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Five Things Companies Should Really Consider When Marketing to Parents

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What factors do you have in mind when designing a product for parents? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Anne K. Halsall, CPO & co-founder of Winnie, on Quora.

Don't make it just about moms. News flash! This is 2016. Moms don't do all the parenting anymore, so can we please just move past this? Lots of children don't have a mom. Lots of fathers are primary caretakers. When you align your product and brand as being "for moms" (often in shades of pink, with logos that involve strollers) you are chopping off half of an already niche audience. Why do this?

Don't assume anything about family composition. Modern families are diverse. Children may be looked after by aunts, uncles, grandparents, nannies, step-parents, cousins, even older siblings. Lots of families have one parent, some have parents who aren't married, or who are the same gender, or who aren't biologically related to the child. They are all families and what they do is parenting, no matter who they are.

Keep it grounded in the real world. Kids are a real world problem! This is why Winnie is hyperlocal. Venting on Facebook can be helpful but it won't bring you soup when your toddler picks up the stomach flu and all your kids are projectile vomiting. People caring for children need to be connected to each other in their real, physical universes.

Parenting is stressful, so make it fun and cute. There is a reason that things marketed to parents are covered in perfect sleeping babies. At the same time, our lives are falling apart because we're getting no sleep and under unimaginable strain, we are completely addicted to that crap. Cute plush animals, onesies that say "I love Daddy", soft-filter photos of sleeping babies... we love it. It reminds us why we're doing all of this.

Parents have twice the problems they need solutions for. Why? They are also solving problems for their kids! Children (in case you don't know any) are pretty useless until they're at least ten or so. Even then, they aren't driving themselves to school or making their own dentist appointments. When a child needs shoes, the parent is the one who has to choose and buy them. As consumers, parents are kind of amazing in that they are a single person you have a relationship with, but often buying and making decisions for two, three, or more people. Pretty neat, huh?

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