When you spot an opportunity you have to go for it

mumandbabyonline.co.uk does what it says on the tin. It’s an information portal for parents-to-be and new parents so they can sign up in one place to all the best baby clubs, offers and information available.

There are about 800,000 babies born in the UK every year and having a baby is high on the list of life-changing events. Parents-to-be and new parents are hungry for information. And there is a LOT available – as well as brands wanting to get their products in front of new customers.

Government legislation, medical advice and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on child health changes with new research and advances in medicine. Sometimes when parents-to-be or new parents search online they can receive conflicting information and advice. This can be confusing and stressful, especially for first time parents.

In the back end of 2009, with a data management background, Lyndsey Marshall was working at Emma’s Diary – a company which offers parenting advice for parents-to-be and new parents. The amount of different information and products on the market could be overwhelming. She saw new parents spending hours signing up to everything only to be bombarded by information that may not be relevant to their personal circumstances.

Lyndsey saw first-hand the impact of how the guidance on infant feeding was becoming increasingly difficult for companies and brands to communicate to parents through traditional channels, and for parents to be informed appropriately. Highly conscious that this key audience were hungry for information on how best to feed and nurture their little-ones, she set about investigating alternative routes to market.

“I believe that all parents have the right to know what options are available to feed their babies, and be communicated to appropriately within the context of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes”

Lyndsey spotted an opportunity. The two most prominent players in the market place at the time were Bounty and Emma’s Diary, who were linked to the NHS. Whilst their relationship through this channel helped get their communications in front of parents-to-be and new parents via GP’s or hospitals, they were restricted in their ability to communicate information on infant nutrition and feeding.

Lyndsey saw there was an opening in the market for a single portal unrelated to the NHS, to enable brands who wish to communicate their baby-related products to a key and receptive life-stage audience of parents-to-be and new parents, thus, enabling them to access vital information on infant feeding and receive consistent and reliable information as well as choice of the best products in the market.

“Having worked with the key brands in the mum and baby market and built up strong relationships, I felt I could offer them a solution for their future communications which had become more restricted at the time as well as offer a solution for the consumer.”

Lyndsey knew the expectant mum and new baby marketplace, with 10 years’ experience and a background in data and sales at the time and crucially had relationships with the baby brands.

So she researched and set up a website and mumandbabyonline.co.uk was born in 2010 – a portal that enables the consumer to sign up only once to join the many baby clubs listed on the site.

The site acts as an independent source for key parenting brands, including those offering infant nutrition, and through the brands listed, provides the most up to date information, products and services which parents can choose to hear from at times which will help them bring up their newborn. Leading brands range from (and not limited to) baby clubs, baby food and milks to cash back sites.

Since its birth there has been constant site testing to ensure the right audience is attracted to sign up and that the website content is appropriate. Additionally ensuring client satisfaction is high throughout – which has proved to be the case as many of the original brands are still working with them.

Seven years later Lyndsey keeps the business lean, managing overheads in relation to income, with the core team which has expanded over the years to include social media experts.

As mumandbabyonline.co.uk continues to grow, activity is paid for on either on a cost per lead or retained basis and they have adapted accordingly to market needs. The site is now mobile optimised as more and more people are accessing the internet via mobile and tablet.

Having now established itself as a key player in the mum and baby arena, it is important for the business to remember its roots and balance the demands of its core client base with the changing consumer demands and behaviour. Site testing and exploration of aligned markets is ongoing, and adherence to any data legislation such as GDPR is as paramount as ever.

“I’m very excited about the future of the business, as more brands come on board and experience the quality of the data that mumandbabyonline.co.uk can deliver them, which means their brands have consumer engagement which ultimately leads them to be profitable.”

Lyndsey’s advice for anyone who has spotted an opportunity…

  • If you spot an opportunity – just go for it. If you don’t someone else will.
  • Check the opportunity is ‘real’, i.e. big enough to sustain a living. Don’t spend £1,000s until you are as sure as you can be that the ‘product/service’ will sell.
  • Don’t give up the day job until you prove the concept is a good idea and will provide you with an income.
  • Be aware of your competitors as the landscape often changes – don’t assume if your competitors are doing something similar they will be successful – first to market often has its advantages.
  • Put the consumer at the heart of what you are doing – it’s about them not you.
  • Busy people make stuff happen – surround yourself with other busy people.
  • Be absolutely clear on what your proposition is and how it adds value to your customer.
  • Think about how your product is different to other offers in the market – have a clear proposition that differentiates you.

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