Effectively engaging dads goes beyond simply shifting targeting strategies.
For starters, Dads are careful and considered consumers. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they pay close attention to price – though the vast majority say they buy based on quality not price. They also check ingredients and look for where their products are made or grown. Dads are heavily engaged in researching new products and brands through online reviews. They're also much more consultative in their shopping – indicating that their spouse and children have a significant impact on the brands they choose.1
There are also a number of indicators that Dads are a ripe audience for marketers – and not just because of their purchasing power. Dads are more active users of all forms of media than their female counterparts. They're more open to advertising and more likely to engage with brands in social media. They're also more likely to say owning the best brand is important to them.2
Not only are they not moms, they're not all one homogeneous group.
As we started to dig into the dynamics of the modern family and changing roles and expectations of fathers, we saw a series of significant shifts in values, attitudes in behaviors among large groups of dads.
We wondered what might explain the differences in Dads' values and attitudes, as well as their vision of what a dad should (and should not be). Through a series of interviews, we determined that his vision was shaped during two key life stages. First, early adolescence. During this preteen period dads learned what it meant to be a man, and a father. Fact is, however, for much of this time his own dad wasn't around. So our dad-to-be took note of the times when his father was there so he could repeat those behaviors, as well as when Dad wasn't there so he would make sure to be more present with his kids during these formative years. The second key life stage was when our dad-to-be was starting his own family. He was totally responsible for himself, and about to be responsible for at least one other person. This is when he really started to pay attention to financial matters, and realize that they were connected to larger world events. The rise and fall of Alan Greenspan, Enron, the dot.com bubble (and burst), two Gulf Wars, 9-11, the housing bubble (and burst) all influence his feelings of security (or insecurity), and this shared history became a lens through which he now relates to the world.
Meet the Dadsumers: Four distinct segments you need to know.
Our strategy team at Allen & Gerritsen undertook what we believe to be the first such study of dads as consumers, or "Dadsumers" using primary research as well as a wealth of syndicated data from research partners including CEB Iconoculture, YouGov, MRI and Forrester. We created four distinct lifestyle and generational-based segments, and explored them in relation to each other, and to their spouses.
- Brand New Millennial Dad (ages 30-34)
- Gen "Why?" Dads (ages 35-39)
- Dads Facing Fifty (ages 40-49)
- Late Boomer Dad (ages 50-54)
What emerged were some compelling differences that impact not only who they are as fathers but how they behave as consumers. A myriad of social, cultural and economic factors influenced their lives and shaped their attitudes and behaviors. Wars, recessions, bubbles and bailouts. Ten different presidents. From The Beatles to The Bee Gees to U2 to Radiohead to Coldplay. Each of these segments thinks differently, acts differently, and shops differently. And given that each segment represents millions of men with increasing buying power, these nuances represent millions of dollars to brands. Rather than treating all Dads the same, success requires a deeper understanding of what makes them tick, and how to earn their engagement.