8 Lessons in Strategic Marketing, A La ‘Daddy Daycare’ by Bobette Kyle

I’ll bet you thought “Daddy Daycare” was a kid’s comedy, right? Wrong. It’s a marketing strategy film! When Charlie and his friend Phil are fired as Product Development/Brand Managers for a cereal company, they decide to fill a need in their community.

Along the way to success they demonstrate several solid marketing strategies – equally applicable to online, offline, and integrated companies. Take these lessons to heart when developing plans for your business.

Lesson 1: Research the competition

Competitor research does not have to be thought of as “guerrilla warfare”. In many industries, competitors work together by partnering, cross promoting, sending business to each other, or even manufacturing each other’s products.

Lesson 2: Know your customers’ values

Charlie and Phil understood that price is not the only important factor for their target market. Based on their own experience and customer research (talking to other parents), they recognized that other concerns besides price played a part when parents choose a daycare provider.

While price is almost certainly a consideration for your customers, don’t get caught in the mentality that customers will buy from you only if you have the lowest cost. If you think of your own service/product as a bundle of attributes having a unique value for your customers, you will be more successful.

Lesson 3: Identify opportunities

Charlie and Phil uncovered an unmet need in the market by combining their competitor research and knowledge of customer values. You can do the same when looking to develop new products/services or improve existing ones.

Lesson 4: Develop a positioning based on opportunity

Using knowledge from the first three lessons, they positioned themselves as the quality alternative and focused on providing different benefits than their nearest competitor. In the movie, Daddy Daycare stole all the competitor’s customers and drove her out of business.

In real life, customers choose a product/service that best fits their needs. Consequently, competitors can co-exist when each are valuable in different ways to industry customers.

Lesson 5: Create a catchy tag line

The tag line “Who’s your Daddy?” helped advertise the new business. Often, a concise, catchy tag line can go a long way in building brand equity, communicating benefits and features, and/or conveying a feeling/mentality your target customers can relate to.

Some examples:

  • “Just do it.” (Nike)
  • “Life Unscripted” (TLC)
  • “Naturally sweetened whole grain oat cereal with real berries.” (Berry Burst Cheerios)
  • “Makes anything possible.” (Craftsman)

Lesson 6: Spread the Word

Phil and Charlie put their tag line on t-shirts along with their business name. They also printed and distributed flyers that explained their new company’s positioning.

A few more ideas you can use to spread the word about your business:

  • Word of mouth – give customers an incentive to tell people about your business.
  • Advertising – use both online and offline methods. Online options include pay-per-click search engines and ezine advertisements. Offline methods include radio spots and newspaper advertisements.
  • Philanthropy – donate money, services, and/or time to non-profit organizations or conduct your own event.

Lesson 7: Be ethical and above-board

The new business owners cooperated fully with the daycare inspector. They treated him as a source of information rather than “Big Brother”. This resulted in not only a better business, but also a valuable ally. In the long run, your own company will be more likely to thrive if you concentrate on improving the business rather than dodging regulations.

Lesson 7A: Subterfuge is a poor long-term strategy

Besides being unethical, subterfuge soils your reputation. In the movie, the competing daycare crashed and ruined a fundraiser event…spilling bugs, freeing animals, and drenching visitors. Short-term, it worked. Phil and Charlie were broke, seemingly with no way to continue with their venture.

In the long run, Ms. Subterfuge had such a poor reputation (from this and other business tactics), her business failed.

Lesson 8: Implement until you’re blue in the face

In the beginning, the new Daddy Daycare was a complete disaster. Charlie and Phil did their “homework” and knew they had a good idea. When reality hit theory, however, a few not-so-minor details got in the way. Like all successful marketers, they worked out the kinks (okay‚Ķdisasters) and kept trying (and trying, and trying) until they got it right.

Keep the Daddy Daycare lessons in mind when developing and implementing your own marketing plan. Don’t give up, strive to continually improve, and you’re business is sure to be a success.



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