The Perfect Present

“What should I get Dad?”

I usually ask myself this question at least three times a year.

His birthday, Hanukkah, and Father’s Day.

With the latter quickly approaching, I’ve found those 5 words bubbling up again. And I know I’m not the only one.

Like any good planner, I went to my favorite resource for creative gift ideas -- Pinterest. I found some pictures of various crafts, ties, watches, grill sets, and plenty of cards designed by a toddler. None of these clicked for me, so I checked my email.

I had three emails from three different companies with bland subject lines like “The Best Deal for Dad” and “Best-selling gifts for Dad” and “Give Dad a Great Gift.”

My gift-giving spirit was starting to become disappointed. Clearly, nothing was striking a chord or seemed particularly intriguing. That’s when my marketing brain started to switch into gear. I had some ideas and did some more research.



According to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Father’s Day spending survey, the average person will spend $119.84 on dad’s gifts this year, and total spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach $13.3 billion. So I wondered, “Where are all these people buying their gifts and how do they decide what to do?”

Clearly, there is a unique opportunity this time of year for brands to meaningfully connect with moms, children and friends looking for the perfect present to honor their special man. Online retailers will see a slight increase in traffic this year, with 29.8 percent of gift buyers shopping online. Brands need to embrace technology (and social media in particular) to creatively show that they understand what dad wants, what consumers are looking for, and how to make that special connection.

To put some ideas in motion:

  1. Set up different Pinterest boards for different types of dads and feature unique products that correlate to the board theme. For example, an outfitter company could create a board called “For the Fishing Father,” and it could include pins of fishing gear like rods, hooks, shirts, shoes, hats, books, etc. If my dad fished, I’d be thrilled to have all of these ideas in one place.
  2. Involve your own company by celebrating their dads on Instagram. Hold a “Father’s Day Countdown,” and each day let a different employee write the caption about their Dad, husband or grandfather. As a consumer, it’s nice to know that the people behind the brands are also celebrating a special day. This helps create the emotional connection to that brand. Throw in some links to your Web site, and I’d probably check it out for possible gifts.
  3. Get your Facebook and Twitter community talking. In the weeks leading up to Father’s Day, ask questions, post facts, and encourage your followers to share their gift ideas with others. Word of mouth is so powerful, and there is nothing like getting a recommendation from a loyal friend and brand user. Offer incentives for those who share special ideas using your product or service.

Every day we are getting messages online and offline. Striking the perfect balance with social resources and traditional marketing elements is critical to reinforce your message. Complementary program ideas to the social ones above could be creating in-school activities for kids to honor dads, carpool pickup line reading materials, and samples or coupons to stay top of mind.

By thinking outside the box and helping someone find that special something, you’ve done more than make a sale -- you’ve made a special memory for Dad.




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