Why Online Marketing Is a Lot Like Parenting

by Ajeet Khurana

From the moment a child becomes old enough to assert independence, parents find ingenious ways to encourage them to do various things. When they are very small, simply encouraging them to put their toys away is about as far as it gets. However, as they get older, the list lengthens to homework, chores, and even encouraging them to find employment.

Some might even say that the techniques employed by online marketers to advertise their products and services are similar to those used by some parents to encourage their children to complete tasks.

The main aim of an online marketing professional is to convince the public that a product or service is the right one for them. They need to tap into the mindset of the target audience, and work out what it is that they want. It is important to find marketing techniques that appeal to potential customers, and this takes careful planning and consideration of what these target groups really want.

And it’s a very similar story with children. Right since the time they are very young, and only just starting to get to grips with instructions — to take off their shoes, pick up their toys, wash their hands etc — we, as parents, find ways to appeal to their wants and needs in order to get them to complete these tasks and learn new skills. For example, a toddler who is reluctant to wear a raincoat could be convinced to do so by the parent generating excitement about how much fun it will be to go outside and splash in the puddles.

As kids grow up, and start school, they will have more responsibility in the form of homework. Most kids really enjoy homework at first, but when the novelty wears off it can be difficult to motivate them to get the job done. The same goes for chores; young children often really enjoy helping mum and dad with the housework, but as they get older they want to spend their time having fun with their friends or doing things that interest them, rather than vacuuming or laundry.

Only marketers often employ ways of ‘rewarding’ the potential customer for showing an interest in a product or service, and this is a technique used by many parents all over the world. A parent may reward their child for chores completed by giving them a weekly allowance, and good grades at school may be rewarded by days out or a gift.

So, as you can see, there are many similarities between the skills used by parents and those used by marketers. Parenting skills are something you cannot be trained in, and marketers could learn a lot about appealing to their target audience through observing parents interacting with their children.

The author of this article, Ajeet Khurana, is a twice-published book author with McGraw-Hill. He is the founder of Raise Them, a blog that covers topics ranging from planning parenthood to diapers.