The Complete Guide: Marketing to Millennial Parents

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Why the new generation of parents are different and what this means for your business

Millennials are now the world’s most populous generation, outnumbering Generation X and Baby Boomers, and most significantly, they are now starting families. For organisations that operate within the family activity sector, this presents a huge opportunity to connect with a new generation of parents, whose habits and outlook on life are very different to those before them.

The world’s most powerful consumers; millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996. Of the 679,106 UK births in 2017, 87% of these were to millennial mothers. By 2020, over 5.5 million parents in the UK will be considered millennials, and, by 2025 this will be 83% of all parents.

This special report looks at:

  •  The key trends defining the new generation of modern millennial parents.

  •  What this means for how you run, market and grow your business.


We also offer some insights and best practices on:

  • How to tailor your events, classes and workshops to this new audience.

  • How to effectively market to millennials to grow your business.

By 2020 over 5.5 million parents in the UK will be defined as Millennials

By 2020 over 5.5 million parents in the UK will be defined as Millennials

 

Generation Change: Why does this matter?

As with all generations, modern parents have a different outlook on life to their parents. Access to the internet and smartphones, plus the growth of social media have reshaped their expectations as consumers, how they manage their social lives and how they choose to spend their disposable income.

Many of them have come of age during a difficult time in our economy. The oldest millennials were just 27 years old when the 2008 recession began. As unemployment and property prices have spiked, younger millennials have entered the job market with even greater instability and the likelihood of owning a property rapidly diminishing.

We’re now seeing a noticeable change in the priorities that modern parents place on their family life. Ahead we will examine how this shift in outlook is changing the family activity sector.

Comparison of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials + Generation Z

Comparison of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials + Generation Z

 

Key Insights: Five top ways to reach more millennial Parents

 
 

1

Make it memorable

Millennials seek unique and inspiring experiences and these aspirations are no different for their children. Think about how you can create special moments at your activities that children and their parents will remember.

 
 

2

Be unique

There’s never been more choice for parents looking for things to do with their kids. Think about how you can make your activity stand out from the crowd. Simply giving your activity a more eye-catching name can make all the difference.

 
 

3

Be authentic

Let your customers tell your story, through reviews and testimonials. A recent poll by Hoop revealed that 80% of families said positive reviews influence purchasing decisions.

 
 

4

Make it mobile

Millennials have a high bar when it comes to using the web. Make sure that it’s easy to access your activity information and to make a booking on a mobile. The majority of all purchases made by millennials are on a smartphone.

 
 

5

Embrace social media

Think about how to incorporate social media moments into your activity or event. Ensuring you have branded banners and materials will spread your name to new families, as well as encouraging families to tag you in any photos they do choose to share publicly.

 

What’s shaping a new generation of parents and what this means for family life

 

Experience is Everything

A recent US study by Harris revealed that more than three in four millennials would choose to spend money on an experience or event over buying something desirable:

 
More than three in four millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on an experience or event

‘...this generation highly values experiences, and is increasingly spending more time and money on them – from concerts and fitness classes to festivals, shows and events of all kinds.’

Happiness is no longer as focused on possessions or career status, but on living a meaningful, happy life and creating, sharing and capturing memories.

It’s not hard to see the explosive growth of the experience economy. From the rise of Airbnb’s ‘live like a local’ to the never-ending stream of Instagram photos, parents today love to seek out new and interesting experiences.

A survey by Barclays in 2014 found that two-thirds of 18 - 34 year-olds feel more fulfilled by experiencing something than purchasing an item of the same value. Almost 75% agreed that FOMO (fear of missing out) – partly fuelled by experiences being shared on social media – prompted them to seek out activities that were out of the ordinary.

For family activity organisers the rapid growth of the experience economy presents a huge opportunity. Parents with young families have never been more eager to seek out new activities for their family, and place a high value on giving their children new experiences.

 

Social Life = Digital Life

The rise of the smartphone combined with improved connectivity has accelerated the growth of social networks.

Originally spaces to connect with friends, social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have changed the way we share and access information in both our social circles and the wider world.

For a generation that check in online multiple times per day, the role of social media is huge. Acting both as places to share parenting updates and seek out parenting knowhow, mums and dads today are more likely to turn to a digital community for parenting guidance and support than their own parents.

The rise of influencers like @mother_of_daughters and the popularity of local parenting Facebook groups have changed the way new parents access parenting advice and information.

 

Generation Smartphone

Millennials have been shaped by computing technology in ways that previous generations have not. Widespread use of the internet and the subsequent rise of smartphones have reshaped the way parents today manage their life.

With an explosion of tech startups delivering services and information on demand, this group of consumers now expect a new level of immediacy in how they find information and choose to spend their money.

 
96.5% of UK millennials own at least one smartphone
— Source: eMarketer

It’s hard to find an industry that hasn’t had to adapt to the rising usage of smartphones. In everything from ordering a takeaway (Deliveroo, Just Eat) to hailing a cab (Uber, mytaxi), customers have high expectations when it comes to managing their life and accessing information. As this generation of digital natives become parents for the first time, the technological bar has been raised for all companies and brands looking to connect with them.

In 2017 Apple picked Parent Tech as a trend of the year, reflecting the rise in apps supporting parenting. Mush (connecting with new mums), Glow (fertility tracking) and Bubble (babysitting) are all examples of the growing app economy supporting families.

 

Credit Crunch Reality

The effects of the 2008 downturn continue to have a huge impact on anyone born in the 1980s and early 1990s, with employees in the 22 - 39 age bracket today seeing the largest falls in real average earning following the recession.

1.8 million families with children now rent privately, up from 600,000 in 2003. The Resolution Foundation think-tank announced that up to half of the millennial generation could still be renting in their 40s – and, if home ownership growth in Britain follows the “weak pattern” of the 2000s, a third of millennials could still be renting by the time they claim their pensions.

 
Up to half of the millennial generation could still be renting in their 40s.

Families who rent have said they feel as though they’re living with constant uncertainty, not knowing when they might be told they need to leave. This means it can be difficult for parents to make plans for the future – and make big decisions, such as where their kids will go to school.

Raising a family puts a huge amount of financial pressure on parents, regardless of generation, but it’s clear that millennial parents face a greater level of job and housing uncertainty than any other generation since the Second World War.

The upshot is that parents are (understandably) cost conscious. Price and value are key considerations when looking for things to do as a family.

The percentage of young homeowners is decreasing

The percentage of young homeowners is decreasing

 

Changing Expectations: Shaping a new family experience for millennials

How to connect with the next generation of parents

Deliver Amazing Experiences

The new generation of parents are driving the experience economy - a shift in consumer spending that is revolutionising a range of industries as they adapt to provide more memorable experiences for their customers. From pop-up shops to live cinema events, if you want to attract millennials you have to make it memorable.

In the family activity sector, smart, successful organisers are delivering fun experiences parents can participate in too.

A notable trend in the last few years has been the rise of ‘bring your own baby’ family events that parents will enjoy as much as their kids. From family-friendly raves, gigs and festivals to classical music and afternoon comedy shows, organisers are recognising that kids needn’t have all the fun.

How can you shape your activity programmes to engage and inspire parents as well as children? How can you offer an experience or environment that parents will love too?

If you run an activity exclusively for little ones, think about the opportunities to create shared experiences for the parent and child. Think about introducing hands-on activities where parents can join in too, or putting on an end of term show for families to attend.

Rave-A-Roo run events where families can party in an environment that both adults and children will love. Packed with sensory toys, crafts and games for kids, parents can enjoy a drink and listen to professional DJs in a child-safe environment.

Rave-A-Roo run events where families can party in an environment that both adults and children will love. Packed with sensory toys, crafts and games for kids, parents can enjoy a drink and listen to professional DJs in a child-safe environment.

Bach to Baby (pictured), Baby Broadway and Wake Up Gigs all offer daytime concerts where children have fun and play freely while parents enjoy the entertainment.

Bach to Baby (pictured), Baby Broadway and Wake Up Gigs all offer daytime concerts where children have fun and play freely while parents enjoy the entertainment.

 

Be Unique

Just as millennials place a high value on new and learning experiences for themselves, these aspirations are passed on to their children.

From parkour classes and skateboarding lessons to coding camps and LEGO engineering, as parents expectations shift, there’s a huge opportunity for activity providers to offer new and exciting classes and workshops that break the norm.

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Zebra Skate’s summer camps offer something active – but a bit different – for kids to do over the holidays.

Zebra Skate’s summer camps offer something active – but a bit different – for kids to do over the holidays.

Run more familiar family activities? Fear not, baby and toddler groups, swimming lessons and ballet classes aren’t going to stop being popular anytime soon! But, to stand out from the crowd, activity organisers need to think about how best to present their activities.

Eye-catching activity images, engaging descriptions and imagination-capturing titles are essential. A recent Hoop study revealed that there are 1,357 different dance classes and 3,168 swimming lessons each week in London alone. To grow your business in such a competitive landscape, activity organisers need to use imagery and language that captures the imagination of an audience already inundated with information.

 

Be Authentic

Millennials are not moved by traditional advertising. They seek out authenticity and trust customer reviews and feedback. A recent poll by Hoop revealed that 80% of families said positive reviews influence purchasing decisions.

Trust in your activities will be built by social media recommendations and online reviews. Always ask your customers for reviews and feedback to share with new families, and publish customer testimonials to tell your story.

 
80% of families said positive reviews influence purchasing decisions

Social media is a great way to tell your story and communicate with your customers. According to Forbes, 62% of millennials say that they are more likely to become loyal customers if brands engage with them on social networks. Not only is it a place where millennials spend a lot of their time, it’s also a space they trust to discover new brands.

 
Organisers like Caterpillar Music Hampstead use social media to keep in touch with their customers and share stories from their classes that build loyalty with existing customers and get shared to new parents.

Organisers like Caterpillar Music Hampstead use social media to keep in touch with their customers and share stories from their classes that build loyalty with existing customers and get shared to new parents.

 
 

Make it Mobile (and super easy to book!)

Driven by convenience, a third of the UK stated that they never use cash anymore (source: PPRO Group). So it’s no wonder that 80% of parents polled by Hoop prefer to pre-book activities even when there is a drop-in option.

To avoid losing potential customers, allow families to book your activities online in advance. Millennials have a high bar when
it comes to making purchases online, expecting a checkout experience similar to top retailers regardless of what they’re booking. Hoop’s 2018 customer survey revealed that 82% of families would abandon their purchase if the booking process took longer than five minutes.

 
Zebra Skate uses Hoop’s booking links to offer a stress free, professional checkout experience for customers. Refined after 100s of hours of testing, Zebra Skate is able to benefit from a world-class booking experience tailored to their business to ensure they never lose potential customers when they come to book.

Zebra Skate uses Hoop’s booking links to offer a stress free, professional checkout experience for customers. Refined after 100s of hours of testing, Zebra Skate is able to benefit from a world-class booking experience tailored to their business to ensure they never lose potential customers when they come to book.

 

A poor checkout experience can undo all your marketing efforts and lose potential customers, impacting your business. As most millennials now shop online using their smartphone, it’s essential to ensure that you provide a booking solution for parents that works effectively on mobile phones.

 

Get Friendly with Social Media

A 2016 Event Marketing Institute report revealed that 98% of consumers create digital or social content at events and experiences. Explore creating Instagram-worthy photo opportunities – which can (and will) be shared privately with family and friends on WhatsApp and closed social groups.

If you run events, having your logo or name present in the background (on screens, posters or walls) will mean your brand will be shared alongside family photos of the event. If you run closed classes or workshops, offering branded kids shirts or hats is a simple and effective way to spread your brand.

Consider how you can incorporate social media moments into your activity or event. Ensuring you have branded banners and materials will spread your name to new families, as well as encouraging families to tag you in any photos they do choose to share publicly.

 
98% of consumers create digital or social content at events and experiences
 
Perform are an example of an organiser who distribute branded t-shirts to their customers.

Perform are an example of an organiser who distribute branded t-shirts to their customers.

 
 

The Future of Family Fun

There’s a huge opportunity for activity providers of all shapes and sizes to connect with a new generation of parents that value spending time with their children out of the home. Millennial parents are willing to invest more money than ever before in offering their children entertaining, educational and inspiring experiences that mirror their own aspirations for a life full of fun, learning experiences.

 
This is a generation shaped by technology
 

Hoop is the UK’s #1 place to discover and book family activities. Loved by 1,000,000+ families and relied on by over 10,000 leading activity providers nationwide, we’re your most powerful marketing tool. Sign in to Hoop for Organisers here or create your free account today.