In this episode, Katrina McCarter shares insights on what she wanted to do when she grew up, and then, how she discovered the power of digital marketing and has used it to become the best selling author of Marketing to Mums, which went #1 on Booktopia’s Business Bestseller list outselling the likes of Simon Sinek, Timothy Ferriss and Sophia Amoruso.
She also shares her though on niche and marketing, the importance of taking time off and sometimes working by yourself, as well as starting your own business. What to do if you want to start your own business? Her advice is “Go for it!.. We live one life…have a go”. Don’t miss out on this amazing interview.
On Going Digital
Katrina believes that digital can be used to educate and instigate change. Know her thoughts on how digital can be used in educating brands to effectively communicate with mothers, the most powerful consumer group.
About Our Guest
Katrina McCarter is the Founder of Marketing to Mums. She is a marketing strategist who specialises in driving sales and profit amongst the world’s most powerful consumer, mums.
Katrina is a mum of three and has worked with over one hundred small businesses both in Australia and overseas. Katrina is a sought-after speaker at world class events and has featured on Today Tonight, Channel 7, ABC Radio, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
Hello. I’m Serena dot Ryan and welcome to the See Digital Clearly show. This show is dedicated to inspiring action. Each episode, there is an interview with the forth-later doing great things for digital. They will share their insights and experience to get you inspired and focused to create the life you want thanks to digital.
In this episode, Katrina McCarter, founder of Marketing to Mums, joins me. She is a marketing strategist who specializes in driving sales and profit among the world’s most powerful consumers, mums. Katrina is the author of Marketing to Mums, which went number which went #1 on Booktopia Business Bestseller list outselling the likes of Simon Sinek, Timothy Ferriss and Sophia Amoruso.. Katrina is a mom of three and has worked with over 100 small businesses in both Australia and overseas. Katrina is a sought out speaker in world class events and is featured on Today Tonight, Channel 7, ABC Radio, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. I am honored to to have her as a guest today in the See Digital Clearly Podcast. And for her to be able to share her insights and knowledge about how she is not just identified the biggest and potentially most powerful group of consumers, and how to tap in to their world and knowledge is incredible. But also, how she is actually using her insights to create a life she really wants.
S: Thank you so much Katrina for joining me today.
K: Oh thanks for having me Serena, I’ve been excited about this all day.
S: Oh look, that really makes my day. So I think, I have been following you for quite a little while now on social media ever since I came across you at AusMumpreneur last year, and I’ve heard so many great things and it inspired me to check out what you’re up to and you know social media is great for that. And I think I really started getting into what you’re up to when you’re doing these amazing Facebook lives from New York.
K: Hmm I’m about to start doing them again.
S: Oh my goodness. Why going to New York again?
K: Oh there’s this special conference there its the world’s leading event for people involved in Marketing to Mums, or as they call the Moms. And it’s called the M2Moms conference and it runs for a day and a half and they have the likes of Google, and Twitter, and major research organizations there. And over the day and a half we’ll listen to 24 sections of Marketing to Mums experts with latest research and findings. And this year I’m actually presenting and I’m actually talking about how mums influence travel. And i’m also going to be sponsoring the event. So it’s really really exciting for me.
S: That’s incredible, my goodness. Did you even think this would be on your radar even 12 months ago?
K: No, I didn’t. It’s a pinchy self moment, I really really started to be involved. I really like the energy of New York anyway. Given the nature of what I’m doing here in Australia, there isn’t really and industry as such and so it’s really fantastic for me to be out and go in and check in over in the US and see what they’re doing and some of their research, their findings. And I will I find a lot of differences between the US and Australia but its still business and a really good perspective on a viable scale.
S: Fantastic. Wow. I think, in conferences I found in America, they really give us a glimpse of what’s possible. Like, when I was there in March this year for a conference I was blown away at the scale and the ability for them to coordinate at that scale, so many people. You say, there’s what, 24 sessions? Do you know approximately how many people will be there?
K: Ah, generally there’s probably around 300. In Australia there’s probably only about 3 of us. So there’s probably about 300 to attend this conference. but each sessions is only 15 minutes. The longest presentation is 30 minutes, so it’s just one and the other and it’s really interesting information that comes very so. I find it great in terms of inspiring me. And I’m looking at rushing another book next year. So I’ll just come to see what might inspire me in that even while I’m still there.
S: Fantastic, now I really want to ask this to know how much digital can affect our lives. What did you want to be when you grow up?
K: Ah, I love these questions. I used to catch the bus everyday from the age of about seven or eight. And I catch two buses but I had the same bus driver everyday that would pick me up. And he asked me the same question, Serena. What are you going to do. I said I am going to be a stockbroker. And I used to tell them that I was going to, you know buy or sell stocks in companies all day long. And I was going to craft deals and this is going to be the nature of my job. And I was actually back in Perth where I grew up. Probably about ten years ago and I got on a bus for some reason and a gentleman said, “So, you’re a stock broker?”. And it was actually my bus driver from when I was a kid. He was still driving buses, recognized me and remembered enough the question. So, yeah I wasn’t always about, I love commerce. So its always going to do something quite commercial.
S: Wow, it’s fascinating we started off a conversation talking about New York. I think that’s, I instantly think of New York, we think stock braking, that would be where its at. You’re back there, talking about finance in a different light.
K: Well yeah, I mean I spend a lot of time in New York. I did my first trip to New York when I was 16, I got myself a job like KSE, for 3.28 an hour and I saved up my fare and said I was off. And my mom said I don’t think so. And after four days locked in my room just utterly devastated because I’ve been keeping a scrapbook about this city for a couple of years. She knocked on my door and she said “I’m coming too.” So we had a few great weeks together, exploring New York. Her sister actually lives there, my auntie. So it was great to have a local and I subsequently go on back all the way through uni for this three month gap and took my husband there for a honeymoon and my actual aim with my business is in 10 years time i’d actually like to be over in the states launching Marketing to Mums over there.
S: Oh my goodness. You know you asked me just before we got on, like started the call today about if I wanted to be called Serena or known as Dot. And my Dot actually comes from my great grandmother who would spend 3 months of the, for 20 years in New York.
K: Wonderful! What a woman.
S: And yeah, she was married to a stock broker.
K: Oh really?
K: That’s great.
S: So, its um, its a few things there.. So yeah I had a few trips to New York for this reason. My Dot connection, literally.
K: That’s wonderful.
S: So I think, digital is something that’s I’m fascinated about because it enable so many things in our lives. Like what you are doing now is incredible like being able to unlock the value of what we have as a group of, an understanding of a group of people who have spending power.
K: Oh yes.
S: When did you first notice the value of digital marketing?
K: Ah certainly probably six years ago Serena. I launched an online shopping website for mums called bubbler.com.au and I quickly realized, I mean I was always aware the way people were communicating on social media, but it was really having a look at the nature of how people communicate on social media and how they influence their purchase decisions through social media that I really started to understand it. And so the last 6 years have been a really excellent training ground in having a look at mom’s behaviors specifically as really looking more so at Facebook in terms of the way that they communicate.
S: Yeah its, you know, fascinating. We talked about seeing the difference functionality consistently coming out, you know always looking for ways to unlock even more data.
K: Yeah absolutely, and Serena what’s interesting to me is when I go back to New York and I heard from Twitter last year, Twitter in the US, you know, mums really used Twitter a lot more than they do here. And people have Twitter have part, mums had Twitter parties and they attract a much different kind of consumer and social demographic of mums than other social media. I really enjoy just the new instances as well in understanding different behaviors across different countries.
S: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s, we have a, you’re right if you don’t actually get out of the country you’re in or the culture you’re in you miss those new ones and those opportunities as well.
K: Oh absolutely. Particularly for any Australian business operating in the US i mean, Pinterest is much more prevalent, Twitter is much more prevalent than what we see here.
S: Yeah absolutely, being able to go to Social Media Marketing World this year in March was incredible to see how, by volume of people they actually have, they have more niches available too. So this have the ability to specialize in what particular area or have a significant audience, that’s what I find fascinating.
K: Yeah, I absolutely mumbled with you there, I love niche-ing. I think that, you know something that I always talk about is you can’t niche too much. Because that way you have the greatest understanding of who your customer is and you can speak to them and really be heard. Far more lot than to be heard than having some kind of broad approach where you’re trying to communicate with a very broad statement.
S: Yeah, well said. To think, right, that adage that if you market to everyone you market to no one.
K: To no one, yeah you just don’t connect.
S: Um, absolutely. So, what made you decide to create a business using digital marketing?
K: Oh I’ve always been interested in commerce. As you can see from my stock broking, my early stock broking days, but I’m also really interested in women. I just find us a wonderful gender. And really fascinating. So I’ve been interested in behaviors. Specifically I’ve really looked at the way society, I guess, undervalues mothers. I think that they’re incredibly misunderstood and I think that digital can be used to change that in some way. And it’s about educating brands around how they might use digital to create, to more effectively communicate with mothers. That interests me.
S: Yeah, I’ve really connect really strongly with what you’re saying on that point. Ironically I’ve come from working in the digital space and not being able to get the ability to work flexibly and that’s where I ended up being able to create this business Serena Dot Ryan. And it is actually a bigger picture. I think that when women getting valued in a many levels. It’s like we.
K: Absolutely. I mean the research, I’ve done research into 18, 1800 Australian mums. And I’m working with a leading marketing academic at MIT. and mums feel incredibly misunderstood they feel misrepresented and they really feel undervalued. And I think that there is this real revolution going on right now and I think there’s a lot of businesses that are actually got the head in the sand and they’re not aware of it. And I think that there’s growing empowerment of women through the use of digital, through social media specifically. Because it’s no longer a one way conversation with advertising of brands telling us what to buy. There is now the opportunity, social media has allowed us to respond to that. And I guess comment, so we feel like a brand has not done something right we can hold the accountable. So I think that’s actually a really exciting development at digital.
S: Yeah, what can I say I completely agree. I love seeing you leading the way with doing the research around this as well. I see instigating change. That’s really good.
K: Yeah It’s really about getting at, on the agenda first. And I think that, look I really believe that it is a massive win for businesses who do this. I mean they can get a great commercial advantage, they can drive themselves in profit by taking their time to deeply understand Australian mothers. And I feel that you know, that it has, its not being done by many brands. And their missing out on a huge huge amount of dollars and mum as a result is getting a lot lame marketing messages send through to hers that she’s really almost got a block of brick wall its just noise. There’s not enough connection going on. And that’s really where what I’m hoping to change.
S: I saw that in your presentation, I saw it the AusMumpreneur conference last week where you were talking about the typical account manager that would be in the agency looking after large brands. And that actually seems back to what I said what I saw when I was working in agencies. Where because there was limited ability for flexibility for mums or women who, to be able to work flexibly in the agencies. You ended up with the skew with the account managers either being male or being childless or both.
K: I see this all the time, Serena.
S: Yeah. And when that happens, ironic, cause I kind of ended up with a son that’s five years old, finding that I couldn’t find flexible work and that’s when I seated out of the agency life because it wasn’t feasible to work 60 hour work weeks. But that chain reaction got us into then the marketing myth just to get put out in the advertising. Because that lack of understanding actually starts with not being able to be flexible in the workplace.
K: Look, you are absolutely right. I think there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of filling that gap. And that’s something that I’m having a look at now. At how I can use research of you know, those, I feel like I have the voice of these 1800 Australian mums. Where I’m in a position where I can go in and educate and bring a lot of agencies up to speed with some of these nuances. Because just small tweaks can just have huge sales impacts.
S: Agree, then you know, as you would say its a chain reaction if they were able to allow that flexibility of people with understanding in those roles in the agencies. They could actually retain accounts and get better results for clients.
K: I know that there’s a lot of work being done in the area. Last week they had this 3 Percent Conference which was addressing some of these that they were looking at the fact that some needs they were running 3% were of creative directors in agencies were women. And that flow on effects. So there’s a lot of work being done around the globe in trying to change that.
S: That’s music to my ears I love hearing that. I think it’s a great opportunity to have balance around.
S: I was going to ask you, where do you see yourself in 10 years but you have already answered that one.
K: I’ve got my, I’ve got three kids, 10, 12, and 14. My youngest shares my passion for New York. And halfway down the hallway she got this little shrine. She loves the rise, the buildings as she’s got pictures of the rise the buildings. And I’ve told the kids, the one Alice finishes high school, that mom and dad will be looking to move to New York for a few years. I think is there a time when they’re wanting to I guess separate from their parents and that’s law of the world. And you know, uni, and travelling, so I thought that, that would be a good time to do it but my 10 year old has tagged on me, and said well you know I might want to come too. We’ll see how things go I’m actually about to take all live to the states their coming with me for four weeks on a big fun family holiday and I’ll the conference in the middle of that holiday. So it will be my daughters’ first trip to New York and we’ll see what she thinks of it.
S: That sounds fantastic. Yeah, I look forward to hearing how that goes.
K: Yeah hoping to have meet to the benches.
S: What have you found most challenging, while doing your business and you know, being able to you know, as a parent as well.
K: Ah yeah, you’ve touched on it. Um Serena, I think one the most difficult to things as a business owner is I guess turning yourself off. And actually I find the after school to early evening it’s really difficult for me to switch off from work and try to be present with the kids. So I think that’s something that I preferably found really challenging in both my blogger days and also now with Marketing to Mums. And I guess that’s one of the reasons we going off and actually taking full weeks off and having a really fun fun holiday. Because you know, I’ve worked really harder for the past 6 years. My husband as well who changed careers, he is done in MBA. So I think its a combination of trying to switch off, trying to be present, and I also guess probably some levels, the isolation of working by yourself as well.
S: Yeah. Definitely I think, yea, its good I appreciate you sharing your challenges. I’m sitting here nodding my head a little bit as well, it’s nice to hear it come from someone else as well and not feel so alone. It can be quite a challenge running a business.
K: Well I preferably find it, so I have a period of time where I ran two businesses. And I found that difficult just in terms of focusing caring two businesses in your head. So it’s not just the actual work output that has to happen. It’s more just holding all of that in your head that I found challenging.
S: Yeah. I guess, so what advice do you give someone wanting to start their own business?
K: Oh absolutely go for it! I started my first business at the age of 39 I was almost 40 I started my second business at 44. If you’re sitting on the fence and thinking should I or should I not, we live one life. And it’s an opportunity, you know, I knew that I always wanted to be an entrepreneur because it’s the ultimate test of your skill based. But I also realize that it’s time that’s getting on. You know my financial commitment were not going to get any less. So it’s just about taking that leap. And I would encourage any one who is considering it to have a go.
S: Yeah you just reminded me. I think you did a post when you sold your first business and you made a comment there saying you wanted to see what you’re made of.
K: Absolutely, its the ultimate test.
S: Yeah, that really stuck with me I’m like, yeah I get that, that’s really powerful.
K: Yeah it is. But I was also really motivator too. So it allows me, I’m not deterred by small probabilities in having go with something, Serena. I want to see, well, can i do it? Is it possible? Let’s have a go we’ll see what happens. And I think that has, that’s kind of the nature of what we do as business owners. And yeah, NO doesn’t bother me. You know okay, I’m thick-skinned with a sales background so that doesn’t bother me so much. But what does bother me is if I haven’t had a go.
S: I love it. I’m all charged up now ready to go again! I really, really appreciate your time today to be able to share your insights. I love how you’ve been able to create, well not one but two very successful businesses by using digital tools. I really look forward to hearing how it goes to New York as well.
K: Thank you very much, Serena.
S: Yeah, it’s really inspiring to see someone like yourself who is leading the charge. Yeah you said use your voice. You’ve got this ability to instigate change. I know change doesn’t happen by itself I think we really need to bring awareness into it so I really appreciate your doing that.
K: Thanks Serena, like I say this is a lifelong journey, you know. This is something I’m really committed to doing. Marketing to Mums is my vehicle to see what kind of dent I can make in that.
S: Fantastic. Yeah I feel, I feel compelled to put my voice to it as well and bring awareness around. It’s value is important to me and understanding I will, I’m able to contribute positively and allowing for people to, you know. I’d say this as a mum, as someone who had became a mum, it changed my understanding of what I can do and the depth of what I was actually capable of. And I realized that either I’m not alone in that and there’s actually an ability for so many to contribute a lot more to society. So yeah.
K: Absolutely! There’s millions, 6.2 millions of us here in Australia Serena. And I agree with you its a real transformation becoming a mother. And you certainly spoken to very differently by society. And um, yeah I think we need to change that dialogue.
S: Yeah, I completely agree. So yes, thank you for today. And perhaps in the future we can check in again and talk about this some more. I feel like this is a conversation that can keep going.
K: Oh, I would welcome that. And I wanted to say thank you very much for having me.
S: Oh thank you that’s fantastic!
Thanks for listening. The best time for you to take action is now. Get out there and use digital for what it’s intended for, to make your life a better one.