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Marketing to Parents: Why Parents Buy

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In today’s ever-evolving marketplace, parents emerge as a powerful buyer group. As key influencers and decision-makers, they play a vital role in shaping the purchasing landscape. Understanding why parents buy is crucial for marketers who want to connect with this audience effectively. By gaining insight into the motivations, needs, and behaviors of parents, marketers can tailor their strategies to cater to this influential consumer segment. So, let’s dive in: Why are parents buying?

Parents are driven by a myriad of motivations when making purchase decisions. Their primary goal is often centered around providing the best for their children and ensuring their overall well-being. This intrinsic motivation fuels a range of purchases, spanning from essential items like food, clothing, and education, to more discretionary products and services that enhance their child’s development, entertainment, and health. Marketers who understand these motivations can align their messaging and offering accordingly, showcasing how their products or services meet parents’ aspirations for their children.

One example: Back-to-School 

The back-to-school market is booming – and that’s because brands have found a sweet spot: Parents want to provide the best back-to-the-classroom experience for their child. This means, they will spend money on enhancing their child’s back-to-school experience.

Brands like Macy’s have been dominating the back-to-school marketing space for years with their thoughtful and strategic messaging that resonates with family buyers. 

Parents inherently assume the role of family buyers due to their unique position as caregivers and decision-makers. They possess a deep understanding of their family’s needs, preferences, and dynamics, making them the primary orchestrators of household purchases. From researching and evaluating options to comparing prices and quality, parents bear the responsibility of ensuring that their purchases align with their family’s values and requirements. This crucial role places parents at the forefront of the consumer landscape, presenting marketers with an opportunity to engage with them directly and influence their purchasing decisions.

Parental buying decisions are influenced by an array of factors that marketers must consider to effectively engage this consumer group. These factors include…

Product Quality & Safety

Parents prioritize products that meet high-quality standards, adhere to safety regulations, and provide reliable performance. 

According to our Parents as Consumers Report, 42% of youth sports parents selecting a hotel based on the standards of it’s amenities. They take into consideration factors like whether it has a pool for the kids, laundry machines, and parking.

Product quality and safety can also be a top priority for parents when selecting the right sports program for their child.

One trend we’ve seen as early-sport specialization took off in recent decades is more families jumping from community programs to travel or private organizations.  According to the Aspen Institute’s 2022 Project Play study, “If parents believe community sports are not a quality experience, many spend more time and money than they wish through private, often tryout-based club programs that require travel.”

Recommendations from Trusted Sources

Word-of-mouth recommendations from fellow parents, friends, family, and online communities significantly impact parental purchasing decisions. Positive experiences shared by trusted sources (friends, family, acquaintances) goes far.

Leveraging this strategy effectively can help brands build credibility, trust, and loyalty among their target audience. Here are three examples of word-of-mouth marketing trends that can encourage  parents to purchase from brands:

01. Influencer Partnerships

When brands collaborate with influential individuals in the community, such as professional athletes, coaches, or sports bloggers, they can reach youth sports parents in an impactful and relatable way. When these influencers endorse a brand’s products or share their positive experiences, it creates a ripple effect among parents who look up to them.

02. Parent Testimonials and Reviews

Parents rely heavily on the experiences and recommendations of other parents. Authentic and positive feedback from fellow parents acts as social proof, reinforcing trust and increasing the likelihood of purchasing decisions. Just look at Facebook comments!

03. Community Engagement

Parents often belong to communities, whether that’s through their neighborhood, their child’s sports team, or school. When a brand shows up and provide value within the community, parents are more likely think positively about it. This active involvement can create a network effect, expanding the reach and influence of your word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

Convenience and Time

Who has plenty leisure time? Definitely not parents. Busy parents often seek products and services that streamline their daily routines and save time. Convenience, accessibility, and ease of use are key selling points for this time-constrained demographic.

52% of parents choose quick service restaurants (QSR) because it is fast. Not surprising, as busy parents are more often looking for something fast to fuel up while on-the-go. (2023 Parents as Consumers Report)

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Overall Consciousness

Increasingly, parents prioritize brands that demonstrate social responsibility, ethical sourcing, sustainability, and environmental consciousness. Aligning with these values can drive stronger connections with this socially conscious consumer segment.

In fact, in our blog post Price, Quality, and Convenience – Converting Customers Isn’t Rocket Science, we dive into how marketer can tap into this audience with valuable insights.

Parents wield significant influence as family buyers, so understanding this consumer group effectively is vital for marketers.  Building trust, offering convenience, emphasizing value, and aligning with their values will help marketers forge lasting relationships with parents, ensuring their products and services become integral parts of family life. 

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