As Teri and I wrote about in Tuning into Mom: Understanding America’s Most Powerful Consumers, the child’s extracurricular activities are a powerful influence on the family lifestyle, both for moms and dads. As my friend Craig said to me on the sidelines of our sons’ flag football game a few years ago, “I feel like all I do on the weekends is drive my kids from one activity to the next.”
In fact, the Marketing to Moms Coalition research found that 78% of moms with children under 18 at home spend time each week regularly attending their child’s extracurricular activities, or, XTraC’s. We also found that full-time working moms are the most to spend time attending their child’s XTraC’s.
You can see the leading extracurricular, by far, is sports. Fully 49% of moms with children under 18 report that their child participates in sports, and this number rises to 60% among moms of children ages 7-12. More and more moms are coaching (Coach Mom), along with dads (Coach Dad), and both parents play an active role in their child’s team support and sponsorship.
Craig’s sidelines experience is shared by millions of families, giving rise to the sports family lifestyle in the elementary and middle school years. This intense involvement means there are many opportunities for brands to connect with Mom (and Dad) around their child’s sports participation, regardless of whether the brand itself is a sports brand. Our family is still the proud owner of the Hecky’s Barbecue bag that had pictures of each baseball team in the local league that our son played for. The bag (with our child’s picture) is a keepsake, and a great reminder for us to pick dinner up from Hecky’s.
Beyond sports, there are other opportunities to connect with Mom around her child’s activities. Most frequent areas are music (music participation peaks in the teen years at 29%), dance (overall 15%), visual arts (15%), and theatre (7%). For example, last year we explored how 4-H families represent a hidden market opportunity for brands.
From the teen perspective, we recently had the chance to talk with a group of teens, and found that they were averaging 1-2 hours per day at XTraC’s, and that it was much appreciated when Mom provided a snack for them and their group.
To capture Mom and Dad’s attention while they are engaged with their child’s XTraC’s, I recommend that brands talk with moms and dads about their children’s extracurricular activities—what those activities are, what kinds of involvement the parents have and where parents and children spend their time. This research will help brands learn what kinds of marketing activities would be appreciated and to identify areas for marketing and branding support and alignment.