By Candace Huntly
March break is around the corner and that means that summer is a quick hop, skip, and a jump away. Kids are out of school, parents work reduced hours (as much as possible), some families take vacations, and summer behaviours start to creep in as everyone gets ready to slow down and enjoy the warmer weather. So, what does that mean for your strategy if you are marketing to parents? It means that it’s time to tweak your current strategy to adjust for the changing behaviour.
The one thing that is coming up with many of our clients is that the parenting market is changing – drastically. Where you may have targeted an older group of moms before, Millennial parents are taking over – 40% of Millennials are parents now – and they do things a little differently. There isn’t just one picture of what a parent looks like now, so you have to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to marketing to parents. It’s important to get to know the types of parents that would be interested in what you have to offer so you can create your marketing strategy accordingly.
You have to make your brand irresistible to parents so that when they are looking online, they seek out your content and they listen to what you have to say.
Use tactics that get people outside
While summer means people might be thinking less about buying “stuff” they are definitely thinking about enjoying the warmer weather. Include marketing tactics that are more experiential that allow people to get to know your brand while spending time outside. Not only can you create memorable experiences for your target audience, you can also avoid costs for venue rentals. It’s also a chance for you to get a little messy.
Some fun things you can do are:
- Hand out branded ice cream samples or popsicles at your local park
- Set up a branded beverage stand with cool refreshments on a hot day
- Hand out branded bottles of water
- Set up a branded geo-cache activity
Connect with non-vacationing families
Just because some people go away during the summer doesn’t mean that all of your customers will be away. Create experiences that will allow families to have just as much fun if they are staying home. Parents are always looking for fun things for their kids to do, rain or shine.
A few examples of things that will get people out of the house and actively engaged with your brand are:
- Organize a community water fight
- Organize a street hockey tournament
- Set up a city-wide or community-wide scavenger hunt
- Organize a community paint night
Get more visual than normal
If people are between activities or they are “mindlessly scrolling” through social media, you need to adjust your approach to content to match. First, a summer slow down doesn’t mean spending less time on social media. Everyone will be spending time on social media whether they are on vacation or at home, but they will be looking for an escape from the every day, so try to post more lifestyle content that fits within the type of content they want to see. Make it easy for your audience to find and engage with your content by focusing your efforts on impactful visuals. That way, if they are scrolling through their social media feeds, they will stop and take notice. In fact, 75% of Millennial parents are open to watching branded videos online – especially when they are looking for advice (Google).
Be extra engaged
A lazy, laid-back summer means that you need to put extra effort into connecting on a social level when marketing to parents. Focus on relationship-building and stop selling. Community is more important to parents than ever because they look to other parents for advice and for places they can connect with the rest of the world so they feel less alone. Sometimes it’s not about the sale, sometimes it’s just about supporting a new mom or helping a dad realize that he is making the right decisions for his child.
Focus on great website content
One thing that will always be helpful for busy parents is useful content. When it comes to your website, this means regularly updated blog content, descriptive product pages, and an about page that will draw customers in quickly. Parents often turn to online channels for advice. While there is a lot of it out there, there isn’t enough well-balanced discussion online. You have the opportunity to become the go-to hub for expert advice in your given area of expertise. Your content should ultimately always have a call to action – which can be sales related – but you can focus the topics on more lifestyle content like tips and tricks, expert interviews, guest blogs, and parenting hacks. Your target audience will come to trust you and they will remember you when it comes time to make purchase decisions.
Connect with influencers
Even if your target audience has chosen to keep things a bit lighter with their social media interactions in the summer, chances are they are still following their favourite influencers and what they are up to. Connecting with influencers throughout the summer gives you the opportunity to build brand awareness and buzz without having to talk about yourself too much.
To be clear, it’s important to connect with influencers throughout the year, but during the summer months people are even more laid back and a more subtle approach is important.
Summer is coming, but it doesn’t mean you need expect a massive slump. While things might slow down a bit, you should roll ahead with your marketing strategies with a few tweaks to address changing consumer behaviours. In the summer, parents have different needs than throughout the rest of the year. Marketing to parents should be different in the summer.
If you don’t know where to start, we can help to point you in the right direction. Book your free 20-minute consultation today!