Well, in the eyes of most marketers, no we don't. Even though bloggers such as GeekDad
are incredibly influential, @playgrounddad
has racked up close to 18,000 followers on Twitter
, and there are entire sites such as www.dadlabs.com
dedicated to us, very few brand owners have chosen to properly engage. That's a mistake. Dad makes the call on many high-ticket items and as our role in the family continues to evolve, so does our influence over a broader range of purchase decisions.
While mums make the call on most family purchases by volume, dads make it on some of the very high-value categories such as consumer electronics where the latest information, advice and reviews play a crucial role and the economics of building relationships with a few influential folk really adds up. Ken Denmead
, Editor of GeekDad.com
comments that "as high technology works its way into more and more of our homes, you'll see dads impacting buying decisions even more on standard appliances, even decor and furnishings"
. An example of a company that clearly gets the importance of engaging with influential online dads is Ford
US who, according to Ken, has done "a great job in combining the appeal of its American brand with the high-tech Microsoft Sync platform they're offering in many of their models". Sony
also ran a project called Sony Dads which, according to CC Chapman
, founder of Digital Dads
, was well run - "they gave us products to try for several months and asked us to share our experiences in a very open and personal way rather than trying to force us to do it the way they wanted".
Brand owners should also look beyond these more obvious "dad categories" because what's considered a family and the roles dads play within them has changed significantly over the past fifteen years. Although most homemakers are still mums there are a growing number of us who take a much more active role in the home or go the whole hog and take on the role of house-husband (25% of households in the US where mom has a job). Dads are therefore more heavily involved in decision-making on many traditional "mum categories" such entertainment including, according to CC, everything from what to do on a weekend to what movie the family goes to see or rent - "in my life I do all the grocery shopping and cook all the meals so those decisions are mine. "
Dads are therefore ripe to be marketed to and, as few agencies or brands are thinking in that direction, here are six simple tips based on first-hand experience and input from the likes of Ken and CC.1. LAY OUT THE DAD BENEFITS -
If you're trying to promote the more obvious "dad products" think about the dad benefits. Yes, you may be talking about consumer electronics but it doesn't have to all be about living the penthouse bachelor life. Give us the benefits and tools to get buy-in from the rest of the family and all of our lives will be a lot easier.2. DON'T START WITH "HEY MUMMIES" -
If you're trying to promote broader categories of products, whatever you do, don't standardize your communication. If you genuinely value the tweeps you're trying to connect with, you'll do your research. At its most basic level this means knowing whether you're reaching out to a dad or a mum. Sounds simple but it's a frequent mistake and there's nothing that will turn us off quicker and make us delete your e-mail faster.3. DON'T SCRIMP WITH YOUR REPUTATION -
Many a young intern has been given the task of reaching out to bloggers. If you want avoid to reputation melt-down, don't scrimp on experience.4. HONESTY IS KEY -
Your product or service doesn't need to be 5 star. Just be straight about what it is, what you're looking for and be ready to engage. Whatever you do, don't spin it. If you do, and get discovered, you'll crash and burn faster than you can believe.5. INFLUENCE FIRST -
Reach is important but first and foremost it's about connecting with people others listen to, conversations that spill over to other blogs, mainstream press and 'real life'.
6. THINK LONG TERM -
Many brands think of "blogger outreach" as an online launch tactic to help generate short term sales. As we all know, relationships aren't just for Christmas. Brands have a real opportunity to build a hugely loyal and vocal customer base that will get the word out. You just need to think of us more as long term partners than a one night stand.
So, if you really want to promote your brand to the family audience, think of us. We're not getting a lot of attention but we certainly do count.Jens
is dad to his little two year old son and managing director of Digital Outlook
, an ideas-led agency that helps brands connect with today's family. More tips and advice at www.twitter.com/digitaloutlookImage from GeekDad.com