If your products and services have anything to do with kids or families, listen up. If you’re marketing to parents—especially the 83 million moms in the U.S.—word is now that you’re probably still missing a very important segment: PANKS®, or “Professional Aunts No Kids.”
So says a study by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, a full-service research firm. “Digital Women Influencers,” is a survey conducted this past summer of 2,000 women in the United States and Canada. The study included a variety of segments including PANKS. Melanie Notkin, founder of the lifestyle brand Savvy Auntie (savvy auntie), is credited with uncovering the PANK segment and coining the term.
As the term suggests, PANKs are women who don’t have children of their own but have special bonds with the children in their lives. Aunts are the obvious ones, but they can also be other influencers like godmothers, cousins, neighbors or friends of the parents. The Weber Shandwick-Savvy Auntie-KRC Research study confirms that PANKS are a highly desirable marketing target because they are so influential in the lives of kids—and their parents—and also because they are so digitally connected. In fact, PANKS are referred to as a “perfect marketing trifecta” because they have time, income and a passion of buying the best.
Think about it. You probably know some PANKS. Chances are, they fit this profile. As a small business owner, if you’re not somehow targeting them in your marketing approach(es), consider how important they are:
- There are an estimated 23 million PANKs in North America.
- PANKS spend $9 billion annually on kids!
- PANKs average 189 social network connections—more than the typical woman.
- 64 percent say they enjoy being a PANK.
- 34 percent say they will probably help pay for a child’s education.
The study highlighted 14 key principles in understanding the PANK segment. Here are just a few basic ones:
- The PANK segment is huge: One in five women (19 percent to be exact) is a PANK.
- PANKs spend money on kids and assist kids’ parents financially. PANKS generally reported spending nearly $400 on kids over the past year, but three-quarters spent over $500. PANKS often supplement what the kids’ parents provide and even help out parents directly to be better able to provide for their kids.
- PANKS share a lot of information. They are exceptionally good at sharing information about clothing, vacation/travel, websites/social network sites and products for digital devices. But they also index higher than traditional moms in areas such as groceries/food and beverages, home appliances and decorating.
- PANKs are connected and into online media. They consistently consumer more online media than average and spend a little more time every week using social networks (over 13 hours a week).
So how do you go about reaching PANKs and to be sure you’re including them in the customer segments you target?
- Acknowledge them.
- Don’t stereotype. Popular knowledge says that single professional women aren’t domestic and focus on their careers. Not true, according to the study.
- Reach out to PANKs online. Digital is the way to go, since PANKs spend a lot of time on social media, reading online reviews and watching YouTube, connecting with friends and reading blogs.
- It’s OK to refer to their relationship with kids. PANKs aren’t ashamed or offended by their unique position; instead they’re proud of it.
- They do cross over with moms. Moms aren’t the only ones who buy food or household products. PANKs do, too. But connecting with them effectively requires a different sensibility, tailored uniquely to this unique group.
Read more about PANK power here: PANK power.