L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food, released this week, shows that baby food brands have made efforts to strengthen their ties with mothers through autoreplenishment, loyalty programs and informational resources. Enfamil, for example, has an “Enfamil Expert” phone assistant and videos of interview with experts on topics such as post-partum exercise. The “Family Beginnings” support program invites new families to sign up and offers up to $250 worth of gifts and samples.
Gerber has 24/7 customer service, and its site makes purchases easier by handing off to third-party retailers such as Walmart. And, a slew of apps such as a Baby Journal, Pregnancy Calendar and Crawler Explorer keep the brand on top of mind for participating parents.
Similac has branded itself as a more clinical, serious brand, with a website design similar to WebMd giving information about pregnancy and infant growth. It has maintained that branding on retailer sites with consistent information on all. It maintains data on its consumers by encouraging email signup.
A loyal fan of a baby food and/or formula brand can generate up to two years of sales for every child, a great incentive to establish a relationship with parents early on. Becoming an information and journal hub for parents can be a welcome (and perhaps more effective) diversion from direct promotion.