Household brands observe parents' needs in defining segmentation tactics

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Household brands observe parents' needs in defining segmentation tactics
Household brands observe parents' needs in defining segmentation tactics
The panel lends "unbiased, third-party credibility to the brand," but it mainly provides an outreach to parents with information they need, says Tim Abate, marketing director at GoodNites.

"The very good marketers are creating content that goes beyond product descriptions and why you should buy product X," says David Sladack, VP and senior group 
account director at Brunner, a direct and digital advertising agency. 

Brunner recently conducted a program with Aquafresh toothpaste that included child behavior experts giving advice on how to get kids to brush, coupled with sampling and an animation app for smartphones that encourages kids to brush for the two minutes experts recommend. He couldn't share the results, but said the client was "very pleased" with the spike in online traffic and downloads of the app.

"When you're dealing with parents, anything for them has to be framed in a way that inspires trust; genuine trust, not purchase validations," says Richard Goldsmith, social media manager at Kenmore. 

Goldsmith is working with BlogFrog on a promotion, Genius Tip, which asks social media users to share their best tips on a particular topic, such as surviving a family road trip. It offers a monthly $3,000 Kenmore gift certificate for the best one. Social media efforts such as the Genius Tip contest offer the best opportunities to harness word-of-mouth marketing, which carries great weight with parents, according to experts. 

"The playground social network is very important," says Richard Gottlieb, CEO of USA Toy Experts, a consulting firm that advises toy manufacturers. 

Gottlieb's survey of parents found the main influence in their toy purchases is the child's wish, followed by recommendations from other parents and blogger suggestions. Advertising came in far behind those channels. However, like traditional media, social and digital are also increasingly targeting their audiences more effectively. 

Marketers are targeting more carefully based on both the parents' life stage and consumer behavior, says Jan Jindra, senior product market manager at Experian Marketing Services. Younger parents, and those of smaller children, have different information needs than parents of older or college-age children, she says. "It's not only the life stage they're in, but the lifestyle," Jindra says.

There is an increased amount of demographic and consumer behavior information available, but it has to be rationalized, Jindra says. A lot of information available on marketers' databases has duplication and overlap, and the cleaned data still has to be married to transaction data to get a complete view of the shopper's behavior, she adds. 

Retail and consumer packaged goods companies have been segmenting better because they have multiple touchpoints with customers, making it even more important to link all data, says Jindra. 

"It's really just good marketing to have as defined a segmentation as you can," says Sladack. "Like anything else, you have to have the right information and start with developing a very targeted profile."

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