Just as navy (then pink, then who knows what) became “the new black” of the fashion world, dads are becoming the hot new thing in marketing to parents. Survey after survey indicates that the man of the house is taking on more responsibility for parenting and household chores. Last week, I participated in a roundtable on marketing to parents hosted by PRWeek, the public relations industry publication – and much of the conversation turned to reaching out to dads.
The only problem?
All that research reporting the evolution of dad’s role has been done with … dads. We suspected that if we asked moms some of the same questions about their partners’ role, the answers might be different.
So we did. And they were.
Full disclosure: This was a relatively small, preliminary survey, with just over 200 responses from around the U.S. Nevertheless, the findings gave us pause, at least for the moment. Asked who in their household had prime responsibility for household purchasing decisions, 90% of those surveyed said that mom did.
Some other key findings:
So, the bad news, based on this preliminary study, is that dads largely remain primarily responsible for what they have always been responsible for – “guy stuff” – and are particularly uninvolved when it comes to shopping for the kids. The good news is that about 20% of dads are taking on equal responsibility for household activities such as food shopping and cooking.
Truth is, we have little doubt that dads are more involved with childcare and household chores now than a generation ago. We even introduced a Digital Dads program several years back, and activate it when we feel it makes sense for a particular type of client.
The question remains, to what degree are dads involved.
Before companies start shifting too many of their marketing dollars, more research is needed to clarify how the purchasing decisions are being divided, what products dads are entirely, primarily or equally responsible for and whether companies who target parents should be spending their money on mom, dad or both.