The Forgotten Demographic: Single Parents.
With one in four parents in the UK being single; do we really understand the 2.8 million lone parents in the UK?
Whilst this huge group of people are more accepted in society generally, it's clear from my research that brands could show more insight and empathy to win the hearts of this demographic. After all; how often do we see marketing communications geared up to resonate with this important part of the population?
Here are my top seven insights into the emotional and lifestyle factors of the single parent:
1. They have to play every role
From protector and provider, to nurse and nurturer. 100% responsibility of 100% of the responsibilities.
2. They don't have anyone to celebrate with or offload to at the end of the day
Single parents can long for a sense of teamwork and support.
3. They have greater time pressures
Time pressures are familiar to nearly everyone but single parents can feel pulled in even more directions. They can experience judgement from society such as school committees because they don't have as much time to donate as some other parents which leads on to...
4. They can long for a greater sense of community
Feeling understood and supported can be a particularly great desire for single parents.
5. It can be financially tough
Covering the bills and having a nice lifestyle is work for everyone - for single parents it can be a real struggle.
6. There's no respite
Parenting is tiring and if they're extremely ill or exhausted there's no one to help take care of little ones - or them.
7. It can be inconvenient and feel like a trap
There's no one to stay with the children when they want to pop out to the gym on a Saturday morning, or to fetch something from the supermarket when the kids are sleeping. Like every parent they sacrifice for their children and know it's worthwhile - but that doesn't mean that they wouldn't appreciate a helping hand sometimes.
So what can we do, as marketers, to support our single parents?
I don't recommend sympathy as that can be belittling, plus many single parents are very happy. However, being a huge supporter of uplifting everyone; I do believe that we can do more to uplift single parents even if that's just through acknowledgement, comradery and occasionally a dose of empathy. And that can be done in a really fun, playful way.
This can also translate into your company operations. One example; supermarkets could offer a single parent loyalty card that gives points on lower spends.
Essentially there's a huge opportunity for brands to resonate with single parents through the brand awareness, purchase and loyalty path. If it's done genuinely and with respect, it's likely to be deeply appreciated.