8 Lessons in Strategic Marketing Like ‘Daddy Daycare’

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

On the road to success, they demonstrate several solid marketing strategies – equally applicable to online, offline, and integrated businesses. Take these lessons to heart as you develop plans for your business.

Lesson 1: Research the competition

The budding entrepreneurs visited every day-care center in the area. They got a feel for their daycare competition. If you know your own competitors, you’ll be better able to figure out an effective way to compete.

Competitive research does not have to be viewed as “guerrilla warfare”. In many industries, competitors collaborate by forming partnerships, cross-promoting, sending each other business, or even manufacturing each other’s products.

Lesson 2: Know your customers’ values

Charlie and Phil understand that price is not the only important factor for their target market. From their own experience and customer research (conversations with other parents), they have recognized that other aspects play a role in addition to the price when parents decide on a daycare provider.

While price is almost certainly an issue for your customers, don’t fall into the mentality that customers will only buy from you if you have the lowest cost. If you view your own service/product as a set of attributes that have unique value to your customers, you will be more successful.

Lesson 3: Identify opportunities

Charlie and Phil discovered an unmet need in the market by combining their competitive research and knowledge of customer values. You can do the same if you want to develop new products/services or improve existing ones.

Lesson 4: Develop opportunity-based positioning

With the knowledge from the first three lessons, they positioned themselves as a quality alternative and focused on offering different advantages than their closest competitor. In the film, Daddy Daycare stole all of the competitor’s customers and put her out of business.

In real life, customers choose a product/service that best suits their needs. Consequently, competitors can coexist if each is valuable to industry customers in different ways.

Lesson 5: Create a catchy slogan

The slogan “Who’s your daddy?” helped promote the new business. Often a concise, catchy tagline can go a long way in building brand equity, communicating benefits and features, and/or instilling a feeling/mentality that your target customers can relate to.

Some examples:

“Just do it.” (Nike)

“Life Without a Script” (TLC)

“Naturally sweetened whole grain oatmeal with real berries.” (Berry Burst Cheerios)

“Makes everything possible.” (Handyman)

Lesson 6: Spread the word

Phil and Charlie put their slogan on t-shirts along with their company name. They also printed and distributed flyers explaining the positioning of their new company.

A few more ideas to help promote your business:

Word of mouth – give customers an incentive to tell others about your business.

Promotion – Use both online and offline methods. Online options include pay-per-click search engines and ezine ads. Offline methods include radio spots and newspaper ads.

Philanthropy – Donate money, services, and/or time to charitable organizations or host your own event.

Lesson 7: Be ethical and correct

The new business owners cooperated fully with the daycare inspector. They treated him as a source of information rather than “Big Brother”. The result was not only a better deal, but a valuable ally. In the long run, your own business is more likely to thrive if you focus on improving the business rather than circumventing regulations.

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

Aside from being unethical, subterfuges tarnish your reputation. In the film, the competing daycare crashed and ruined a fundraiser…spilling bugs, rescuing animals and drenching visitors. It worked for a short time. Phil and Charlie were broke and apparently had no way of continuing their business.

In the long run, Ms. Subterfuge had such a bad reputation (from this and other business tactics) that 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. However, when reality met theory, a few not-so-minor details got in the way. Like all successful marketers, they worked out the kinks (okay…disasters) and kept trying (and trying and trying) until they got it right.

As you develop and implement your own marketing plan, keep the Daddy Daycare lessons in mind. Don’t give up, strive to continuously improve and your business will surely be a success.