What About Dad?

Discussion
Jun 14, 2011

With recent research finding men playing a bigger role in decisions around the family shopping budget, a new segmentation study has defined five categories of dads.

Using data provided by GfK MRI and market intelligence firm Peacock Nine, the study by The Martin Agency’s Consumer Forensics division focused on men with children under 18 years of age in the household. Nearly 10,000 “Active dads” were sampled.

The five distinct categories of fathers included:

The Partner Dad (25 percent of dads, approximately 9.8 million):

This dad is all about collaboration. He works with his partner to get things done, even if that means doing the shopping, the cooking and the dishes. Free time is a luxury with this dad, so when he gets it, he relaxes in front of the TV or with a magazine.

The Renaissance Dad (19 percent of dads, approximately 7.3 million)

This dad strengthens the family through togetherness and learning. He makes it a point to be home for dinner every night, even if he has to go back to work afterwards. When he’s not bringing the family together, you can find him reading or jogging.

The Durable Dad (25 percent of dads, approximately 9.7 million)

This dad leads by example, instilling his values in his kids by embodying them himself. He tends to be a little more traditional than most dads: it’s family first, then community, then country. He’s a man’s man and might enjoy hunting or working out in the garage.

The Hip Pop (14 percent of dads, approximately 5.3 million)

This dad wants to be a friend as well as a parent to his kids. While he’s not a pushover, he does like spoiling his kids every once in a while. He’s culturally aware and extremely active, participating in a variety of activities like sports and going out with his friends.

The Leader of the Pack (17 percent of dads, approximately 6.6 million)

This dad sees it as his job to advance the family and make a better life for his kids. He is extremely ambitious and status-oriented, and he tries to instill those values in his kids. He loves top-of-the-line gadgets and clothes.

“This is a consumer group that is largely and surprisingly misunderstood,” said Lauren Tucker, SVP/director of Consumer Forensics. “This segmentation is the beginning of our journey towards a deeper understanding of men and their relationship to the marketplace.”

Discussion Questions: What value does segmenting dads hold for retailers and brands? Does any one of the five categories of fathers identified in the Martin Agency study hold a greater potential for marketers in your opinion?

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12 Comments on "What About Dad?"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Yet another study defining consumers with cute names. This time it’s dads, but only those dads with children under 18. Do these kinds of analyses really make it easier for marketers to reach and dialogue with target audiences? Marketers need more depth and nuance. This study may garner attention for a week or two, but it adds little for brands and retailers trying to reach and motivate dads.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

When it comes to segmentation, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

For example, doesn’t the Leader of the Pack Dad “lead by example” making him a Durable Dad?

Couldn’t a Hip Pop also be a Partner Dad (assuming helping with the cooking is hip, of course)?

And…er…what’s the difference between the Durable Dad and the Renaissance Dad again? Two guys just jogged past me and I couldn’t tell which was which.

Anyway, you get the point. Put me in the camp of the Pragmatic Dads who are too busy to spend too much serious thought on silly marketing taxonomies that make better PowerPoint fodder than sense.

Joan Treistman
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

I’m not sure the segmentation differentiates men in a way that allows for distinct marketing messages. Further, I didn’t notice a link between the segments and the shopping behavior. My suggestion is to follow the money. What is the monthly spend for each of the segments? That information would be a gateway to the next step, a deeper dive into understanding of messages that will resonate with these men and influence their shopping behavior.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Here’s what worries me. I’m a dad and I read these descriptors thinking about myself and my friends. I find some component of most of these descriptors in each of us, depending on the situation or even my mood. This is the issue with segmentation in general — it tries to be very definitive but actual consumers are much more nuanced.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Knowing your customer is the first step in any business. This is just one more way to view a segment of your audience.

Roger Saunders
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

We all have/ had a dad. When retailers and brands remind us of that in their marketing and merchandising efforts, they create a visceral connection. Demonstrating the various segments of “dads” strengthens that bond with the customers in these multiple groups.

Messaging, however, becomes increasingly more challenging. Important that marketers keep in mind that 33.3% of males are single and have never been married. 72.6% of households don’t have any children under 18 in the household. And, 45.1% of U.S. males, 18+ are married at this point in time. The family structure is a good distance away from “Father Knows Best”.

There is no one “Best Dad” — they are all great and unique in their own skin. If marketers let consumers know that they have “Dads in mind”, and are there to help, work with, amuse, support, dress, entertain, etc., they will open the door wider for traffic. One size does not fit all.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Knowing your most valuable customer is critical for success. Whose customers fit these profiles? Which one of the profiles is the most valuable? Categories in isolation are clever, but not usable.

Cathy Briant
Guest
Cathy Briant
9 years 11 months ago

Joan and Ryan nailed it on the head – overlapping taxonomies with no link to shopping behavior. Perhaps Partner Dad shares in the grocery and household sundry shopping, and so we should reflect that in marketing those products, but that’s the only immediate correlation I could make (and without data, that’s really just an assumption).

I also have to wonder about the categories – my husband is a truly involved Dad that apparently defies categorization (something I already knew) and I see nothing that implies the unique nature of the Divorced/Single/Widowed Dad…surely there had to be some in the sample, and the nature of dual households has to impact a single man’s shopping habits? Or am I approaching a taboo subject?

Hallmark started advertising Father’s Day cards with the subtle note “some envelopes are postage paid.” I’ll acknowledge empty nesters and grandfathers get cards, but the commercial features a young girl and her dad.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

This survey is for dads with children living in the house. Maybe there should be something for us dads with adult children who enjoy helping out around the house; but when it becomes his time, he wants to be at the golf course with his friends. Now that is attractive especially with Father’s day coming. Maybe I should copy this and leave it where my wife will find it.
I think attention needs to be paid to those dads who do the grocery shopping seriously, not impulsively (like me).

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
9 years 11 months ago

Each of the Martin Agency’s five dad segments holds opportunity for brands. But creating the right offering to entice the desired dad requires more info than is indicated here. Martin undoubtedly has those insights available for clients, and they’re likely to include deeper insights into areas like preferred brands, shopping preferences, and spending behaviors. Along with more info about the dad’s overall lifestyle, such insights are what brands need to successfully understand and reach the increasingly important male consumer.

Larry Negrich
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Cute names and categories aside, this research shows the growing importance and attention being paid to dads as a buying group. Who knows, some day in the distant future dads may come close to having as much influence on buying decision as tweens.

Warren Thayer
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Why not use your loyalty card data to track purchases based on astrological signs? My bet is that Pisces dads buy a lot of frozen pizza, are easily tempted by BOGOs, and do their shopping on Tuesday evenings.

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