Companies large and small spend billions of dollars every year marketing their products to children. They work hard to make their products fun, their packaging cool and their sales messages hip. The most successful marketers, however, know that to seal the deal with young consumers, they’ve got to win over their parents, too.
Parents are discerning consumers. They shop carefully with one eye focused squarely on value and the other on quality. They’re not just prudent customers, though; they’re also active spenders. They control purchases for themselves, their spouses, their children and, more and more, for their own aging parents. With so much spending power in their control, it pays to cater to their needs. Win over moms and dads by:
1. Helping them save time
2. Helping them save money
3. Helping them protect their families
4. Making them feel special
Deliver deals and discountsParents are bargain hunters. Successfully marketing to them, then, requires an attractive value proposition. Two-for-one coupons, deep discounts and anything involving the words “sale” or “clearance” will effectively pique parents’ interest in your business and drive their dollars to your bottom line.
Keep convenience top of mindParents are busy people; business owners who can make their lives easier are the ones who will ultimately win their dollars and earn their loyalty.
Zero in on momsMarket research shows that mothers control approximately 85 percent of household spending. Still, 70 percent of moms feel companies are doing a poor job marketing to them. Businesses that can successfully reach moms—and make them feel special—can therefore claim an easy share of a $1.7 trillion market.
Don’t forget dadsMoms aren’t the only ones staying at home with the kids these days. There are 25.8 million married fathers raising children under 18 in the United States, according to U.S. Census data, and 2 million single fathers doing the same. The result is a growing niche market of fathers to which the savviest companies will market.
Earn word of mouthParents like to talk. When you impress them with your products and services, they’ll almost certainly tell their friends—all of them. Embrace positive word of mouth as a low-cost, high-value way to attract new customers and retain old ones.
Target tech-savvy parentsParents are no longer bound to dinner tables and soccer practices. Modern-day moms and dads are thoroughly plugged in and spend just as much time at their computers as they do at the grocery store. Smart marketers will sniff them out in both places.
Protect childrenEven more than cost and convenience, parent consumers are driven by the desire to protect their families. Next to less responsible competitors, kid-friendly businesses that promote children’s health, safety and well-being will always rise to the top of parents’ lists.
- Avoid wearing “baby blinders.” Savvy marketers realize that parents buy more than diapers and dolls; they purchase high-end services and luxury goods, too, including travel, apparel and electronics.
- Actions speak louder than words. Instead of purchasing advertisements, consider investing in services that will simplify parents’ lives, such as changing tables in your restrooms or free lollipops and balloons for their children.
- While parents appreciate family-friendly messages, they are not kids; speak to them like the smart, sensible, adult consumers they are.
- Diversity should be top of mind in any marketing effort; remember alternative families—single parents, gay and lesbian parents, and other guardians—when you are reaching out to mainstream moms and dads.
- Parents tend to most trust other parents; they’re most likely to buy from them, too, so consider recruiting already-satisfied parent customers as spokespeople.
- Certified experts—doctors, educators, etc.—are trusted sources for parents seeking information; their endorsement can do wonders for your marketing efforts.