28 June 2018



Like parents of previous generations but busier, savvier and allergic to bull****.


We wanted to know how marketeers can connect with these parents in a genuine way. So we hosted a panel, chaired by our very own Rob Forshaw, to understand how some of the fastest growing brands in this sector are doing just that.


Watch the film here to see what the founders & marketers behind brands MUSH the mums match making app, Tech Will Save Us the toy-tech brand, Piccolo baby foods and Micralite push prams had to say.





The word ‘millennial’ is being bandied about more than any other in marketing circles, as the world’s biggest and most powerful consumer group moves into its prime spending years. Born between 1981 and 1996, many in this sector are now becoming parents, too.


It was with this in mind that creative agency isobel decided to make How Marketers Connect with Millennial Parents the subject of its firstever Breakfast Panel.


On the panel, which was chaired by isobel non-exec director Rob Forshaw, were Katie Massie-Taylor, co-founder of mums’ meet-up app Mush; Sadhbh Doherty, product manager at kids’ toy company Tech Will Save Us; Clemmie Turner, PR and comms manager at baby-food group Piccolo; and Sam Donnelly, brand marketing manager at baby-stroller manufacturer Micralite.




What all the businesses represented had in common was that the founders and target consumers were one and the same. They’d all spotted a gap in the market that was crying out to be filled because it was something they needed.


Massie-Taylor said that she and co-founder Sarah Hesz were both young mums experiencing the sense of isolation that comes from being at home all day with a baby, so they decided to create an app that would help local women in the same boat to connect.


According to Turner, Italian-raised Piccolo founder, Cat Gazzoli, simply couldn’t find the kind of seasonal, home-grown food that she wanted to give her daughter, so she decided to create a range that would set her up for a healthy future.


Doherty explained that self-confessed geek and Tech Will Save Us founder, Bethany Koby, wanted to help people better understand technology after seeing too many potentially repairable laptops and gadgets discarded.


And Micralite strollers were ‘thoughtfully engineered’ by two new dads, David Crisp and David Cocks, who wanted to combine the robust build of off-road buggies with the convenience of lightweight city models. Inevitably, though, founders will grow out of their target demographic; they’ll stop fitting the profile. To get around that, said Micralite’s Sam Donnelly, you should “always work with people who ‘get it’. Someone who is your audience.”




We’re constantly being told that millennials crave individuality, that they’re looking for something that fits their needs specifically. And more than any generation before them, they care about preserving a sense of self as they face parenthood. Donnelly also pointed out that becoming a mum or dad doesn’t mean millennials are going to stop going to clubs and festivals so, if you’re marketing to this demo, never lose sight of the fact that ‘parent’ is just one part of their identity.


Micralite tapped into this by setting up at festivals various, lending out strollers to parents so they were spared the hassle of bringing theirs with them.




Being honest and admitting when you’ve made a mistake is crucial if you’re going to appeal to this authenticity-obsessed group. In fact, transparency can work in your favour – showing a little vulnerability and being seen to respond to feedback adds to a sense of credibility.


Mush’s Massie-Taylor said that one of their most clicked-on messages had the subject line “Oops!”


All the panellists agreed that taking feedback on board was key. Millennials want to be treated more like brand partners than a target audience. They want to be included in the creation process of the brand journey, from conception to the moment they log in and sign up or make a purchase. The more engagement points there are throughout this process, the more your consumers will participate and interact with your brand.


Piccolo’s Clemmie Turner said that rather than relying on data and research, get out an about and talk to real people.


“We go to supermarkets and talk to mums and dads: ‘Why are you buying that brand of baby food? What do you like about it?’ Nothing can replace real contact.”


Clemmie Turner, PR & Comms Manager, Piccolo Foods.




“If your target consumer is used to using their mobile phone to shop for clothes on ASOS before they become a parent, why would they want to revert to pre-digi methods afterwards?” asked Micralite’s Sam Donnelly. “Parenthood doesn’t make you a different person – it won’t want to make you go to an actual shop!”


Samantha Donnelly, Brand Marketing Manager, Micralite.


As Massie-Taylor pointed out, “This is a generation with an app for everything, but the parenting realm was behind the curve, so we helped bring on parent-tech as a concept.”


Katie Massie-Taylor, Co-founder, Mush.


There is no rulebook for parenting, and millennial parents are open to guidance. In other words, they get by with a little help from their friends. And that includes brands. To that end, Tech Will Save Us provides online tutorials for its kits: “It also means parents can stay one step ahead of their kids and look like they know what they’re talking about!” said Doherty.


Sadhbh Doherty, Product Manager, Tech Will Save Us.




However you go about promoting your wares – posters, kits, flyers, online marketing campaigns, whatever – never pay influencers. That gig is up – if millennials do one thing more than most, it’s call out the fakers.


In summary, the mum-and-dad economy has changed forever now that these digital natives are all grown up. And marketers that don’t recognise this multi-faceted, multidimensional group for what it is – and go on the journey with them – will find themselves sitting on the side lines before too long.


Watch the whole Breakfast Panel here.