28 May Let’s hear it for the dads! Why market research isn’t just about mums
There’s no denying that the subject of gender equality is all over the media at the moment. But the majority of the time, gender equality - or inequality as the case may be - is mostly seen from the female perspective. This is by no means a bad thing - but we also need to remember that the role of men has shifted in recent years too. The family dynamic has changed: from stay-at-home dads and single dads to two-dad families, in today’s world, anything goes. And as these dynamics continue to change, the role of the dad and gender equality in market research is becoming more and more important. Here’s why:
Meet the modern man
Times are changing. In days gone by, women have been the main target for brands conducting market research because they do most of the shopping - but the fact of the matter is that dads are buying too. Men actually account for 50% of all consumption and have significant buying power, whilst millennial dads are making more and more of the purchasing decisions. In fact, almost half of millennial fathers said brands play an important role in their life, compared to 38% of mums.
However, 74% of millennial dads feel there is a disconnect between how advertisers and marketers depict their families and how they really are, and 38% say that their representation of their role as a parent is inaccurate. 94% see fatherhood as an extremely or very important part of their identity, and 85% of fathers say they are not the bumbling dad portrayed in the media. Basically, rather than bashing modern dads, we should be celebrating them and engaging with them - especially as a demographic that’s growing in importance.
Sexism is a two-way street
We recently penned a blog on the Otherhood, a growing segment of women who choose to remain childless. In it, we investigated the sexism and gender stereotypes often placed on women - but the same is true for men, too. There are two typical views of men: they are either bachelor-style playboys or outdated, hapless fathers - and nothing in between. But the fact is, we can’t group all men of the same age together as the same type of persona with the same interests and goals.
Just as women today don’t all stay home slaving away over a hot stove with kids clinging to their legs, men aren’t always dashing off to the office. In fact, these days, they play an equal role around the house and in the division of childcare. Yes, believe it or not, they even - *gasp* - change nappies too! And as the role of the man continues to evolve, it’s about time researchers took notice of this important segment and started to focus on the importance of gender equality in market research.
Market research and millennial dads
When conducting market research with dads, the first thing to remember is that they really want to take part. Dads want to get involved and have their say. In fact, they are actually more likely than non-dads (or even mums!) to join online communities. They take their roles as fathers very seriously, which means they also want to share their opinions to help others - and considering that dads don’t make purchasing or brand decisions lightly, it’s pretty vital for brands to listen to what they have to say.
So, where do you find them? Well, millennial dads are tech-savvy. They are much more inclined to be the first to get new technology, and digital technology has become an important resource for young dads who look for advice on parenting and children's products and services. In addition, 86% of millennial dads turn to YouTube for guidance on key parenting topics such as using a product or assembling equipment - which means that digital and online methods such as social media are a great way to reach this audience.
When it comes to engagement, again, digital methods win. Think online communities, video research and mobile ethnography: basically, anything with a digital focus that involves short, snappy tasks will be a winner. Dads today already feel stretched in too many directions and that they don’t spend as much time as they would like to with their family, which means that long surveys or location-based focused groups won’t be as appealing as quick tasks that they can carry out on the go. And of course, if it incorporates their love of technology, you can’t go far wrong!
In conclusion, it’s time to step away from the stereotypes, pay attention to all segments and focus on equality in market research. Dads today are savvier and more brand aware than ever before - and if you want to win over this audience, you need to appeal to them and listen to what they have to say. Trust us - they want to be heard!
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