Six common mistakes you need to avoid when marketing to parents

So, you want to get your message heard in the mum and baby market? Good choice; there is a lot of money swirling around in the hands of parents wanting to do the best for the child.

However, there is also a crowded market with little room to breathe and a lot of noise to overcome. Parents are bombarded with powerful competing brand messages and often feel confused and overwhelmed. Being the brand that adds to this noise is a problem.

You need to work out how to cut through the noise with a simple and effective messaging strategy. You also need to avoid these mistakes, which will cost you an opportunity to gain traction.

Mistake 1: Calling it the mum and baby market

Poor dads! They are working hard to step up and be more than a babysitter and supporting character, and nobody recognises their part in the decision-making process. The mother is an influential figure when purchasing items for children, but times are changing, and fathers are increasingly significant. 

Research suggests that these fathers feel under-informed about parenting, even on the internet. Therefore, understanding how they can fill this void is a significant marketing opportunity for the right brand. For the brands that see the father as an equal partner in the relationship, there is a message waiting to resonate and be heard above the noise.

Mistake 2: Seeing ‘parents’ as your marketing segment

While parents have a core identity, they are not a homogenous group. There is no single message that will resonate with both millennials and Gen X parents, for instance. The buying habits of these two groups are so different, so you need to refine your segmentation.

Lifestyle choices also significantly impact the message that will be heard. Some parents are vegan and looking for highly sustainable products, while others are keen for the child to have fun while they are busy with their jobs. Parents in the larger cities will also need a different approach to those in the small town.  In short, being a mum and dad is just one factor that defines your market.

Mistake 3: Portraying an old-fashioned view of parents

Research suggests that parents do not recognise the parents represented in marketing messages. Parenting is an ever-evolving role, with the standard mum at home and dad at work model outdated on many levels.  

There are multiple pressures, as a teacher, carer, playmate and more, are roles they feel they need to fulfil. If your audience doesn’t recognise their life in your messaging, then it will never impact the decision making.

Mistake 4: Being careless with social media

Parents find social media a significant pressure. Going to timelines and seeing images of perfect lives when yours feels chaotic is not a positive driver to making a purchase. If you are part of the messaging that adds to a mum and dad’s sense of inadequacy, you will not win that customer.

Therefore, although social media is a powerful channel, with parents looking for recommendations, how you pitch this message must be carefully designed. If you are aiming your message at fathers, for instance, you might be able to fill the gap in information on parenting.

Mistake 5: Clashing values

Influencers offering product reviews and testimonials are a powerful means of garnering interest. Research suggests that parents look to reviews before making a purchase, especially a significant purchase. So an influencer with a vast reach is a powerful means of getting your brand noticed and building trust with the market.

However, trust and community are crucial elements to a successful marketing campaign to parents, which can be quickly damaged. Therefore, choosing an influencer whose values clash significantly with your brand can have a disastrous impact.

Mistake 6: Forgetting that simple is best

Parents have neither the time nor patience for a complex selling funnel. The parent wants a simple and clear message that they can respond to immediately. Requiring a parent to go through several channels and touchpoints with your client will create a barrier to purchase. Once you have built trust and create a message that resonates, offer the mum and dad a purchase button and get that item to them quickly.

Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR based in Armagh, Northern Ireland. She has previous experience as a website editor and journalist, and currently works with Kings Baby Shop.

Photo by The Creative Exchange