My Tree Pod, A New Favorite! #ToyFair17

I found one of the most amazing products at Toy Fair last week: Tree Pod! This hanging treehouse requires no wood, hammer, nails or construction. The TreePod brings the magic of a treehouse fort to backyards and campsites everywhere. Made with UV and water-resistant nylon, aluminum frame and steel quicklink, the Tree Pod comes in several cool colors and styles. Check out the Tree Pod; I’m buying one for my vacation home! Available on Amazon, other online and retail locations.

More Toy Fair videos on the way.

Parents Spending Big Money on Connected #Toys for their Kids #DigitalKidsCon

Today I’m thrilled to be speaking at the Digital Kids Conference at Toy Fair, revealing new research from BSM Media on moms, kids and smart connected toys. And what better place to talk about the results than at the Digital Kids conference at Toy Fair ’16.  As usual, our moms provided valuable responses on how digital and traditional toys are blending, and how much parents are willing to spend big money for smart connected toys. Here is an excerpt from the press release for the research and event.

In a survey by BSM Media and Digital Kids Media, 65% of parents say they would pay more for a smart connected toy (versus traditional toy) or on average $41-60 per toy, while 23% of parents would spend upwards to $80 or more for a connected toy. The spend is high and threshold low for parents who are driving a smart connected toy market, which was projected to hit $2.8 billion by the end of 2015.

“Today’s moms, particularly millennials, were raised with technology which has had a tremendous impact on toy-buying decisions for their children,” says Maria Bailey, CEO of BSM Media and author of Millennial Moms: 202 Facts Marketers Need to Know to Build Brands and Drive Sales. “When they decide to buy, these tech-savvy moms do their research. They rely heavily on ‘word of mom’, online reviews, and of course, what the connected toy offers in education and entertainment value.”

Aside from a simple ask (which drives 53% of parents to purchase), parents are overwhelmingly swayed by the promise of learning.

  • When purchasing connected toys, games and apps, 65% of moms look for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) content, arguably one of the hottest trends of 2015.
  • Surprisingly, only 28% of parents said they choose connected toys that promote creative/imaginative play.
  • Of those kids with connected toys, 40% of their moms say their children spend equal time playing with the physical features as they do the digital elements.

“Today’s child anticipates that a toy will be interactive, adaptable and even programmable. Our young digital natives give little thought to the sophistication of smart connected play beyond that it’s just plain fun,” said Tonda Bunge Sellers, president of Digital Kids Media. “In fact, we are seeing boundaries between traditional and digital toys disintegrate for children as natural play patterns and learning become elemental to digital-physical toys, sports play, stuffed animals or even a rubber duck.”

As traditional toys take on a new life, offering a level of connectivity and interactivity like never before seen, parents are eager to purchase, but not without doing their homework first. Before they buy, 66% of parents research, read reviews and talk to other parents for connected toy recommendations.

  • Before buying, moms read product reviews 88% of the time.
  • Additionally, 71% of parents look to blogs for product recommendations, and 60% of parents ask other parents for recommendations.
  • While consumer reviews are key, moms will skip the stars and reviews completely if another mom friend recommends a game, app or toy.

For a snapshot of the summary and more findings, please see the infographic on the purchase influencers, cost thresholds and what motivates the child to ask and the mom to buy at www.DigitalKidsCon.com. BSM Media conducted a national study that surveyed 300 moms and 170 children (ages 5 – 16, mothers responded for 6 and under).

About Digital Kids

Through conferences and content, Digital Kids connects a global community of experts to share best practices and the newest innovations to inspire and advance business in the ever-changing world of kids’ digital lives. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Digital Kids is host to bi-annual conferences that attract toy industry stakeholders, app developers, brand owners, product developers and content producers to collaborate on the future of connected smart play products and services that span interactive, digital, physical, entertainment, and education. For more information, visit www.DigitalKidsCon.com.

About BSM Media

BSM Media is an internationally recognized, full-service marketing and media firm with the greatest breadth and depth of relationships with Moms and Millennials. CEO Maria Bailey and her team produce creative, turnkey programs that allow companies to reach their brand and product goals through influencer matchmaking tactics and trendsetting marketing strategies. For information and case studies on how to connect with powerful Millennial consumer groups, go to http://bsmmedia.com.

 

 

 

I’m 5 Trades Away…Will You Help? #5TradesAway

5trades_logo

It began as a homework assignment. Yes, my homework and not one of my children’s. If you don’t follow me on Facebook or haven’t peeked in on my life lately, I went back to school last summer. I’m currently working toward my Executive MBA at the University of Notre Dame. You are never too old to realize your dreams in my book.

It started as an assignment but has grown into saving the lives of expectant mothers in Africa.

Let’s start with the assignment.

I was assigned to practice my negotiation skills by trading with a simple, yet authentic pair of Chinese chopsticks. The chopsticks were purchased in China by my professor. Although they look like something I’ve chopsticksseen on Canal Street, I have to believe he actually bought them in China because he’s a priest. My mama taught me to trust men of the Catholic cloth. The exercise basically mimics One Red Paperclip, where Kyle MacDonald traded up his red paper clip until he traded for a house. Here’s a great video on his journey. It’s quite inspiring if you haven’t seen it.

Well, I don’t need a house like Kyle. In fact, there’s not much I need other than an A in this class. (Just joking about that one- sort of.) So I’m going to focus my homework assignment to trade up to something I can use to support my recent passion- saving the lives of expectant moms and their unborn babies in Africa.

Here’s the back story.

Each day, 800 moms die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Many of these women live in villages in Uganda and die because they can’t get to a clinic. Imagine. Better yet, watch this video to understand the magnitude.

Pulse, a company building village transports that universally hook to the back of any bike or motor scooter, is working with health care organizations to supply Village Ambulances to remote communities. I will be going to Uganda in June to work with Pulse on maximizing their efforts. I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity but most of all, passionate about this cause.

Giving birth is a blessing, it shouldn’t be a death sentence. We deliver our babies in clean birthing suites and these mothers can’t even get to a clinic.

Back to the chopsticks.

My plan is to trade my chopsticks up in order to get the highest value item I can obtain and then sell that item to purchase as many Village Ambulances I can for the mothers in Uganda. It’s a big goal for a small pair of chopsticks. That’s where you come in.

Follow me on Facebook.

There I will conduct my trades. Follow along and if you have something of value that you are willing to trade let me know.

Think about it. Do you have a signed football lying around the house? Frequent flyer points you aren’t going to ever use except for magazine subscriptions you don’t need? Access to a famous person who would donate an hour to spend with someone who might pay for that experience? Anything? You may not value it but someone in my network might.

I need your help. I can do a lot of crazy things on my own but not this time.

Here’s the rules I have:

1. I can only trade 5 times
2. I can’t trade with any employees or immediate family members
3. I have to do my final trade by May 5th

I’ve dedicated my career to moms, however now I have a chance to help save the lives of future mothers. I would really appreciate your help on this one.

I’m only 5 Trades Away.

For additional information or thoughts, feel free to email me at Maria@bsmmedia.com or message me via Twitter or Facebook.

Join Me Tonight for #BritaxSafety Twitter Party

When it comes to child passenger safety, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the ever changing standards and technologies of today. However, it’s our job as moms to make sure we are informed so that our little ones are as safe as possible when riding around town. That’s why we rely on BRITAX, the leader in mobile safety for more than 70 years, to keep us up to speed on the latest child passenger safety standards.

Join us for a fun and informative twitter party where we’ll learn about the new LATCH requirements, BRITAX patented ClickTight technology and get a glimpse of the latest BRITAX convertible seats to hit the market!

BRITAX Safety Twitter Party
Date:       Thursday, March 20th
Time:      8 p.m.- 9 p.m. EST
Location: #BRITAXSafety
Host:       @MomTalkRadio (Maria Bailey, Founder of MomSelect)

Due to their uncompromising focus, BRITAX has become one of the brands most trusted by American parents and caregivers since entering the U.S. market in 1996. It’s not hard to see why when you take a look at the latest innovations BRITAX has to offer in their new G4 Convertible Car Seat line, as well as their Harness-2-Booster seats with ClickTight technology.

After hearing all about the newest car seat lines from BRITAX, we’re sure you will want one for your little one. That’s why we’ll be giving away two (2) BRITAX G4 convertible car seats and two (2) Harness-2-Booster seats with ClickTight to some lucky winners throughout the party!*

Click HERE to let us know you’re attending or just join in on the fun tonight!

In addition to the host, be sure to follow @BRITAX, @Resourcefulmom and @MomSelectAmy throughout the party for updates, prize information and details.

Feel free to contact Amy@bsmmedia.com with any questions.

Warm Regards,
Maria Bailey, Mom Select and BRITAX

*Please note that eligible prize participants for this party must be U.S. residents or Canadian residents with the exception of Quebec.

Be a “Spotlight” Guest on Mom Talk Radio

Mom Talk Radio, my weekly radio show, is changing format (slightly) to include a new segment called “Spotlight on Moms”.

Each week, we will choose a new mom to participate in a casual conversation focused entirely on you. Whether you’re a stay at home mom with unique tips to share, a blogger covering a fun topic, or a mompreneur with tips on how to balance work and home life – we want to hear from you! The segment is pre-recorded and takes approximately 10 minutes via a phone call (a show producer calls you), then airs at 8pm EST the Sunday following taping on MomTalkRadio.com.

If you are interested in being a guest for Spotlight on Moms, please fill out this quick information page (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GNN7FDG).  If you are chosen, the show producer will reach out to you via email to confirm a date, time and to verify your information.

We look forward to having you on the show!

An Open Letter to BlogHer

Dear Elisa, Lisa and Jory,

First, let me apologize for addressing you by name; however, I did so intentionally and for good reason.  We forget that there are people behind a brand – people who work hard, have feelings and express emotions.  Online, it’s sometimes easier to throw rocks at a brand forgetting that there is a person who has worked hard to create it.  I want to remind myself, as well as others, that BlogHer was launched by three women much like each of us who launch blogs and businesses.

First, I want to thank you.  Thank you, because I had the best time at BlogHer that I have EVER had since first attending your conference way back when you launched it.  Now, you might be scratching your head and saying to yourself, “How in the world could you have enjoyed BlogHer, when you didn’t even attend BlogHer?” But let me assure you I did attend BlogHer.  My bathroom scale confirmed it this morning when it reminded me of all the Garrett’s Popcorn and pizza I ate all week. Not only did I attend BlogHer, but I achieved everything I believe the three founders intended for attendees of the BlogHer Conference to experience.  I met new friends in my space and networked with old friends as well. I learned about new technologies, new brands, new products and new ways of solving the challenges I face as a social media mom.   Best of all, I felt like I was part of a unique and awesome community of women and men (when you count Mitch and Ted).  I can’t honestly say that I have accomplished so much at past BlogHer conferences.  I did all this without my BlogHer pass, which as we all know was revoked on Tuesday night at 11:30 p.m. (I really wish I wouldn’t read my emails in the middle of the night!)

But here’s the ironic part.  What looked like a negative on Tuesday night soon became a positive upon landing in Chicago.  You gave me the greatest gift BlogHer could give me by revoking my pass. You forced me to look at the conference in a new way and you motivated others to act in ways I’ve never experienced before.  I received an invitation to my FIRST-EVER outboard party.  Really!  In all the years of attending BlogHer, I have NEVER been invited to an off-site party.  I am not sure why. I thought I was a nice person, but most people may just think I’m too busy or going somewhere else. I guess once I was labeled an “outcast” from BlogHer, outboard event organizers felt sorry for me and took me in.  I have to tell you, they are fun parties!  I finally understand why so many moms can’t wait to venture away from home and attend these parties.  I have read about them for years. I’ve seen women wait anxiously for their in-boxes to fill up but I never really understood why.  I do now and if you’ve never been to one, I am going to encourage some of the outboarders to invite you next year.

Not having my BlogHer pass opened up my schedule and allowed me to attend some of these “outside” events.  It also forced me to meet new people, socialize in new niche communities of moms and look at the conference from a different perspective.  I had lots of time to listen to the opinions of moms about the conference, sessions, sponsorship policies and events.  Not because I asked, but suddenly moms who I’ve never met before approached me to talk.  It seems being a REVOKED MOM made me more accessible.  It was awesome. I literally met hundreds of women who I would have otherwise walked past in the lobby or rushed by in the Expo Hall.  We had a reason to talk and you provided that for us.  Thank you.  Many of the women expressed support for me – so much so that I felt a sense of community at a whole new level.

What I did miss, however, were my old friends, the experienced mom bloggers who no longer see BlogHer as a beneficial expense.  We all know that for the first time, many of the “old-timers” weren’t in attendance. We need to get them back.  Although their absence forced me to hang out with new acquaintances, their knowledge and guru-ness was definitely missed by not only myself, but I’m sure by women new to social media.  I believe that the richness of our blogging community depends on diverse levels of know-how, assortment of histories and sometimes conflicting perspectives.  Do I like that there are other moms who sell the services to companies that BSM Media provides? No, but these women make me a better business owner. They keep me from getting lazy, they motivate me to constantly re-invent myself and they fuel my engine when I get tired of staying up late working.  When you embrace competition it makes you a better person overall; personally and professionally.

The Dalai Lama says, “Don’t lose the lesson” and I believe that my lesson this week was learned in the sense of community I felt with every embrace, tweet and Facebook comment.  I’ve joked about being revoked.  I’ve worn a fictitious REVOKED name badge and I even tweeted from @REVOKEDMOM, but I want to get serious now.

I learned this week that BlogHer, the conference, has a place in the female blogosphere.  It has a place because as bloggers (yes, I am a blogger:  www.bluesuitmom.com, http://www.womenontheirway.com/jane-air/ ) we need a physical place to gather, share, network and learn.  However, we also need an event that evolves with our community. One that offers content as valuable to an old timer like me as to a newbie. A conference that sees the value of empowering its community members with financial opportunities as much as it values building them for themselves.  A community where there’s open dialogue and opportunity for growth.  All of this leads me to my proposition.  I feel so strongly about preserving and growing our community that I’m willing to fly to New York at my own expense and sit down with the BlogHer team to brainstorm.  I want to be part of the solution rather than the REVOKED mom.  There’s so much more for us all to gain by working together rather than tearing each other apart.  I try to practice what I teach my children and in this case, I’d like to see how we can play nicely together.  Email me, even if it’s in the middle of the night.  I’m sure I’ll read it before dawn.

Care Packages from Redship

Now that the winter break is over and my two oldest children are back in their college towns, I’m missing them and the special times we had together over the holidays. The next “holiday” will be Valentine’s Day, which I doubt will warrant a trip home to see mom and dad! I’m going to send a care package instead. Instead of running to the store and looking for the items, the box and making a trip to the post office to mail, I’m using Redship.   I’ve used them in the past and really love their products, options and naturally, the convenience. From their signature red cylinder to the Healthy Care Package seemingly designed with my daughter in mind, I love this company. Check it out.

home-package

From their website:

Sending a care package delivers the comfort and memories of home.  REDSHIP.com has created “21st Century CARE Packages” uniquely designed for a college student, boarding school student, summer camper, and anyone you want to make smile. Our care packages have a universal appeal making it easy to send for a variety of reasons to a variety of recipients. Our care package products have been researched and tested. We have used a combination of snack industry research and student reviews and suggestions to determine our care package contents. We continually research and test to always ensure we ship the most desired products. Additionally, we add a few hard to find snacks for that extra surprise. REDSHIP.com customers should always feel confident they are sending the most loved items when they place their order.

Our motto is “simple, fast, and easy” when it comes to ordering. We don’t overcomplicate the product selection or the order process. Less is more, because more becomes better with less.

Our signature extra-strength bright red shipping cylinder is exclusive to REDSHIP.com. The red cylinders provoke excitement, attention, and anticipation as it travels from our door to the recipient. Once received our goal is to have a smiling recipient that knows someone cares about them.

This will make Valentine’s Day so special for them, and before you know it, I’ll be sending care packages for final exams!  Time flies.

Maria