If you have been following our blog, you know that we are in the process of completing a five part series about the orbits of Millennial parents discussed in my new book, Millennials with Kids. To create these orbits, we partnered with Consumer Orbit, a tactical analytics firm that uses household data from 110 MM households in the U.S. to track the attitudes and behaviors of consumers. We refer to these different groups of individuals as “orbits” because, unlike “segments” that are concrete and can become outdated as market trends change, orbits are constantly evolving and adapting.
In Part 1, we talked about Image First parents, who most closely resemble the typical Millennial; constantly connected to their smartphones, always logged in to their social media profiles, and trying to impress others by always being the first to join a new trend. Parents in the Family First orbit, however, are very different.
The Family First orbit compromises 21 percent of the Millennial parent population. Unlike Image First parents who use social media to widen their social networks, these Millennials use social media to connect with their tight network of family and friends. These parents are typically not interested in the latest fashion trends or what the Kardashian’s are doing; their focus is on convenience, comfort, and most importantly, their kids.
Sound familiar? Family First parents are the most likely to mimic traditional parenting trends from previous generations. Eating dinner together as a family and raising their children with a respect for hard work are priorities. Those in this orbit also represent the highest percentage of parents who define themselves as conservative, Evangelical Christians (54%) compared to just 33 percent of the general Millennial population. This is the orbit with the highest concentration of homemakers, resulting in lower labor participation rates.
Like the name of this orbit suggests, Family First parents believe that family, and more specifically their kids, come first. They are the least likely to sacrifice time with their families to get ahead and rarely miss an opportunity to spend time together. However, this does not mean that the parents who are working are not doing everything they can to provide a comfortable life for their families.
While these parents may sound like your modern day June and Ward Cleaver, they are still digital natives and are using their Millennial-ness to raise their children. Family First parents use their smartphones like a modern day Swiss army knife. It is essentially an extension of their arms as they are constantly using their phone to research products, find information, and provide entertainment for their families.
Developing messages for parents in the Family First orbit
Understanding the differences between these orbits allow brands to develop messaging that will better resonate with their target audience. For example, let’s imagine you are a baby stroller company and you just created the newest, most efficient and tech-savvy stroller on the market. Targeting an Image First parent, you will probably highlight the features of the stroller emphasizing how using this stroller will make you stand out against the crowd. However, that message would not resonate with Family First parents.
The Family First targeted message probably features a family at the park. Thank goodness mom has her new stroller because she can store everything she needs: purse, diaper bag, snacks, and more, leaving her free to go play with her daughter and husband on the jungle gym.
Family First parents may be more traditional, but they are still a widely modern group of consumers. They will interact with brands that align with their “traditional” set of values but connect with them in a digital way. This is not an audience you want to forget about as they are one of the largest groups of Millennial parents and have the highest discretionary dollars to spend.
(For a more in-depth discussion of these five orbits, check out the book Millennial with Kids: Marketing to This Powerful and Surprisingly Different Generation of Parents.)