If everybody else gets to write a list, we can too

Why bother?

ImageWhy would any company waste time marketing to dads?

Marketing to dads matters. Let us count the ways, and since lists seem to make the Internet go ‘round, here’s ours:

  1. It’s not about who uses the card, but about everything before the credit card is swiped – Anybody can put a Star Wars t-shirt in a shopping cart, but more went into that decision than you think.  What, or who, influenced it?  Maybe it’s dad’s love of the movie franchise that rubbed off on their kids.  Maybe it was a commercial the family saw while watching a hockey game together.  Maybe it is dad’s influence on a certain store the family frequents.  Maybe dad researched everything about the product online for the mom.  Maybe dad simply looks good in the shirt.  Any marketer can sit all day long in a store and prove that it was mom after mom who swiped that credit card in Target, but a wise researcher will investigate the whole story.
  2. No matter how small the slice is on the pie chart, it’s still a slice, and it still tastes like pie – I heard a weathercaster once say, “Even though there’s a 70% chance of rain today, remember that there’s a 30% chance it won’t.”  So, let’s say for example, that moms handle 70% of the purchasing.  Is a company really doing to ignore that potential 30% of dads who buy stuff?  Cereal makers do all the time, and if I was their CEO, I’d start looking for a new marketing team, and fast.
  3. Isn’t equality a goal? – When you alienate someone and make them feel left out, you’re bound to really turn them off.  What’s wrong with marketing to both mom and dad at the same time?  Nothing!  You’ll still have the mom in your good graces, and the dad will feel like he was included, too.  The good baby websites, I’ve found, are the ones that use the word “parent” and have photos of the newborn baby with both mom and dad.  Isn’t that a cool thing to see?
  4. Loyalty is king – If you become friends with someone at work or school, that’s nice.  If that friend invites you to their home, your friendship suddenly deepens, and you’ve formed a bond that makes you feel even more connected.  You’ve become loyal to them.  The same connection happens with retailers, and it means far more than customer satisfaction.  Dads are loyal people.  As author and speaker Jeffrey Gitomer once said, “Customer satisfaction is worthless.  Customer loyalty is priceless.”
  5. The Internet still is a game changer – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for say, the past 25 years, you’ve heard of the Internet.  It’s a marvelous tool used to gather information fast from all around the globe.  As far as I know, dads have used it to gather information, read and write reviews, and purchase things.  Lots of things.  Take the “zo” out of Amazon and you have “A man.”
  6. Look no further than sports – If you don’t follow sports, check out the power of the NFL, NASCAR, or any other sports league, and you’ll find it dominated by dads who have an allegiance to athletes and their games like no other.  It’s a gazillion dollar industry that continues to grow and expand with time.
  7. Dads eat and buy cereal – I think June Cleaver gets a bum rap.  Everyone likes to make her the poster child for old-fashioned, outdated behavior. Leave it to Beaver was a good show with wholesome characters, simply a product of its times.  Cereal is notorious for neglecting dads.  Kix is a product of its times too, but even a Beaver sequel in the ‘80s didn’t keep using the same formula – it updated for the times.  Read our December 17, 2013 entry if you want to learn more about Kix’s useless and archaic orange box.  It really isn’t the 1950s anymore, Kix, so hop on board the 2014 bus with the rest of us.  If I was Doc Brown and I had some plutonium, I’d so throw you into a DeLorean and send you “Back to the”…well, you know where.
  8. Credit card companies know better – Credit card companies know that their pocket-sized flat payment tools are used by dads, too.  That’s why they have dudes in their ads.  I’d even go as far to say that credit cards were inherently designed for dads:  they’re lightweight and flat since dads don’t like to carry things; they have cool pictures on them; they’re durable; they’re largely free to get (dads like free things); even acquiring one is easy to do.  Leave it to Jedi Master tough guy Mace Windu to set the record straight:  men do indeed use credit cards as he asks the question to which he already knows the answer, “What’s in your wallet?” Dads carry wallets.  Moms carry purses.  Closed, the case is.
  9. Dad, meet Internet; Internet, meet Dad – Dads and computers met a long time ago, and they realize how to use them.  Even if dads don’t always make the final purchase, they’re surely reading about the product beforehand.  They’re commenting on it.  They’re reviewing it.  And did you see that Amazon is starting an online grocery store?  Frankly, dads are probably purchasing things more and more off the Internet, because every good marketer claims knows that dads don’t like to shop in stores, right?  So, watch it marketers, because the slightest misstep and you’ll have more than one dadmarketing site broadcasting it to the world.
  10. Step up right here and behold, the spectacle! – The way dads get dissed everywhere, it seems like marketers make them out to be some kind of mythical creature that doesn’t exist.  In that vein, I have channeled my inner Dr. Seuss:

Dads move, dads think, they eat, they blink.

Dads stand, dads sit, they throw, they hit. 

Dads run, dads fly, they drive, they buy. 

Dads can do lots of things, you see. 

So don’t deny their authority.

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I don’t cheer for Cheerios

The phrase “to those whom much has been given, more is required,” is best known for its origin in the Bible.

I think it applies to cereal, too — specifically, Cheerios — and we’ll get to that connection in a minute.cheeriosfrown

But let’s think about Cheerios first.  It’s one of the strongest brands around.  Its no-nonsense black serif font on the plain yellow box is iconic.  The circular shape is basic, pure and often imitated.  Its ingredients include whole grain oats and just one gram of sugar.  Nearly every off- and store-brand has made a knock-off version and given it a similar name.  The taste is simple and unchanged virtually since the beginning, unless you count the explosion of its flavored offspring, such as Reduced-Fat-Yogurt-Berry-Blast-Cinnamon-Coated-Sprinkle Cheerios (seriously, do we need this much variety?).

I would argue that Cheerios has been in every American home at least one point in time since its inception, and I doubt many brand names can proclaim that.  We eat it.  We make snack mixes with it.  We feed it to babies.  We feed it to birds.  We make crafts with it.  We give it to kids in church to keep them quiet.  We string it on Christmas trees.  We love it.  We trust it.  Its wholesome.  It sticks on noses (try doing that with Kix).  It’s certified by the American Heart Association!  It’s genius!Image

It’s just plain…perfect!

Or is it?

Their marketing folks nearly had me at hello, but as I went further into their website, discovered that it’s Mom’s Choice.  And that’s when I started thinking about the phrase, “to those whom much has been given, more is required.”

You see, we’ve made Cheerios a part of our lives and trusted it for years, and I always thought it was a decently mutual relationship:  General Mills kept making it, we kept eating it and everyone was happy.  But then they started saying that it’s the cereal which mom’s choose, and dads instantly became alienated and left out.  More should be required of one of the top cereals around.  They’re supposed to be an example for everyone else.  Do you ever see the NFL say, “It’s the sports league more dads watch with their boys than any other”?

Cheerios, I thought you were better than this.  We’ve all given you so much, and more should be required.

I have the last box I’ll ever buy in my cupboard, and I’m not even going to eat it.

But the birds will.

 

Daniel Murphy: MVP (Most Valuable Parent)

esiasonNice job, Norman.

Our upstart enterprise is trying to advance the cause of dads in the marketplace, and you messed it all up.  I realize we’ve only been in existence for four months, but you set back dads at least 40 years.

Your speak-first, think-later attitude fuels the rampant assumption that dads don’t want to be involved with their kids, validating the imprecise decision-making of marketers everywhere.

And you haven’t even apologized yet!

In case you thought you read or heard Norman’s apology somewhere, you didn’t.  He never even apologized to the person at the center of this controversy!  Let’s take a look at what Norman said in this so-called apology:

“I just want to say again on this radio show that in no way, shape or form was I advocating anything for anybody to do. I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that,” he said. “That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do. And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into a conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”

Right now I’m going to play the part of Norman’s PR (i.e., damage-control) assistant, because he clearly doesn’t have one.  Let’s re-write what he could have said on the air — in addition to — his lame apology:

“Furthermore, I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology to Daniel Murphy and dads everywhere.  Dads deserve to witness the birth of their children, and to be there for him/her in the infancy of its days on earth.  After all, the woman was able to bond with the child, carry and hold it for the past 9 months — is a few days, or even a week, too much to ask for the dad?  I think not.  So, I am here to champion the cause that dads must be just as involved in raising children as the mom.  And it starts from day one, at the hospital.  I don’t care what profession you’re in, whether you’re in a high profile job like a Major League Baseball player or at the other end of the spectrum as, say, a radio show host.  Dads deserve rights, too.”

Mr. Daniel Murphy, just go on being a dad and doing your thing.  You made the best decision of your life, and don’t let other misguided individuals make you think that work comes above major life moments.

Once Norman reads this and hires me as his PR assistant, I’ll then have the money to afford tickets to a Mets game, at which point I’ll display a hand-made sign bearing the title of this day’s blog entry:

Daniel Murphy:  MVP (Most Valuable Parent)

Oh, no you didn’t!

The employees of dadmarketing love moms.  We think the world of moms.  We love our own moms.  We think being a mom is a noble calling.

So, it is no wonder, after reading one of the more influential and innovative mommy blogger sites around, we ask why the adoration can’t work both ways?

You’ve no doubt heard of renowned Norwegian mommy blogger Lirpa Sloof. In her latest entry at http://www.dadscantdoanythingright.com, she offers this stunning quote:

“Dads really have no purchasing power whatsoever.  Sure, I see them in stores, but it’s only because they’re handing the credit card to the mom, and then nodding approvingly at everything she buys,”  said Sloof.  “I would argue that dads don’creditcardt even know what that credit card does, nor do they know how to use it.”

Her eye-opening blog continues:  “It would make things much easier if dads couldn’t carry credit cards, and were banned from even entering stores.  It’s not like they do anything useful for their families, unless you count sitting on a couch and watching sports as useful.”

We know there aren’t many mommy bloggers out there, and it’s hard to take issue with what Sloof has to say — she is in a league of her own:  she runs one of the top websites in the history of the Internet, serves as President & CEO of a major worldwide automotive manufacturer, exercises for six hours a day, bakes homemade cookies for her kids, coaches their soccer teams, handles several community fundraisers and serves in the Peace Corps.  During her down time she likes to hand-sew American flags, volunteer at the humane society, write romance novels and pick up refuse in her adopt-a-turnpike program.

I’d go on-and-on, but I have a credit card application to finish.

So what do you think, should men be banned from shopping?  We’d love to hear from you.