Friday, April 29, 2016 4:07:00 PM

Millennial dads don't want to be figureheads. The familiar scenario of the clueless father who stumbles through simple household tasks and can't make decisions without his wife's approval is not only outdated; it makes aspiring dads feel undervalued by brands that should be targeting them. The emotional and physical well-being of children is a growing priority for millennial dads, many of whom grew up in households where fathers played secondary roles and devoted little time to one-on-one bonding.

Why Brands Shouldn't Overlook Millennial Dads
For years, marketers have focused their efforts on female demographics because women dominated the domestic space and made the bulk of shopping decisions for husbands and children. But times are changing. A 2012 Mintel study reported that 80 percent of millennial dads (men who are currently aged 18 to 34) are primary or joint decision-makers for household shopping, compared to 45 percent of all dads. Approximately 49 percent also say they take charge of planning activities for their children outside the home.

Millennial dads have high expectations for fatherhood, but unlike their female counterparts, they have fewer resources geared toward the male parenting perspective. In a 2015 BabyCenter survey, 9 in 10 millennial dads said they believe it's important to be a perfect parent, and 7 in 10 turn to online sources for guidance. When millennial dads see your advertising, do you want them to be drawn in by inspiring images of household superheroes or alienated by stereotypes of the detached or senseless dope?

Parenthood Creates New Shopping Behavior
Why are millennial dads so receptive to marketing? Mobile shopping is the norm for young consumers. Millennials value instant, targeted information, which allows them to make purchasing decisions in the moment. According to BabyCenter, 60 percent of millennial dads most often use mobile devices, especially smartphones, to find parenting information. What are they looking for?

• 70 percent search for parenting tips and tricks
• 60 percent look for answers to questions
• 50 percent want to read other parenting experiences
• 39 percent read expert advice on parenting websites
• 23 percent use parenting/baby apps
• 20 percent look for online videos and blogs

New dads are suddenly overwhelmed with unfamiliar priorities and questions about how to care for children and make good parent decisions. While women often have a personal network for advice and recommendations, millennial dads are facing an information and support void. Their natural instinct is to hit "Search," and they are more likely than women to make big purchases.
The good news for marketers is that a father's brand choices change with his priorities. In the BabyCenter survey, 44 percent of millennial dads changed their food/beverage brand preferences, 36 percent changed personal care products, 27 percent changed financial services, and 24 percent changed consumer electronics.

Winning Brands Promote Positive Images of Fathers
Brands that help new dads navigate these growth phases can build strong relationships with millennials and become go-to sources for future purchasing decisions. Dads use online searches in four key ways: learning, doing, planning and buying.
Learning moments happen when fathers have questions about child development or the right temperature for bathing an infant. Take advantage of these teachable moments by sharings male-oriented tips and guides. Use language and visuals that celebrate dads while reassuring them that it's okay that they don't have all the answers.

Doing moments come from a father's anxieties about how to create the perfect environment for a child. Dads want to know how to baby-proof their homes, what financial investments to make, and how to build an awesome fort. Dads value the short, easy-to-follow format of visual guides, so use video tutorials and photo compilations to share ideas on the best products and techniques.
Planning moments happen when dads need instant information on where to get a healthy lunch for the kids or which nearby stores have his top picks for strollers available. Make decision-making fast and convenient for dads by providing mobile content and apps that helps them save time, comparison shop and get information on the go.

Buying moments happen when dads want to make the best decisions for their children. They're also willing to pay premium prices for safer, higher quality products. Win brand loyalty by demonstrating authenticity and product value. Show millennial dads that your brand understands their roles and concerns, and optimize your online sales funnel for mobile devices.

More than ever, millennial dads are open to learning new ways of parenting and making decisions for their children. Contact us to find out how you can target this valuable demographic.

Categories: Marketing Tips

Tags: marketing tips, consumer insights