iMoms, hear them click!

If there is one thing on the Web that has managed to annoy me, it is the deluge of new labels and tags we keep slapping on people and things. So, it was quite a surprise to me that one of the latest buzz words that came to my attention at the Hewlett-Packard imaging conference this month in San Francisco — iMom — had quite a nice ring to my ears.

An iMom, who can also be referred to as the family CMO (Chief Memory Officer), is a tech-savvy mother whose ranks are drawn from distinct generations, including Baby Boomers and GenX members.

HP assembled a stellar panel for the discussion, including iMom author Maria Bailey and representatives from retail chains, which are finally realizing how profitable catering to iMoms can be.

The ensuing 90-minute roundtable was a real eye-opener for a room full of male journalists. For some reason, even though this is not news, they still have to hammer it home that moms spend money — a lot of money. And, when they are not the ones spending money, they are still influencing how the family funds are used.

According to Statistics Canada, 333,000 kids were born in 2001 (not counting immigration rates). Those numbers show that, not only are there that many more new, adorable babies to photograph, but also a much larger contingent of individuals who will want to digitally record and print every cute smile, first step and day of school.

More importantly, unlike in the past, these mothers are tech-savvy and are the family decision makers when it comes to digital cameras and printers, because they are the ones who use them most.

I can’t recall the last time I took a photo and printed it out in colour at home. That particular device is pretty much the domain of my wife, and she uses it mostly for scrapbooking.

Consider how a guy goes shopping for, say, groceries. He’s got his list and he’s thinking one thing: conquer! On the other hand, an iMom is more concerned with the overall experience of shopping. This is why you are seeing print-on-demand photo lounges going up in drug and department stores.

Nice, relaxing, kid-friendly environments where iMoms can pop in and take the time they need to print photos from their digital cameras via automatic kiosks.

Contrary to men, who feel the need to spew specs even when we don’t fully understand what they really mean, iMoms could care less about this techno babble. They just want to know if the digital camera will do what they want it to.

For example, can it remove red eye or add effects? How easy is it to print from? Trust me on this, all those men you see browsing the video game isles in the big box stores are only killing time until their wives make the buy. The big challenge these women face is how to keep their husbands out of their hair while they accomplish the task.

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–Ducharme is editor of Contact him at [email protected].

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