BY TOBY BROWN, HEAD OF CONTENT
My media consumption and search habits are about to change.
As is my entire life.
With a baby on the way (July, thanks for asking, no, I don’t know the gender yet, yes I am aware I should be stockpiling sleep and opiates), I’m going to change into a very different type of consumer.
My idle searches of “Best trainers for men approaching 40” and “What’s the point?” will soon become “Why won’t this thing stop crying?” and “How do I get my wife’s attention back?”
My behaviours and needs will alter overnight – and I wonder how long it will be before brands catch up with me.
Some are way ahead – a major high street retailer that cares for mothers has started to email me, seemingly out of the blue, making me wonder if I’ve accidently had a drunken digital shopping spree there (I’m waiting for 500 tiny The Rock for President onesies to come crashing through my door any minute now). It doesn’t seem to know I’m soon to be the opposite of a mother, but it’s better than nothing.
Still, at this stage in my journey, I can’t help but wonder, which brands will be there to support me?
Who will be providing me with the content I need, at the precise time I need it?
When I’m Googling through the bleary gaps where my eyes used to be at 3am looking for advice, or when I’m searching for motivation to drag my sorry self to the gym after work?
Male grooming, sports, technology, even automotive brands - how fresh is your data on me? Have you mapped out my life stage already? Did you know I was going to be a father before I did?
I’ve been researching baby stuff. I’ve been buying baby products. I’ve been trying to scrabble together to buy the personal stuff I’ll never be able to afford again.
My data tells a story, if you can connect the dots.
Yet no-one has twigged.
No brands have started to position themselves as an essential ally for new fathers (apart from the store that cares about mothers).
No-one is following me around the internet, sneaking how-to guides for the first few months of fatherhood in front of me. I haven’t had any targeted native articles pop up on my favourite websites. My inbox is still an endless well of uselessness.
Maybe it’s due to the delicate nature of the situation, and no brands are prepared to take the risk of offending me on the off-chance things don’t go to plan.
It brings to mind the infamous Target story, where based on purchase data Target realised a regular customer was pregnant before she did – a situation exacerbated when her dad opened her post and found a range of generous baby product and nappy offers from Walmart.
However, as a consumer, I am looking for the brands who will be there to support me in this next, exciting stage of my life.
Because if you use my data to pre-empt what I need and put authentic, helpful, human content in front of me, the chances are I’ll be incredibly grateful to you.
For the next 18 years or so.