Marketing to both parents, at its finest

It would be pretty easy for the marketing team at Cord Blood Registry to feature only a mom in its latest magazine ad. Dads can do anything for a child that a mom can do, except give birth and naturally breastfeed.cbr

So, yes indeed, that umbilical cord is unmistakably a mom-child connection.

However, marketers often like to turn that precious link into some sort of divide, and use it as validation to justify its belief that moms have a stronger bond with children which dads can never match.

Nothing could be more untrue.

We’re here to tell you that moms and dads are equals. The parent-child bond isn’t meant to be something that moms dominate, or hold deeper. Mothers enjoy the absolute honored gift of carrying children – and that’s special. It creates a bond with every child that doesn’t make it more superior than with a father, just unique.

And it should be treated with uniqueness, even in marketing.

Dads and moms are different people, and can parent different, but dads are full, rightful owners of the parental bond every bit as moms. That’s a wonderful thing!

CBR says that too, and it even references the umbilical cord, in its latest powerful ad.

Something as important as cord blood banking deserves marketing treatment without any missteps or miscues, and CBR delivers the goods in pictures and words.

The rest of America would do well to learn from CBR’s fabulous marketing team, who confirms that parenting involves both moms and dads equally.

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One year old

As far as we can tell, there’s not a single entity or individual on the Internet devoted to exploring and analyzing how businesses market their products and services to fathers.oneyearold

It wasn’t until we unveiled dadmarketing.com on December 14, 2013, that history was made.

Like with any new venture, there was some uncertainty about the amount of writing material, how readers might respond, and just what we might achieve.

There was never any question as to its need and relevancy. Dads remain left behind in so many facets of life, and most men don’t realize this until they become fathers themselves.

Consider the following:

  • Why are stay-at-home dads not taken seriously by media and society?
  • Why can’t marketers simply include dads in their messages and advertisements?
  • Why must old-fashioned, anti-dad slogans remain in a society that demands equality?
  • Does it really matter which gender predominantly shops for and feeds children?
  • If kids eventually grow up and leave the nest, at what point do dads become instantly capable of fending for themselves in a store, or in a kitchen?

Questions matter, and we’ll keep asking them. It’s part of our mission, our duty, and our purpose. So are all of your needs, and we plan to keep on listening to them, which help to keep us on target.

We’re smack in the middle of the holiday season, where dads and moms inevitably take part in various parties, some easier to stomach than others. But can you dads imagine attending a party where no one spoke to you the entire time?

Marketers do this all the time with word choices they make, and it’s more than disturbing.

One year is in the books, and as long as dads roam the earth, we figure we have many more to go. Thanks to all of you for your unwavering support, tireless goodwill and unmatched appreciation.

Our continued growth depends on feedback, so please keep it coming.

Here’s to the past year, and the years ahead!

Vote of thanks

We’ve certainly read enough “what I’m thankful for” messages in the past week, so all of creation hardly needs another.thanks

However, since we focus a lot on word choices that advertisers make, if there’s one that gets overlooked and underused, it is this: thanks.

That word has the power to praise, motivate and cheer.

In a marketing world that so often targets individuality and me-first, all the while leaving fathers out of the message, it’s nice to overuse that simple word as much as you can.

Yes, dads especially love hearing it. They repeatedly get ignored by marketers who prefer to speak only to moms, thus making them feel like second-class parents who don’t matter.

We believe this week’s annual exhortation to give thanks is overstated. Giving thanks seems like such an internal, individual, private affair done only in our minds, or perhaps just before Thursday’s big meal.

And all of that is fine.

But giving thanks is one thing.

Saying it is another.

Quality marketing is their recipe

How refreshing is this latest email campaign from Wendy’s?wendys

In a world where marketers often perceive moms as the parent-in-charge, here’s an invigorating approach from a company that’s simply giving both parents their rightful due. It was plain and simple, but it got the job done.

There’s no special web tab titled, “For moms.”

They don’t overdo it in the other direction with some out of place, one-time deal for dads so often seen only in June.

Their website doesn’t look overly frilly or feminine, as baby websites so often do.

They did their own way, and did it right – by focusing on family.

Like so many companies before them whose stories have been revealed right here at dadmarketing, Wendy’s had every opportunity in the world to exclude dads and put moms solely in the spotlight.

Rather, they use the words parent and family at every chance they get. While it’s not exactly a shared 50-50 equivalency among photos of moms and dads, we don’t think it’s necessary.

Their mission and focus is carefully crafted by a team who stuck to a game plan by highlighting the adoptees, and in turn, present some touching stories with class and dignity that make all parties feel welcome. They realize that families come in all shapes and sizes, and they didn’t exclude anyone in the process.

It was only one little email, but Wendy’s has dadmarketing’s highest Seal of Approval, and others should take lessons from them.

Wendy’s goal here wasn’t about hamburgers or the bottom line, but it all makes perfect business sense.

Well done, Wendy’s.

Growing pains

nutrientsforlifeIn the grand marketplace of life, there are some aisles relatively free of dad exclusion.

True, we’ve seen marketers spoil campaigns for all kind of products and services, but we know we’ll especially find blunders, for example, with those items revolving around child rearing: lunch items, diapers, juice boxes, cereal.

It’s not that we’re giving these companies a free pass, it’s just that our expectations are so low. Put another way, you expect to see garbage in a landfill; anything else is a surprise.

But then there are products that are hard to mess up. I mean, how could any organization who promotes fertilizer really be guilty of dad exclusion? We’re talking fertilizer!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Nutrients for Life Foundation, a group whose mission is to “provide science-based information that helps educate people about the beneficial role of fertilizer.”

It seems like an admirable group, and their recipe card is actually quite novel in how it reminds us that fertilizer is needed to help the apples (used in the recipe) grow.

The truth is that NFLF probably meant no harm. This isn’t Kix cereal or Jif Peanut Butter, who actively make no bones about who they want to buy their product.

However, their cute message to “thank mom for the cookies” continues to perpetuate an old-fashioned stereotype, a myth that the kitchen is a place only for mothers (an assertion I’m sure many moms would dislike), and thus dads get excluded in the process.

NFLF’s website boldly proclaims that “Growth Begins with Education,” and thankfully dadmarketing believes the same: growth among marketers for dad inclusion begins with educating them about why this topic is so important.

The good news is that NFLF seems to know a thing or two about recipes, and how you can tinker with the formula to make it even better. The same applies to marketing.

What do you say NFLF?

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.

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)