Marketing to Dads: 5 Misconceptions About the Dad Consumer

Over the last decade, marketers have focused on moms as the primary shopper and decision-maker of most households. With the emergence of mommy bloggers and followers coinciding with an unabashed admission of female buying power, more marketing and PR professionals began focusing campaigns on these consumers. Where did this leave dads? Some dads report feeling ignored by brand ad campaigns. A recent Yahoo study about dad consumers is turning heads and should influence some retail marketers to expand their target audiences. Some of the misconceptions that researchers found about dads are:

1.     Dads don’t do housework.

2.     Dads aren’t interested in retail shopping.

3.     Dads don’t sway spending on household products.

4.     Dads don’t share brand choices with peers.

5.     Dads don’t do brand research.


The Yahoo survey of over 2,000 men (including over 1,000 dads) proved otherwise:

1.     Dads do housework. Half of the men surveyed reported that they are responsible for the family grocery shopping, and one-third say they clean and cook.

2.     Dads are interested in retail shopping. Beyond just being interested, dads are actually spending money on their families in the retail market. Four out of five dads report visiting retail stores.

3.     Dads influence spending on household products. Fifty percent of dads said they buy or influence purchases in 13 of 14 categories.

4.     Dads share brand choices with peers. Eighty-three percent of dads surveyed said that brands are brought up in conversations with friends, and two in three say they chat about them on social sites.

5.     Dads research brands (mostly online). While they are more likely than their female counterparts to make “on the spot” brand decisions, the use of smart phones is becoming an important tool for daddy shoppers in the store. Also, dads are researching more products online at home as well.

Whether it’s a result of male-dominated industries being hit the hardest by the recent recession, thus creating more stay-at-home dads, or a sociological shift of fathers to be more involved with their families, Dad has become a force to be marketed to. According to a recent article on, dads are feeling neglected by most ad campaigns. In fact, sixty-six percent of dads surveyed felt ignored by apparel ads and fifty-seven percent felt ignored by baby product advertisers. With the exception of car parts and tools, most consumer packaged goods (CPG) campaigns target Mom and often perform the faux pas of depicting Dad as a bumbling follower that knows nothing about the management of the household. The Yahoo study tells us this is a big mistake.

Several daddy blogs have recently raved about the efforts made by Pampers diapers to address dads as decision-making consumers at a time of year besides June (Father’s Day month). The general sentiment seems to be a hope that other brands will follow and begin to market to dads, or at the very least, moms AND dads, as household decision-makers.

Our advice: Learn how to “speak dad.” Follow some daddy blogs like,, and or dad-centric websites like If you’ve been focusing on reaching the “mommy” segment for your clients, the dads who contribute to these sites will have a lot to teach you.

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