It’s when I’m running around at 6 in the morning trying to figure out why my iPad is in the fridge that it strikes me: have we made much progress, when it comes to marketing, in the last 50 years?
Because although I do as much of the work around the house as my wife (or at least give me 60/40), you won’t find images of Millennial Dads like me in marketing campaigns. No, although it’s 2015 and Millennial Dads are more likely than any other generation to be involved in the everyday life of childcare, companies still focus solely on marketing to Moms.
Don’t get me wrong: considering the power and influence Moms have (and not just over us men) when it comes to household purchases, vacation, travel, and so many other domains, it makes absolute sense to try to sway them to your brand or product.
But companies that are thinking forward into the future are realizing that the typical household has changed and so too must their marketing campaigns. Because when I look around at the ads on T.V., the stock photos I browse when searching for an image for my next marketing campaign, or the language companies use when marketing to families, it feels like we’re invisible.
The Invisible Millennial Dads
Who are we? Us Millennial Dads – yes, the jump in the leaves, build a snowman, pick up kids from school, help with homework and go on paternity leave Dads. The Dads you don’t often see in online marketing campaigns – because even though we’ve progressed over the last few years, marketing has yet to keep up. I’m not the only one who thinks so – it was perhaps a bit depressing to learn that 82% of men with kids under two believe there is a societal bias against fathers.
So why does this matter to me (or, why do I take the time to write this article at 11 p.m. at night once my ninjas have finally gone to bed)?
Because we want some attention (and not just from our wives). I want companies that care about what us Millennial Dads think – companies that take the time to develop their story, not just targeted towards Moms, but to the modern-day parent: whether that’s a two-dad family, a single mom, a single dad, a mom and dad, or anything else in between.
Do this well and you’ll set yourself up for success in 2015 and beyond. Here’s why.
The #1 Business Skill of 2015
Even though being a parent can sometimes feel like living under a rock (you know the feeling of days going by without knowing what’s going on outside your own house – because you’ve been stuck in it for 48 hours), there’s one skill that everyone is talking about as the number one key to success and that’s storytelling.
In 2015, running a few one-off marketing campaigns or inconsistent ads won’t cut it. Today’s consumers (myself included) want to be told, not sold; we want companies to show us why they care about us and it’s these authentic stories that are going to win our loyalty (at least until the kids are 18 – after that, we can’t make any promises).
The Ultimate Storytelling Test
Take a look at any marketing campaign you’re running right now and remove your logo and any mentions of your company. Now, check out your competitor’s and do the same. What’s the difference? What sets you apart? If you showed this to a stranger (or even better, your target demographic), would they be able to tell them apart – to know which content or campaign belongs to which company?
It’s a test that most marketers, myself included, may be afraid to take (go ahead and try it now. No, seriously – I’ll wait). But it’s one that you must do if you want to really evaluate how successful you’ll be in 2015.
If storytelling is the most important skill of the year, then you need to make sure that everything you do tells your story – especially to the consumers who want to understand how your story relates to them.
Who are we? Us Millennial Dads – yes, the jump in the leaves, build a snowman, pick up kids from school, help with homework and go on paternity leave Dads.
Here’s What the Millennial Dad Story Looks Like
So you’re convinced Millennial Dads matter (thanks for the recognition – it’s about time) and now you need to figure out how to tell your story to Millennial Dads. I think it starts with three steps.
1. Can we put away the stereotypes?
Dads come in lots of shapes and sizes – not all of us are heading to work with a gym bag, drinking protein shakes, going camping with the kids and showing them our power tools. The stereotypes are outdated and it’s time for marketing campaigns to get rid of them.
Learn what Millennial Dads actually look like and what matters to them by reading thelatest research on them and speaking to real families (use social media and bloggers to find out what they’re saying and connect with them on their terms). Us Dads who can’t always repair broken appliances will thank you for forgetting about stereotypes.
2. What sets you apart?
If you’ve taken the ultimate storytelling test above, then you either know what sets you apart or you’re staring at a screen wondering how you never noticed that your story isn’t unique. That can change. Take a deep look at what you do and what you want to be known for. What makes your company different? It might not even relate to the products you sell.
I love how Go Pro, for example, tells a story online about adventure and freedom, not necessarily about the ease and simplicity of their cameras. Ask your staff to describe your unique attributes and include them in your story.
3. What do your consumers want?
What do your ideal consumers want? Speaking about Millennial Dads and I can tell youwe want to be able to get information on the go (without texting the wife) and make online shopping simpler, to name a few.
Your story isn’t just about what you make or do, but about how it relates to your consumers’ lives – how Kobo brings reading to life and makes reading for the kids fun (and not just a reading technology platform), or how Lyve keeps your greatest memories alive so you can relive these family moments over and over again (and not just about storing photos and videos).
Those three questions can help get you started on your storytelling journey, especially as you navigate new demographics like us Millennial Dads – thanks for including us as part of your story.