4 Tips to Better Market to Today's Dad
Family dynamics in the U.S. are changing. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that 69 percent of moms work either full- or part-time, with 40 percent of them outearning their husbands. Those dynamics, along with the slowing economy, have led to a rise in the number of stay-at-home dads and, more importantly, a growing trend towards dual management of the kids and household with responsibilities shared between mom and dad.
Grocery shopping is one of the items dads have added to their household to-do lists, reportedly managing anywhere from half to all the grocery shopping. While it's clear that his role in household purchase decisions is growing, more than 50 percent of dads feel they're getting the cold shoulder from consumer package goods (CPG) advertisers. Carat's Consumer Connection Study echoed similar sentiment as fathers indicated they don't pay attention to CPG advertising. Chicken or the egg: is it diffidence or lack of resonance? The increasing evidence of dad's growing household role indicates that it's more likely the latter.
So how can marketers reach dads? The Consumer Connection Study highlighted areas where dads differ from moms, bringing some insights into their mind-sets and media consumption habits.
Dads like to be experts and mobile devices are the No. 1 tools they use to get information. Dads are 40 percent more likely to do research on their smartphones while shopping and 50 percent more likely to use a tablet for general research.
Dads relish in the role of leader. They're 24 percent more likely to raise their hands to lead versus moms, who are 20 percent less likely to. Creative implications for this may be that it's best to put dads in roles where they're depicted as principals in the decision process, successfully navigating household responsibilities versus taking cues from mom.
Dads are less likely to budget and in some cases spend more than moms — reportedly 25 percent more with back-to-school shopping. Dads trump value over price; value comes from the sum of benefits a product has — think bells and whistles. If the price seems "worth it," than the product has a higher likelihood of getting into a dad's shopping cart.
So, what can marketers do will all this information? Here are some tips:
- Help facilitate his role as an expert. Make it easier for dads to find the right information on their mobile devices at any time. Optimized mobile sites or apps that offer quick and easy ways to compare products and validate features can go a long way in consumer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
- Include dad in the picture, literally. Household responsibilities are now shared and dads need to be included in the story in a genuine, nonpatronizing way. Showcase him as a leader, make him a hero.
- Be where he is. Media buys need to include dad. In the online space, combine segment-specific display buys with search to make sure you're moving down the decision process with dad.
- Test … then test again. What does dad respond to? Local offers, in-store offers, QR codes? The only way to understand what motivates and works with dads is to continually try new tactics, adopt what works and modify what doesn't.
Dawn Zencka is the vice president of strategic insights at iProspect, a digital performance agency.