Father’s Day is always special for me, but not because of the attention, the gifts, or even for getting to pick what I want to do for the whole day. It’s special because it’s a reminder of all of the blessings I have in my life, particularly my twin boys Caleb and Mason (12) and my incredible wife, Emily. Being a father and husband is harder than I ever expected, but unbelievably more rewarding. My favorite memories seem to be replaced every year… it just keeps getting better.
But as a marketing professional, special occasions like Father’s Day allow me to reflect on how unique marketing to dads can be. Every father knows the feelings associated with parenthood and the lifestyle changes that come with it. We can be a tough crowd to reach, but connecting a father with the things he needs when he needs them is rewarding to both fathers and your marketing investment.
There Are Many Options When Marketing to Dads; Make it Count
As my boys have grown and started doing their own Father’s Day shopping, I’ve been amazed at how my kids react to marketing efforts related to the “perfect gift for dad.” In our house, it starts with whispers (“I think dad would like this” or “does dad need one of these?”). This is marketing in action: Presenting a relevant product or service in a manner that fits the consumer.
There’s no shortage of gifts dads like to receive. Entrepreneur reports that the largest categories of Father’s Day gifts are special outings, clothing, electronics, and gift cards. But with such a wide array of opportunities comes a certain pitfall: offers that are overly generic or irrelevant to the recipient. For example, we own a boat, so many marketers assume I like to fish. Nope! All of those advertisements for fishing gear are wasted on me.
The key for marketers is to profile their best customers—those most likely to buy—through data attributes, and then market relevant products or services to them through dynamic content management. Add technologies like 4-color digital print (which provides infinite permutations of paper-based communications), and marketers can present their product or service in the best light to an individual they know is interested.
We see many companies using age, sex, and income/credit worthiness as means of segmenting their target audience. That’s a great start, but they’re not specific enough. The Entrepreneur article also found that fathers identify primarily as outdoor adventurers (25%, including myself), modern and fashionable gadget lovers (22%), and household organizers (21%)—all attributes that have the potential to better tailor your offer, messaging, and design to target the right customer with the right offer.
Anticipating Dads’ Evolving Needs
We talk a lot about reaching your target audience at the right time, and there’s perhaps no better time to reach a man then when he’s about to become a father. Surveys indicate that 41% of new dads switch brands of everyday goods when getting ready for parenthood.
If you immediately thought of diapers, I did too. When my twins came along, we had a household budget line item reserved exclusively for these critical and high-consumption products. I remember standing in the store in front of what seemed like a mile-long aisle, trying to figure out which diapers we needed. Baby Dry, Little Movers, Pull-Ups… The fact was that I needed all of them, just at different times to fit my growing family’s needs.
Knowing what consumers’ current needs are and, just as importantly, how those needs will change over time creates a significant opportunity for product placement and messaging orchestrated across many channels. Brand marketing through a TV/radio/online mix creates awareness of the product. Targeted marketing through direct mail, email, and social demonstrates product relevance and can drive action.
Creating a Process for Data-Driven Marketing
Marketing to dads, or any other segment, requires a focus on delivering the right message to the right individual at the right time for the most effective and efficient campaign. IWCO Direct has achieved success with our customers by customizing this basic process for strategizing and executing data-driven direct marketing campaigns:
- Data segmentation—built on established attributes to identify, find, and reach the audience
- Leveraging dynamic content tools—to drive product relevance and messaging that resonates with the target audience through compelling creative
- A well-articulated call to action—focused on the offer to grab attention and make responding easy
- Targeted execution—Orchestrated delivery, including timing and personalization, to put the product or service in front of the target audience across multiple channels
When this process is executed well, you make your customers and your balance sheet happy. But as we all know, Father’s Day isn’t about the gifts, it’s about having that special day to spend time with the ones we cherish most. For all of you dads out there (including my own), Happy Father’s Day!
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