How to Market to Dads Today

Father’s Day is coming up and if you’re like many businesses, you’re in the thick of marketing products and services as gifts for dad. But how effectively are you marketing to dads all year long? The role of dads is changing but many companies aren’t keeping pace because they don’t know how to market to dads

First, let’s talk numbers. According to the 2010 Census, some 32 percent of married fathers (about 7 million people) say they regularly care for their children age 14 and under. About 1.4 million of those are stay-at-home dads, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. While the majority (51 percent) of dads fall into the Gen X category (aged 35 to 54), 23 percent are Millennials (aged 18 to 34) and they are determining how to market to dads.

Here are four tips for how to market to dads:

  1. Avoid gender stereotypes. In a survey reported on MediaPost, 83 percent of Millennial parents say they believe advertising targeting parents should appeal to both moms and dads. Both sexes are especially bothered by the “bumbling dad” stereotype, where Dad can’t even change a diaper or wipe up a spill without calling in Mom to take over. Presenting positive images of capable dads, as well as moms and dads working together rather than sniping at each other, will boost your marketing’s appeal.
  2. Go mobile. We already know that modern moms are tethered to their smartphones, so it’s no surprise that dads are too. While dads spend less time on their phones, they are more likely than moms to make purchases on them and typically spend more money when they do buy. ComScore data reported by Millennial Media says 37 percent of all mobile-using dads and 45 percent of Millennial dads who use mobile make mobile purchases. Mobile dads are twice as likely as all dads to spend more than $500 on a mobile purchase; Millennial mobile dads are three times as likely. Millennial media recommends reaching out to mobile dads with very targeted advertising as well as optimizing your website for local search, since it turns out dads spend an inordinate amount of time using their phones’ map apps. You can also advertise on mobile-friendly website such as Fatherly, a new parenting website aimed at Millennial dads.
  3. Include mom. Even though dads may be doing more of the childcare and housework than fathers of previous generations, even stay-at-home dads are not taking over as the family’s primary decision-maker. A survey by the At-Home Dad Network found that in families with stay-at-home dads, purchasing decisions are generally collaborations between mom and dad. No matter what dad’s role is, you’ll need to get Mom on board, so include her in depictions of the family or create one campaign for moms and a complementary one for dads.
  4. Use video. Men love watching online videos and sharing them with friends, so why not use video as a marketing tool for your business? Humor, superheroes and, yes, sports themes resonate with dads when it comes to video. Focus on creating something shareable, keep it short and share it on your social media channels.


Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash