Editor’s note: This was originally featured on MediaPost.com as part of their Engage series.
Historically, marketers have tried to explicitly tempt moms in-store because the stereotype has long been that they control the purse strings and make the majority of family purchases. But, with dads taking on more household responsibilities, they are increasingly becoming a higher-value marketing target. Y&R reports a whopping 80% of millennial dads claim primary or shared grocery shopping responsibility. Subsequently, many brands have stepped up their ‘dadvertising’ and – instead of showing him as a bumbling and clueless – they are messaging to him as a competent and caring parent who plays an active role in his children’s lives.
Take Extra’s ads, which pull at the heart strings by showing a father making origami birds from his gum wrappers and giving them to his daughter over the course of her childhood. Frosted Flakes shows dad sharing both his favorite game – and cereal of course – with his son. Cheerios goes all out with an on-the-go guy eager to share with others how he balances mealtime, playtime, and work in #HowtoDad.
With modern dads taking over more of the shopping chores, what can retailers do to increase his unplanned in-store purchases, particularly when shopping for his kids? We at iModerate recently conducted an extensive qualitative study on dads and impulse buying that unearthed some sizeable opportunities.
Here are four tips, rooted in our findings, to encourage dad to fill his cart this season.
1. Help dad imagine his kids’ reactions and elicit nostalgia.
We heard loud and clear from the dads we studied that it feels amazing to surprise their kids with an unexpected treat. They feed off of their children’s smiles, happiness and excitement. They are proud to not only provide for, but also to occasionally treat their kids in fun and special ways. Construct campaigns that show dads how their kids will feel when they see the item that he’s bringing home. Help him daydream about what this item will mean to them, and in turn, to him. Dads especially love being able to share a piece of their childhood their children – did he also have a Matchbox car or Lucky Charms when he was growing up? Help him conjure up those nostalgic memories and feel excited about passing them on to the next generation.
2. Quell fears about spoiling kids.
Our research also showed that, although dads love a fun surprise, they also wants to raise good, level-headed kids. Many fear that splurging on unexpected gifts – even when small – could lead to them becoming spoiled and entitled. Assuage these fears by helping him imagine the long-term impact or benefit of the purchase. What kind of shared experiences and memories will come from the purchase? How can this item bolster his child’s educational or personal development? Where could it take them? Even when the product is simple, show dad the ways that it will make a difference, and he can justify bringing it home to his children without regret.
3. Celebrate his successful parenting.
Dads often buy treats for their kids to reward their good behavior, whether it’s doing well in school or not throwing a fit in the store. Products help them show that they’re both proud of their achievements and eager to reinforce positive behavior. Furthermore, recognizing their children’s accomplishments trickles over because they then feel like successful parents. Dad feels even more satisfied with his parenting when his kids are grateful for receiving an unexpected gift, no matter how small. Create opportunities for dad to reward his kids’ good behavior and help him envision their gratitude when he does. It could be as simple as creating product packaging or marketing displays that say “Great job!” around the end of the school year or “You’re awesome!” at the end of a sports season.
4. Group products together to save dad another trip.
It’s no secret that dads value convenience. As they peruse the aisles, they’re quick to relate items to an upcoming or even current need and take advantage of the opportunity to make a purchase ahead of time. This could be warmer weather reminding dad he needs something for the next time he grills burgers, or realizing the dog is working his way through his current bone and will need a new one before too long. In our study, dads told us that they’re eager to buy whatever it is at the moment to save them an additional trip to the store down the road. Grouping products together can help retailers reel in dad and sell more products at once. Think creatively about grouping items around seasons, weather, sports, etc., and tee up images for him to have fun with his family. Group batteries and flashlights for spooky stories in the tent camping, crayons and sketchpads for playing tic-tac-toe on the subway, or ice cream and toppings for ice cream sundae night.
Want to open dads’ wallets? Start with their hearts. Dad is open to opportunities to treat his family, share meaningful experiences and create long-lasting memories. Ultimately, all dads want to feel like successful parents and raise kids who appreciate them. Help them envision themselves, and their kids, in this way and you’ll find a way into his shopping cart.