New Gender Study: Dads Represent a Huge Opportunity to Marketers – Here’s How to Reach Them
By Bill Fleishman, President, Cone Communications
With more and more dads poised to take on the grocery store and “drive” the cart, today’s successful marketers can no longer afford to make generalizations about consumer behavior based on gender. Clinging to outdated preconceptions of target shoppers that have ruled the CPG environment for generations can be a risky proposition. The good news, however, is that marketing to the sexes may not require two completely distinct approaches. Our research indicates that dads are not acting so differently from moms when it comes to grocery shopping that we must rewrite the entire playbook.
However, understanding the “man of the house” dynamic is the first step toward growing a brand’s competitive advantage.
Marketers and grocery retailers seeking to maximize opportunities with the emerging dad and move more products off of the shelf should consider the following:
- Speak to the entire family. Instead of there being a “She” marketing plan and a “He” marketing plan, there needs to be a “They” plan. Our research shows us that families are now viewing grocery shopping and spending as a shared responsibility. Dads who are primarily responsible for stocking the pantry are more than twice as likely as moms to get a lot of input from other members in their household (34% vs. 12%). Ensure messaging, merchandising, promotion and packaging reflect your “whole” family approach to engaging your consumers.
- Rethink your marketing mix. Take a second look at marketing campaigns that rely too heavily on consumer advocacy and word-of-mouth when looking to attract dads. It’s important to leverage tried-and-true marketing strategies like advertising and media relations. Our research indicates that dads are traditionalists, at least in terms of media. Their top three channels for gathering information are in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and customary media like newspapers, magazines and television (40%). Further, nearly half (44%) seek online sources – outranking word of mouth from friends and family (38%).
- Help dad do his homework. Fathers are taking their role as shoppers very seriously. For many, their path to purchase begins long before they set foot in store. Interestingly, they are significantly more inclined to do background research on grocery products than moms (24% vs. 11%). Further, dads are more likely (52% vs. 46%) than moms to plan meals for the week ahead of time. It would behoove brands to provide tools and shortcuts to make the planning and research process easier for dads. Explore creating mobile apps that appeal to dads’ desire to be well prepared for the task at hand.
- Maximize in-store touch points. Nearly one-third (32%) of dads say they are time stressed and get in and out of the supermarket as fast as possible, buying only what they came for, compared to just 21 percent of moms. However, there are still a considerable number of dads who are just as thoughtful in store as they are beforehand. Thirty-eight percent of dads say they walk up and down each aisle to explore and compare all of their options. With the majority (58%) spending up to an hour combing the shelves on the road to the register, there is an opportunity to maximize all available in-store touch points and remind dad of your brand as close to the decision point as possible. Leverage signage and merchandising to create calls to action that offer dads a way to engage with brands, get coupons, secure recipes and drive them to your website for more information.
- Explore technologies to extend promotional offers. When making purchasing decisions on the spot in-store, coupons play an important role in tipping the scales in favor of one product versus another. After price and quality, dads say the number one purchase influence is coupons (37%). In advance of a trip to the supermarket, more than half of dads (56%) read circulars and collect money-saving coupons. Moms are no different when it comes to purchase influences and information sources. They too are heavily swayed by coupons (44%) and are especially attuned to in-store promotions (68%). Here is a great opportunity to get creative with SMS. Consider pushing promotions and coupons through a channel that boasts near universal adoption and enables you to reach dad (and mom) while he is on the “front line.” Leverage in-store signage to promote your SMS campaign.
Brands that understand the nuances between moms and dads and incorporate them into their marketing strategies can leverage new opportunities and accelerate market growth. Today, the paving the road to the register must be equal opportunity.
Bill Fleishman is president of Cone Communications. Cone Communications (www.coneinc.com) is a Boston-based public relations and marketing agency known for igniting brands with high-impact strategies and programs based in deep insights, unique subject matter expertise and innovation. Focusing on key areas such as consumer product media relations, social media, cause branding and marketing, corporate responsibility, nonprofit marketing, corporate communications and crisis prevention/management – the agency is positioned to help clients achieve both business and societal outcomes. Cone Communications is a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc.
Published: July 10, 2012 By: