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Marketing 101 Meets Breastfeeding 101

Linda Parry
Charlotte, NC, USA
From: Leaven, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2008, p. 14

World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations in the USA

2008 Sponsors

Platinum Dual Elite Level ($5,000+)

ERGO Baby Carrier, Inc.
Motherlove Herbal Company

Diamond Level ($3,000+)

Ameda Breastfeeding Products
Mothering Magazine

Emerald Level ($750+)

Sleepy Wrap, Inc

Ruby Level ($500+)

CuddlyWrap by Peapod Creations, Ltd.

Silver Level ($200+)

Breast Pumps Direct
Mama Knows Breast
MommyMilk® Tanks
Platypus Media
Science Naturally, LLC

Bronze Level (merchandise)

Attached at the Hip
Cozy Cocoon
Family Tree Glass
Kiddie Cradles
Little Ants, Inc.
MommyMilk® Tanks
Over the Shoulder Baby Holder
Peek-a-Boo B Nursing Covers
The Umbilical Card

There is a section in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding called "What can fathers do?" (2004 edition, p. 188). I'd like to add a few more options. An LLL father in our community raised the bar with his help at a fashion show and a baby fair as part of our World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations (WBWC). He not only gave his college marketing class the project of making power point presentations to use when approaching local businesses in order to encourage them to sponsor our WBWC event, but he also visited two possible sponsors personally to make the pitch, shared his marketing expertise with us, and even modeled in our fashion show!

Nicole Bennett (LLL of Ballantyne, NC, USA) offered to chair a committee to put on a fashion show and baby fair for our event. She invited her husband, Delancy Bennett, to join us and share his expertise. Delancy is on the Board of Directors of BELLAS, a local Peer Counselor Program. They were one of the organizations in the community that our Chapter worked with as we celebrated WBW.

Delancy took us through "Marketing 101" (an introductory college or university course of study) in relation to promoting breastfeeding. We learned that perception is to marketing what location is to real estate, and that it is important that we reach our target audience. We learned that the more people and organizations that are involved, the more talent and opportunities come your way.

One woman heard about us from the mother of the child she was giving a piano lesson to. She had been a professional model and jumped at the chance to help. We sent an invitation to all breastfeeding organizations, including the president of the local "Mocha Moms" chapter. Some of their members signed up to model and they invited LLL to attend their meeting to talk about breastfeeding and WBW. They made 200 golden bows to give to local nurses. A retired Leader who is a lactation consultant asked her practice to fund the $600 (US) cost for the facility.

Delancy showed us that our membership was a demographic that needed maternity and nursing clothes and children's items regardless of a turned-down economy. We just needed to market that to businesses. We found out which shops were local and which were chain stores. We choose an upscale boutique for maternity clothes and nursing fashions from Motherwear. A children's boutique came on board at the last minute and immediately afterward two chain stores expressed interest. Unfortunately, it was too late to take advantage of the offer, but we will consider them next year.

Perception is reality! Delancy and Nicole met with a local department store. Because WIC (Women, Infants, and Children, a food supplement program in the USA) was a partner, and because our event was free, they assumed it was geared to low-income families and would not be their demographic. Delancy contacted them again to explain that this was an event open to all and they agreed to meet with us to discuss possible future sponsorships.

Delancy also gave a presentation to the largest hospital system and they agreed to be our primary sponsor. We offered particular incentives to our sponsors. Name recognition is key to many businesses so we offered four 10 to 13-second mentions by the announcer as the title sponsor of the event, a free vendor table, and their name and logo prominently displayed on a screen behind the stage.

What was the result of Marketing 101 meeting Breastfeeding 101? One college class at University of North Carolina at Charlotte learned why breastfeeding is important. One hundred and seventy five people attended the fashion show and baby fair. We worked together to plan a week of activities and enjoyed networking. And best of all, we raised $3100 for WBWC and La Leche League. We're raring to go to put our newfound marketing tools to the test for 2009 WBWC.

LLL of Tallahassee, Florida, USA
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action Gold Medal Winner

In 2008, LLL Groups around the world celebrated WBW. Groups also had the opportunity to win marathon event medals in gold, silver, and bronze colors from WABA. The categories were Marathon Celebrations (five events during the week) and Global Breastfeeding Wave Events (mass breastfeeding). LLL of Tallahassee, Florida, USA was one of the WABA gold medal winners. They participated in five events thanks to the efforts of four co-Leaders, Charli Wagener, Terry Knowlton, Jenny Maddox, and Robin Stanford. Read more about their WBWC in New Beginnings, Issue 5, 2008.

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