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Millennials are often said to have differing views, wants, and needs compared with the generations that came before them. Brands, in turn, often must pivot from what has worked in the past to effectively market to them. As more Millennials become parents, their unique perspectives come into play when choosing things, such as after school activities, for their children. So how does an organization uncover the views of Millennial parents in order to best market to them and their children?

Our client, a development agency for a national youth sports non-profit, needed to better understand Millennial parents' views of youth sports (both generally and regarding their sport in particular) to develop more effective and engaging marketing materials to encourage children under 10 to try their sport. 

We utilized in-person focus groups in several markets and among several segments of Millennial parents to uncover these beliefs and attitudes. With this information, we developed several strategies to help our client better market their sport to Millennial parents and their children.

Problem

A national youth sports development agency proactively worked to drive growth among entry-level players (defined as children 8 years of age and younger) in a specific youth sport; however, their efforts were proving less successful over time as their pool of prospective players shifted to those with Millennial parents - who are demographically and psychographically different from prospects a decade ago. 

The client approached C+R Research for help to better understand the attitudes and beliefs of Millennial parents to youth sports - both in general and to their specific sport. With this information, our client hoped to develop core branding positioning and messaging for the youth sport that would be relevant and appealing to Millennial parents. 

Result

As a result of our research, our client gleaned several "truths" regarding Millennial parents and youth sports, including the importance of trial and error to help children find sports they love. They also learned how Millennial parents view their sport, and the differences in these views between “insiders” (those who had played the sport before) and “outsiders” (those who had never played the sport). 

Along with these basic truths, our client received suggestions to deploy to help make their sport both more engaging and more accessible to children and their Millennial parents.

Our client took these insights and was able to develop messaging strategies that addressed these Millennial parents’ barriers to having their child join the sport, as well as reinforcing the benefits that their child would reap as a participant. 

Solution

To answer our client's questions, C+R utilized in-person focus groups. Specifically, we conducted a total of 12 focus groups in four markets across the United States (3 groups per market). The markets were representative both of geographic region (with one market each in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and West) and of areas in which the youth sport under investigation was played (though it was more popular in some regions than in others). Each focus group lasted two hours. 

Within each market, the groups were divided by parents with children currently playing our client's sport or who used to play the sport ("insiders", both current and lapsed) and parents with children who had never played the sport ("outsiders"). 

In total, we spoke with over 80 Millennial parents (at that time aged 23-39 years old). All had children between 5 and 10 years of age who participated in youth sports; the parents represented a mix of boys and girls. The gender of the participants was split among males and females, with slightly more females participating. Fifty parents were current or lapsed sport insiders; the remainder were outsiders.

Upon completion of all focus groups, thematic analysis was employed to answer our client's research questions and provide actionable insights.

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