Sixty-two Percent of Moms and 54 Percent of Dads Say Parenting Roles will Move Away from “Mom” and “Dad” Roles of the Past

Edelman has released Marketing to the Modern Family – a new study with insights about marketing to the family of the future that revealed surprising findings, including more than a third of dads feel that they are now acting in the role of a traditional “mom.”

From skill set vs. gender roles, to happily married vs. happily unmarried, the study revealed the chief purchasing officer in families is changing. Based on the insights below, a small spend and “test and learn” approach from marketers can optimize future success.

  • Traditional Becomes Traditionall: Families headed by gay, lesbian and single parents become the new traditional family – 66 percent of gay dads are more likely to buy products that have ads reflecting their sexual orientation. Marketers need to look at everything from imagery to language and ensure they are communicating to a full spectrum of audiences.Gender Surrender: Economic pressures and blended family models have redefined individual roles within the family – skill sets have replaced gender, and 62 percent of moms and 54 percent of dads feel that parenting roles will be redefined away from the traditional “mom and dad” roles of the past. This creates a new opportunity for marketers to think in terms of skill set versus gender, opening up the entire family as a target.
  • Democratization of the Family: Sixty-eight percent of parents say that children have influence on family purchasing decisions, and grandmothers are playing an increased role. The power of the purse is equally divided among its publics. It’s not simply a “mommy” world, so marketers will need to change their lexicon accordingly.
  • The Rise of the Involved Dad: Dads are demanding work-life balance – and doing much more at home. Dads report their responsibility for taking care of kids has more than doubled since their childhood. Marketers must acknowledge dad’s role in the family, rather than a “men as cavemen” mentality.

“While the essence of parenting hasn’t changed, the look and make-up of the American family has seen a huge shift – from more moms in the workforce to a rise in multigenerational households,” said Christina Smedley, Global Chair of Edelman’s Consumer Marketing Practice. “Marketing to the Modern Family found that, while moms are still a critical audience for brands, changing dynamics have created a new set of rules and audiences that marketers should consider when targeting the family of today.”

The study, which was commissioned in August 2011, included in-depth interviews with 2,482 consumers among a cross-section of today’s modern family: single parents, working moms, gay partners, multicultural heads of households and grandparents. Questions were influenced by a panel of experts who reflect the modern family through their own demographics, and with expertise in key areas including health and wellness, technology, finance and pop culture.

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