April 9, 2007 -- Alpha types have long led the way on Wall Street and in corporate America.
Now, they're setting the standard for moms across the country.
Alpha moms have emerged as the generation of college educated woman who take their experiences from the workplace and apply them to parenting with the same intensity. Aware of their potential influence, advertisers are tapping into them to reach moms all over America.
"I think an alpha mom is somebody who is smart, who is plugged in, who is not afraid to admit that they don't know what they're doing all the time but they're gonna go out there and find the answers for themselves," said Alice Bradley, a self-proclaimed alpha mom. "It's a career and I think that's something that alpha mom recognizes. It is in so many ways the most important thing you can do with your life."
Isabel Kallman is an Ivy-league educated, former Wall Street hotshot. But just after her now 3-year-old son Ryland was born, she left her job and launched alpha-mom TV -- an on-demand cable channel and Web-based resource for what she calls "go-to mothers."
"They care about their children and they want to spend time with their children, but they also want to take care of themselves and not lose their own identity," Kallman said.
Putting Pressure on Parents?
Advertisers have long understood that moms control 80 percent of household spending decisions, representing $1.7 trillion in potential sales. So savvy companies are going after Kallman and her kind. When Nintendo rolled out its Wii game system last year, it created a buzz by giving special access to trendsetting alpha moms.
But how does a supercharged alpha mom really know what regular low-key moms might need or want? Some parenting experts worry that moms today suffer from "advice overload," and that type-A parenting makes some feel inadequate.
Regardless, marketing experts agree that where alpha moms go, the rest of the country will follow.
"Alpha, by very definition, are people other people follow," said Marian Salzman, chief marketing officer of advertising agency JWT Worldwide. "If you get the alpha mom sucked in, the beta moms come right behind. So does everybody else in the neighborhood."