photo that beautifully captures the story of an experience with her kids.

Lisa’s kids: Are toddlers & preschoolers

Her outdoor experience: She doesn’t have a lot of experience outside, and she’s not heading out on major expeditions. Nature is the beautiful backdrop to family stories.

To make decisions: Lisa’s aware that she’s not an outdoors expert, and she’s looking for resources to help her feel confident in her choices. But Lisa needs to see it to believe it, and will gravitate toward images that inspire and inform her.

Why is she heading outdoors with the family? Because nature is beautiful, and every trek is a story. Taking her family outside lets them experience that beauty and share it with their family, friends, and followers.

What does Lisa’s outdoor activity with the family look like? Like Erica, Lisa’s outdoor activities are low intensity, like day hikes.

Her equipment needs: She wants to express herself as a member of the nature-loving tribe through her choice of gear, but looks are just as important as functionality to her.

Mode: Planning

If she’s going camping, Lisa wants to look the part. Her first question is going to be—which pack works and has my style? She wants to see her options, so she can find the choice that looks right for the adventure, and for the story she’ll share about it.

Your brand should:

  • Paint an inspiring mental picture of the experiences that the pack enables, so that she can start envisioning her own family’s journey.
  • Meet her where she is – in social media.
  • Show—don’t tell—about the options that are both appropriate for the outdoors and in style now.


Mode: Prepping

As the hassle of prepping builds, keep her enthusiasm high with stories and images that remind her of why she’s making the trip. Give her confidence that your pack is the gear she’ll need—and that she’ll look great in it.

Your brand should:

  • Share stories about how the pack works for people like her, or for the people she aspires to be.
  • Reveal the details that make the gear a perfect fit for her family’s story.


Mode: Packing

By taking photos with your pack in them, she’s declaring her affinity to your brand. Return the favor by inviting her to share her story as a part of your brand’s story.

Your brand should:

  • Ask to hear the tale of her trip on a visual social platform like Instagram.
  • Offer her opportunities to share her story as a part of your brand’s story on your website, or on another social channel.

You can see more real-world examples of how this thinking can result in great gear marketing by viewing the webinar here.
Up next: The Purist and The Climber.

Want to talk to us about how modes can help your marketing? Give us a call at 907-865-9547 or email with your questions.