Are Dads a New Market Opportunity?

Dads more involved in decision making I was reading an article about the identity of the average Italian the other day. She sounded like the average shopper, the person to whom advertising and marketing  — especially in the consumer good industry — is addressing its calls to action.

As I talk with young couples, I also learn about arrangements where dad works from or is at home with the children, while mom goes to the office and travels more.

Many of my friends have made these kinds of arrangements. Research also suggests dads are spending more time at home and playing an increased role in family life.

In a poll conducted by Yahoo! last October, and reported by eMarketer, found that more fathers are in product decision-making situations more often for a number of categories. While there are plenty of ads that cater to men only — and we just saw several air during the Super Bowl — few speak to dads.

From the poll, 66% of dads felt ignored by apparel advertising, yet 57% of dads claimed they are the primary decision-maker and an additional 37% shared decision-making in the category. With child and baby care, 57% of dads felt alienated by ads, yet 80% were either primary or shared decision-makers.

And as eMarketer reports, dad research products and services online. According to a June 2010 Kelton Research study for Procter & Gamble, the top three topics dads researched online were technology (60%), food or cooking (55%) and how to build, repair or care for things in the home (53%).

Dads are digital

In fact, the consumer research I have relied on when working with large CPGs supports that dads are digital– they go online, read reviews, and search retail sites as much if not more than their spouses. However, according to the Yahoo! study, dads feel online ads do not speak to them.

They are starting to speak to each other more. My friend CC Chapman started a site called Digital Dads a couple of years ago. The site takes a unique look at manhood and fatherhood from a male-centric perspective.

Their features encompass: Humor, sports, cooking, fashion, parenting, coaching, sex, and many other interests central to being a man and father in today's society. As CC told me in an email exchange, they've seen traffic more than double in the last year and the level of engagement with viewers and readers is going up as well as more writers create content around a variety of different topics.

Sharing leads to better relationships

Maybe you have missed it, I have seen more Twitter bios listing "dad", comparatively speaking. And in case you were wondering, 45% of the Twitter population in the US is male.

The P&G/Kelton survey highlighted that nearly half (48%) of married dads report a fulfilled feeling from learning how to do new things around the house, such as cook or do home repairs. And, about one in three fathers would be interested to learn more about advanced home renovation (35%), basic home repair (33%) or landscaping and gardening (33%).

Dads also admit they'd like some assistance with parenting tasks, such as shopping for school clothes or supplies (41%), talking to their child about important issues (39%) or planning family outings or trips (37%).

Man of the house


We often talk about organizations needing to become publishers. One organization has been doing it for a while. Man of the House is their latest publication, which is designed to offer advice to family men and inform them about its products.

The publication tackles topics that range from health and sex life, to technology, home repairs and safety, as well as fatherhood. It's a commitment and potentially a gamble on an under-served slice of the population. Will it pay off?

In a recent interview, company representatives stated that they were pleased with the results so far — from zero to a half-million monthly unique visitors in the June-December 2010 time frame. As Andrew Martin reports, by comparison,, a site with similar content, although targeted at guys overall, and not just dads, had 5.5 million unique visitors in December (comScore.)

Bolder look for the bold move

I would make Man of the House bolder — punching up and reorganizing the information and graphics above the fold. The colors as well. There is too much information competing for attention there. Choose for the reader, then let visitors choose with you as time goes on.

Think like a publisher — it's about what you leave out as much as what you put in. Pick three to five stories and rotate them with eye catching photographs and sharper headlines. Give them a reason to come back by changing one feature regularly.

Support the site with a strong editorial imprint below the fold. What's the emotional appeal, how do you catch the eye, and how do you keep it there? It's both heads, and shoulders, if you forgive the pun.

Procter & Gamble was one of the pioneers in word-of-mouth marketing. The company created one of the first radio soap operas to market its products, which it then took to television with As the World Turns. Will their new publication pay off?

Your take: are dads a new (unexplored) market opportunity?


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