Marketing to Four Legged Consumer Mums and Kids Essay

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July/August 2006, Issue 474 www.warc.com

Marketing to the four-eyed, four-legged consumer
Tim Coffey, David Siegel and Greg Livingston The nature of the four-eyed, four-legged consumer (4i4l), otherwise known as mother and child, changes as the child matures from prebirth (pregnancy) to teen. Today's mothers and their children are substantially different from previous generations in their approach to life, and parenting in particular. By examining their lifestages, we can better understand
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Permissive mothers are more likely to use the childempowering styles of asking and choice-offering, and to be more responsive to children's requests. Restrictive mothers favour the more motherly-control styles of providing and choice-offering. CHILD-DRIVEN INFLUENCE From a child-driven perspective, there are two modes of interaction: requesting and reacting. 1. Requesting is when a child explicitly makes its wants known to its mother through any sort of communication. There is, of course, the universally understood 'I want that' request, but requests are often more subtle; younger children under six, especially, are more likely to point to or pick up a product because their verbal skills are not as well developed as those of older children. 2. Reacting is perhaps the most powerful child-driven interaction style. It is clear that even when a mother is using either the providing or choice-offering style, the child's reaction is paramount. It is an immutable truth that if a child does not like a product intended for her use, the child will not use it. Just observe a parent who attempts to serve baby-food peas to an infant or toddler who does not like peas. Those peas usually end up on the parent's face. And, since few parents are willing to endure peas in the face more than a few times (the first

seems kind of funny), there is a second immutable truth, which is that a mother will not buy what

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