You want to introduce a baby diaper bag made just for dad to carry. Before you explore the most desirable features and the optimal price point, you need to find out who would consider buying one.
Too many times marketers and product designers jump to focus groups to determine whether the diaper bag should come in camo and be sold at sporting goods outlets. Figuring out who to invite to the focus groups reflects the greater challenge — finding your potentially elusive target audience.
A diaper bag with manly design features presupposes this is the second diaper bag of the household. It is unlikely mom will want to cart around a diaper bag festooned with fly-fishing or race-car imagery. That suggests the diaper-bag-for-him is a luxury item, which may only be affordable to people with a fair amount of disposable income.
Daddy pride in junior may be a strong reason to contemplate a manly diaper bag, but what kind of dads would actually spend money to express their parental pride in the color and design of a diaper bag?
Gathering a roomful of dads, fueled by sandwiches, soda pop and a $75 stipend, can produce an interesting, perhaps even fascinating, set of data points about diaper bags. However, it is doubtful a focus group will give you the most fundamental piece of information you need — who is the most likely audience for a diaper bag made for dad?
A telephone survey isn't really any better at solving this riddle. It will take creativity and leg work to figure out where to look.
Here are some ideas:
• Look online to see if your product idea is already on the market. It so happens a company called Diaper Dude (“The dude you can trust") is offering a range of bags aimed at dads. There is a collection of diaper bags with baseball team logos, bags with dragons and skulls, a backpack with room for diapers and a laptop and a front-mounted baby carrier with matching diaper bag. The competition may be a bummer, but read the reviews to see what people like and, more important, who and how the bags are bought. From reading the Diaper Dude reviews, you would conclude that the real purchasers of manly diaper bags are women, who want their husbands to feel comfortable carrying around a binky and baby wipes.
• Talk to friendly clerks at baby stores who can share stories about the diaper bag search by parents. What do they look for? Who is actually doing the looking and buying? While you are there, poke around to see what kind of diaper bags are displayed and whether any are marketed specifically to men.
• Search for alternatives to the made-for-him-diaper bag. DadGear offers what it calls the Diaper Vest, which sports a lot of pockets to "secretly carry the same baby care essentials that a diaper bag does," but with a much cooler look. The posted reviews for the Diaper Vest are positive and suggest the buyers are spouses, grandparents and co-workers. One male purchaser liked Diaper Vest so much that he repurposed it as a wear-on for airplane trips to carry his iPod, cell phone, bottles of water, maps and magazines.
• Visit places where dads take their kids, such as play parks and zoos, and talk to dads tending their babies or toddlers. Maybe you also should talk to their wives.
As these simple examples show, conducting a focus group with dads may give you useful information, but interacting with moms sensitive about their hubbies' appearances in public may be more valuable in finding out whether you have a product to pursue and where and how to pursue it. Dads seem to like diaper bags made just for them, but women most often buy the bags their husbands proudly carry.