Ready to hear from someone who understands the power and influence of moms and women over 50? Meet Maria Bailey. As a mom and marketing guru who works with brands to target this important demographic, Maria has been advocating for brands to recognize and embrace the buying power of this group for decades. 

Moms in the United States control over $3.2 trillion in annual spending and are the ones who buy everything at home, from shaving cream to tampons to tickets to Disneyland.

If you’re a mom reading this, this episode is for you. Tune in to learn about the impact of mommy marketing and how important you truly are—not just within your family but also in the economy. 

Moms Rule

Maria Bailey’s personal and professional lives intersected, and this shaped her trajectory into niche marketing for moms. She shares a remarkable story of having two children within five and a half months, a rare occurrence where she adopted and became pregnant simultaneously. This led to her having three kids under 20 months while working for AutoNation, a top-ranking car company.

As one of the few female executives in the male-dominated car industry, Maria noticed a disparity in how family commitments were handled. Male colleagues casually dismissed family obligations, while she strategized to conceal her parental responsibilities professionally. This experience sparked her realization that no one was effectively engaging with moms in marketing strategies.

Recognizing the oversight in targeting women as a monolithic group, Maria identified the perpetual influence and purchasing power of mothers. She observed that being a mom isn’t just a role but a pervasive filter influencing buying decisions. Her insights caught the attention of Random House, leading to her exploration of this untapped market. Subsequently, Maria conducted extensive research that unveiled the astonishing $3.2 trillion annual spending controlled by American moms, solidifying her passion for marketing to this demographic.

Capturing a Huge Marketing Demographic

Maria’s initial breakthrough into this space came with the publication of her first book, which established her as an expert in marketing to moms. She humorously recounts the pivotal moments when she confronted major brands about the oversight in acknowledging the influence of mothers in household spending. Her candid anecdotes include instances where she confronted disbelief from boardrooms, highlighting how men overlooked the purchasing decisions made by moms, from everyday items like shaving cream to planning family trips to places like Disney.

Moms play a pivotal role in household purchasing decisions. Maria strategically integrated brands like Disney with mom influencers, revolutionizing their marketing approach. She shares a career-defining moment when an event she organized for mom bloggers crashed Disney’s website within minutes, showcasing the immense draw of moms in influencing consumer behavior.

Despite some progress in getting companies to recognize the influence of moms, Maria notes that brands often miss the mark by attempting to find a “silver bullet” without directly consulting or understanding the needs and desires of moms. 

The Spending Power of Women Over 55

Christina Daves understands undervaluing an influential group of consumers. She shares her motivation behind starting a podcast geared towards women over 55, expressing frustration at the lack of attention from advertisers towards this demographic. Christina’s research uncovered a fascinating fact: despite the advertising focus on the 18 to 49 age group, 98% of luxury spending for kids, parents, and themselves is made by women over 55. She humorously quips that this demographic is akin to “teenagers with money”—healthy, wealthy, fit, and fun, yet often overlooked by marketers.

Maria Bailey points out the absurd societal perception that women over 55 aren’t considered “sexy,” despite feeling fantastic and vibrant. This group of women carry huge purchasing power, from shopping for their grandchildren to investing in luxury pieces they didn’t buy in their 20s and 30s. 

The vitality and influence of women over 55 should not be overlooked. Maria and Christina debunk stereotypes and shed light on the significant role this group plays in family dynamics and consumer spending, especially in the luxury market—an eye-opening perspective often overlooked by advertisers.

Business is Popping

Maria Bailey shares her incredible journey of reinvention after turning 50, emphasizing the amazing opportunities life presents during this phase. At 55, she founded her third company, Popilicious Popcorn, born from her love for popcorn and the worry for her children serving abroad—her son in Afghanistan and daughter in the Peace Corps.

Driven by the idea of creating something unique, Maria developed a gluten-free popcorn cake, aiming to fill a gap for those unable to enjoy traditional birthday cakes due to dietary restrictions. Her success story unfolded rapidly; she sold 400 cakes in the first week and even landed a spot on Good Morning America.

The business skyrocketed from there, featuring on QVC, Fox and Friends, and recently opening its first retail store in Pompano Beach, Florida. Maria reflects on the daunting yet fulfilling journey, admitting she could be retired but finds purpose in continuing to build and create a legacy for her children. Her daughter now manages the day-to-day operations alongside her husband, while Maria handles the marketing and business strategies.

Popilicious Popcorn utilizes a unique marketing strategy, leveraging Maria’s expertise in understanding the occasions and needs where popcorn plays an important, fun role. Maria highlights the variety of themed popcorn they offer, catering to different events such as graduation or playoffs.

They ship worldwide, particularly supporting military institutions and contributing profits to maternal health programs, aligning with her daughter’s work during her Peace Corps tenure. Popilicious Popcorn’s success illuminates the resilience, innovation, and purpose behind Maria’s entrepreneurial spirit and her dedication to serving both customers and the community.

Engaging Women Over 55

How do we elevate the voices of women over 55 in consumer markets? Numbers talk, and Maria and Christina highlight the necessity of presenting tangible numbers to capture the attention of brands and marketers because these statistics wield significant influence in decision-making. Maria suggests aligning with the thinking of men in business, focusing on factual data and quantifying the spending power of this demographic to create impact.

A lot of success has been realized by targeting this demographic. One example is Maria’s marketing campaign with LOL Surprise Dolls that witnessed grandparents becoming a crucial market. She stresses the importance of recognizing the immense consumer power of women over 50, underscoring their dominance in the consumer market, including their substantial presence in online shopping and their impact on platforms like QVC. 

There is power and influence in engaging this demographic, considering the evolving dynamics in consumer demographics and the importance of targeting large, cohesive groups rather than fragmented generations. 

Measuring Success in Meaningful Ways

There is a luxury of intentionality that comes with being over 50, and both Christina and Maria reflect on their contentment and gratefulness for the blessings life has bestowed upon them.

Maria shares her shift in priorities, emphasizing contentment over relentless pursuit of business expansion—finding satisfaction in maintaining a smaller, more manageable team. Embracing the realization that money isn’t the sole measure of success, Christina and Maria acknowledge the value of work-life balance and the preference for quality over quantity in their professional pursuits.

Fit, Healthy, and Free

Maria shares her work with Active and Fit Direct, an exercise program targeting women over 50. She’s excited about working with influencers on TikTok and Instagram who are passionate about fitness, finding inspiration to maintain her own fitness levels. 

There is a notable shift on the perspective on aging—more and more women over 50 are celebrating their acceptance of physical changes and limitations that come with age. With age comes liberation from caring about societal perceptions and the freedom to try new things without fear of failure. Embracing failures as learning experiences that contribute to personal growth feels more natural. Sharing these stories with younger generations can inspire them to pursue their own passions and learn to reject societal norms at an earlier age.

When there are so many adventures to be had, why wait? Maria will soon visit Poland, a spontaneous trip to help her embrace the excitement of living so fully at every age. 

Lifelong Learning

Maria has had many accomplishments in her life, but her greatest accomplishment since turning 50 is the completion of her MBA at the University of Notre Dame. It was simultaneously challenging and rewarding, and Maria encourages everyone to engage in continuous learning, emphasizing its fulfilling nature.

In 10 years, Maria envisions herself having a PhD, potentially selling her popcorn business as part of her planned exit strategy, and continuing to live life to the absolute fullest.

See Maria’s full episode here:


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