The short-hand “mom” or “mom use-case” gets thrown around a lot in digital marketing. I’ve heard it around the Hero Digital office in the past, and used it myself from time-to-time. It’s not uncommon for “the mom,” to be mentioned as personas are identified early in the process of crafting a digital experience. It’s meant as shorthand for a non-digital person: someone who’s not a power user, not a developer, not a designer, nor a gadget head.
The thing is, it’s a lazy colloquialism that people throw around without thought. The intent is generally to try to get digital professionals out of their highly technical- or design-minded myopia to see something from the point of view of someone with less training, background, and context.
It’s also sexist. There are plenty of moms who are also highly technical. And even for those who are not, being a woman who has children does not make someone uniquely confused by complex workflows.
Unless you are actually selling a product that is targeted to mothers, “the mom use case” is the wrong shorthand, not just because it’s sexist but also because it’s off-target by definition. It inherently misunderstands the intended user group and thus misses crucial opportunities for improvement and fine-tuning. The mom use case assumes an age, lifestyle, and gender that is not in line with the specific type of technology neophyte your product must serve. In continuing to use it, you will fail to target content, calls to action, and offerings that might actually appeal to the valuable segment in question.
So, first resolution of 2017: retire the mom use case. Let’s be specific and intentional in our use cases, and more mindful of the words we use to describe them.
Dave Kilimnik is CEO of Hero Digital.