Alisha Snow Transcript      Listen Here

Mark: Welcome to Family First. The Wild World of Marketing to Parents. My name is Mark Giovino CEO and founder at the Allionce Group.

I’d like to welcome Alisha Snow to this episode of Family First. Alisha is an Executive Vice President at Smarty Pants, a custom research and strategic consulting firm. Alisha leads research initiatives for a diverse set of Smarty Pants clients, including Target, Lego, CVS Health, and PBS Kids, among others.

Prior to joining Smarty Pants, Alisha designed and facilitated global research initiatives for Hasbro. While at Hasbro, she managed their fun lab observing kids and parents at play as they evaluated everything from Candyland to Nerf blasters. Over her career, she has logged close to 10,000 hours of focus group interview and ethnographic research with three to 17 year olds and their parents.

Alisha’s depth of experience with youth research has positioned her as an expert in the media. She’s been featured on 60 Minutes and Frontline and in articles in publications like The Boston Globe and Advertising Age.  Alisha, thank you so much for joining me!

“Parents and kids have access to so many different forms of community and sources of information and entertainment that can be as narrow and niche as they want them to be”

Alisha: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here and to chat with you today.

Mark: Let’s start with family first, tell us about your family. How many kids, and what are their ages and maybe some of their activities they enjoy?

Alisha: Okay, so I could talk about my husband and my sons for this entire podcast, so feel free to cut me off if you need to. So my family includes my husband and my three sons who are in 10th, eighth, and fourth grades.

That puts them at 15, 13, and 10. So right now we have one in each level of school, an elementary school student, middle school student, and high school student, which brings a lot of busyness with it. My kids are really passionate about their interests. My oldest and youngest play football, basketball, and lacrosse.

My eighth grader runs track and does crew at a local rowing club. And then beyond sports, my younger boys play piano and my eighth grader also plays saxophone and does Boy Scouts. So we’re constantly on the go. My husband is a high school administrator and he coaches three seasons of sports for our kids.

So he really squeezes more into a day than I think most people accomplish in a week. He is quite amazing and I’m really grateful every day that he’s my partner. In parenting and in just our life adventures. So we get really excited about our boys activities and we value our family time when we’re all together. As you can imagine, it’s hard to figure out how to do things like eating together, but we do try to keep a pretty strict rule about all five of us eating together every day. And so sometimes that means we eat at nine o’clock at night or five o’clock at night. But we really cherish that time to just be together, unwind, tell each other’s stories, usually laugh a bit. And that’s an important value for us.

Mark: Well, with all those activities, how has parenthood influenced your perspective as a researcher or marketer over the years, and that likely may be different today given how many activities compared to when they were much younger. But I’m curious to know how being a mom and being a parent has influenced your professional career?

“The current generation of parents really thinks beyond what can this product do for me? And is more influenced by what does this brand stand for”

Alisha: You know, so that’s such a great question. In some ways, I feel like being a researcher has impacted how I parent as well. But I will start with the reverse, which is how being a mom impacts research. I feel like, being really aware that my personal experiences and the attitudes that my kids have and I have really can’t be used as a proxy for all kids or families.

So it’s a bit of a pet peeve for me when I’m sitting in a boardroom and there’s executives feeling and talking about how their family experience extends to an entire population. And then my job as a consultant is to ground us in understanding the differences of how many different family compositions there are and needs that different families have.

So I’m gonna just start and say that as a bit of a disclaimer is that I really try not to use my personal life to guide insights. Because what my children think and feel doesn’t necessarily mean that a whole universe of children think and feel that way. But there are moments of inspiration and curiosity that really have arisen from my family’s experiences.

And those are moments where I say things like, wow, if I weren’t a parent or mom experiencing this right now,  I don’t think I would really get this.  And so examples would be just how much is packed and every single morning.  Especially when the boys were younger, getting them out the door, starting their day right, which included things like, you know, tying six shoes, but also maybe having a parade or racing hot wheels before school.

And that really led me to encouraging clients to have that firsthand observation of exactly what moms and dads have to do to start their day, which impacts their media choices, their food choices for their family, it certainly impacts apparel and how you can problem solve for them in easier ways as they’re just trying to get kids out the door.

So the power of observation became even more important once I saw as a parent all the things that I kind of felt like I was thinking, I wish somebody was here to see this in action. This is really amazing. Or look how much I’ve accomplished. So that would be an example. Another example is, how kids as they play, integrate all of the different brands and properties in their world. So, although, a marketer would like to think that kids have these very deep brand experiences only with their toy, the truth is that kids are using their magnet tiles alongside their imaginex sets, alongside their Paw Patrol figures, and then they’re using Lego bricks and building to make a whole world around that.

And I think as a parent, seeing all the time how my kids’ imaginations were kind of connecting all of these properties was another moment of inspiration of, wow, we really need to dig deeper as marketers and allow the construct of our research programs to not isolate brands and to really see how these ecosystems are at play, from kind of a family life perspective.

And then the last thing I’ll say for this one is that understanding the huge gap between aspirational parenting and the reality of parenting is so important as a researcher. So you know, you have the dynamic of when you ask parents, well, what do you feed your child? Or what does your day look like?

They’ll say things like, my kids snack on apples after school and we sit and play board games together. But then when you actually watch a family in action, you can see, and myself included, that the kids are having a fluffer nutter sandwich for dinner and they’re glued to a screen for three hours because the parents are busy doing 10 other things.

And that’s really impacted the advice that I provide to our clients about more behavioral approaches, as well as giving parents permission to talk about both their idealistic and aspirational sense of self, as well as those kind of dirty little parenting secrets of how things actually play out in their lives.

Mark: I have to imagine that’s incredible insight for your clients from a pure data perspective. I imagine there are specific things you do to be able to glean that information from parents to give them more comfort in sharing the dirty little sequences you say. Are there specific things and approaches you take to try to get those more real insights? The real self that comes forward versus the aspirational?

Alisha: Absolutely. So qualitatively, when we think about the world of custom qualitative research,  Smarty Pants has a method that we call Family 40 Eights, which was developed for exactly this reason, which is if you conduct an ethnographic interview, if you’re in homes, observing families and asking some questions, and you’re there for two or three hours, you’re going to see a clean house, with children eating healthy food, and you’re gonna see all of that aspirational behavior at play. The idealistic behavior at play, if you stick around for two full days, which is where the 48 comes from, it’s 48 hours, then all of a sudden you get to see the mess pour out of their closets.

You get to see the natural snacking behaviors of kids. You get to see some of the family arguments and tension points. It’s really hard for families to kind of keep up the guest in our house behaviors that tend to be more aspirational for a full two days. So that is a qualitatively one way that we approach that.

Quantitatively, there are a lot of different behavioral and implicit research tools we do around how parents and children make decisions that allow us to get to those moments of truth in a more measurable data-driven way.  And that’s in addition to just asking the question of, okay, what is that aspirational moment?

So what is it that you’re striving for? And then just what’s the reality? And pushing parents to talk about the reality in a way that they know is anonymous and not tied to who they are is oftentimes enough permission to the, for them to get really honest  in disclosing what their actual behaviors are.

“A big trend would be just the shift in how families shop to be a more fluid and ongoing process, rather than a singular point in time”

Mark: Yeah, that’s so interesting. I have to imagine that as you start working with some of your brand clients, that’s an incredibly powerful insight that’s so core to what you do, but a lot of the brands may not be familiar with that approach and getting the real data, both the qualitative and quantitative are important for sure.

Alisha: Yeah, absolutely. It’s essential in uncovering those truths. And sometimes validating our client’s beliefs cuz they’re generally very smart and informed marketers and people. But oftentimes providing a different angle to it in terms of thinking about what people want to be versus what actually happens in their daily lives.

Mark: Can you tell us more about Smarty Pants and your work? I think the last couple minutes you’ve certainly addressed a lot of what you do, but maybe if we zoom back out a bit, for those, listening that may not be familiar with your work, how would you describe what you do and how you do it?

Alisha: Absolutely. So Smarty Pants is a custom insights consultancy that started almost 20 years ago as a research agency that specialized in conducting qualitative and quantitative initiatives with kids and their adults. And so when the company began and was founded by Wynn Tyree and Ruiz Rodriguez, they realized that there was a gap in research companies that specialized in conducting research effectively with with kids and tweens and teens and young adults, and they developed approaches and guidelines for doing so effectively. And so over the years, Smarty Pants horizons have broadened. We do research now across all life stages, but we’ve kept our youth and family specialty as well. Key competency as well as the foundational guidelines that we developed as a youth marketing firm.

So conducting research with kids, you have to do it in kind of a specialized way. And the key values that we developed apply to all life stages. So for example, we develop methods that are really in tune with who we’re trying to understand their abilities, how to best reach them, how to engage with them.

Things like when you ask a five year old to talk about what their favorite idea is, knowing that they can’t really compare more than three items at a time. You know, so limiting what you’re asking them to, to those three items. All the way now to, when we’re conducting research with more mature audiences, so 70 year old retirees, making sure that as we facilitate the research with them, we are keeping in mind needs they have related to vision and the size of font or building in a lot of breaks for mobility or using the restroom.

So those are very tactical examples, but when our team approaches a research need, we really think through. Who are we talking to? How do we reach them and how do we design according to that target? And so with that in mind, we also specialize in highly sensitive topics. So mental health with kids, fertility for families, kids with limited ability, helping caregivers who are working with a loved one who has a terminal illness.

And so the research we do has a high degree of emotionality, so really thinking about who it is that we are conducting our research with as we design methods has also allowed us to specialize in researching highly sensitive subjects.

And so if you take these topics that are highly emotive or highly sensitive or are really tuned into where a consumer is and their point of development and life stage, and then connect that to a client need, we have the ability to create these really compelling reports and artifacts so that our clients can socialize the insights.

That we gain, but also figure out, okay, well how is this going to drive our business forward? How is it going to impact our brands, our products and overall whatever our goals might be? And so Smarty Pants really thinks about how we can both inform through consumer insight as well as inspire to action the world’s leading brands.

And our client roster feels really robust and wonderful, which is amazing when we think about being a relatively small or mid-size company, because we have a lot of Fortune 100 companies that turn to us year after year for that type of guidance.

“So that’s the universal truth is what is best for my kids, what is best for my family and that guides so many decisions that parents make”

Mark: Now, when you talk about inform and inspire, is that the intersection of where Smarty Pants essentially shifts from more of a custom research company to starting to really help with the consulting and the insights to apply that learning to the specific brand goals. Is that fair to say?

Alisha: Absolutely. Yeah. So when we think about developing methods, which is a lot of what I had described, it’s very consumer centric. But at the end of the day, our clients hire us to be organization or brand centric and to help give them the guidance that they need to figure out what to do next. So even if we learn a hundred pages worth of interesting things, chances are we need to provide the brands that we’re working with and the teams that we’re working with that five pages of inspiration that they should focus on to help them weed through all of  the other interesting things that we learned.

Mark: How much of the time do you work with brands who come to you and say, Hey, we know nothing about families or parents or kids, or whatever the specific lifestyle stage is. We need your help? Compared with, Hey, we’re familiar with this audience. We have this new product launch. We want you to validate what we’re thinking. And then maybe in a third bucket, if you will, here’s what we know. Here’s what we think we want you to find data to support our story. I’m curious to know what the balance is with those three potential approaches that brands might take or ask of you at Smarty Pants. 

Alisha: So we certainly experience all of those scenarios. Because most of the clients who we work with and the initiatives that we’re focusing on are with organizations who we’ve been working with for 5, 10, 15 years at this point.

Most of those organizations are actually quite well-versed in the lives of kids and families, and have been able to learn with us about those changes. And so as we’re informing those clients, which really are I think the core of the organizations that we work with, it’s about making sure that the insights we provide are dynamic and fresh, and provide a sense of incrementality to what they already know. We also have, especially for new clients who begin working with Smarty Pants, the need to help educate and inspire the organization to understand the intricacies of the lives of families.

Starting with, understanding stages of development.  And to help with that, we will do immersion sessions, or ages and stages workshops to help organizations get up to speed quickly with what they might need to know about kids at a foundational level. And then we’ll build onto that, you know, custom research that will help address whatever their very specific business questions are.

You had one last scenario, which was about a client coming and saying like, really just trying to learn to validate what their direction is. I don’t think we do that very often. I think most of the organizations that we partner with are really savvy and want to conduct smart research to uncover a truth or a sense of meaning rather than conducting the research just to confirm a direction they’re already going in.

Mark: Well, that’s refreshing to hear. Are there any new trends among families with young kids that would be important for brands to be aware of, be it some of their entertainment choices or buying habits? Curious to know about any new trends that you found are uncovered.

Alisha: So I guess new is a bit of a relative term, but I think a huge shift that’s happened is how families shop. So for the first decade of my career, there were so many conversations about the impact of kids at the point of sale.

And that was really a physical point of sale. So in-store, on shelf, and now the family decision dynamic has evolved and it involves so many additional points of influence. So from YouTube and social media to building Amazon wish lists, families are shopping in a much more fluid way that is very much tied up with all of the other things they do throughout the day.

It’s not like shopping has its unique occasion for two hours on a Saturday. It is happening as families are watching tv or when a child says, oh no, I forgot, I need poster board for my project. And a parent’s going to the app and ordering that right then and there in carpool. So really understanding the impact on purchase decisions today for families involves much more complexity, many more points in time, and the need to really untangle that journey, which is very category and product specific, and oftentimes occasion based.

So really a big trend would be just the shift in how families shop to be a more fluid and ongoing process, rather than a singular point in time would be one trend in addition to the fluidity that you mentioned.

Mark: Is there any truth to today’s families, the children having a much larger role at a younger age influencing purchasing decisions than maybe in prior generations? Have you seen that play itself out?

Alisha: I think it depends on how far back you want to go in terms of generations. So I would say for the past 20 years kids have been influential. So since I’ve been studying kids and families, I think kids’ influence has been large. I think one of the core changes in that influence is that kids are getting information from more different places than their parents are. So although parents might be considering their child’s point of view the same way that they might have 10 or 15 years ago, the kids are getting information from so many different resources,  and from about different types of products and in different types of kind of focused areas based on their very niche interests in a way that never touches the parent. So the child’s doing more educating the parent, whereas before the child was maybe involved in discussions but may not have had as much information or varied information from what the parent has as they do today.

Mark: That’s interesting. I guess I was thinking about going back one generation to my own childhood. You know, and I’m a Gen Xer, so I don’t ever recall my parents asking my thoughts or advice or essentially it was, here’s what you’re getting and you’re going to like it.  Yeah, I don’t, you know, I don’t, that’s again, back to your point very much earlier, it’s limited dataset, so I don’t know how true it is.

Alisha: Well, I think that that is true. So if we look, if we go all the way to parents today, when they were kids, Did they have as much influence as their own children have? And I would say no. Their own children, today’s children have more influence than their parents had when they were kids. And so, when you were a child, your influence was probably while you were in the store.

So your parent may have said, which of these cereals would you like?  And then maybe you would’ve been able to select that as a treat.  Whereas now there’s just a kind of a more ongoing conversation about what’s being bought. And then there’s purchases can also happen in a way that’s more seamless in families’ lives, that it is more of an ongoing conversation.

Mark: Are there other big differences you’ve seen from the current generation of parents to prior generations that has been relevant in your work with some of your clients?

Alisha: Yes, there are quite a few, and I actually find them fascinating and really fun to talk about. So I’m glad you asked this.

One piece, which is also tied into trends, but it’s where families draw their sense of community and identity and so parents and kids have access to so many different forms of community and sources of information and entertainment that can be as narrow and niche as they want them to be. So whether that is really diving deep into a very specific sports community, locally or online, or fandom, or being a super fan of a specific anime character.

You can find community in so many different ways, and that is shaping how families get information, what their sense of identity is, who they are as a family, how they work together as a unit in terms of what the relationship is between the parent and child. And maybe it’s just between one parent and one child versus a whole family.

And so families today really do kind of embrace diversity of perspectives. And that’s not just based on interest, but it’s also based on the family and its composition in terms of the family’s race and ethnicity or gender and sexuality or socioeconomics or ability,  they’re all different ways to form community, and what me makes that family who they are.

So that’s something that we like to consider. When we’re thinking about kids and parents is that this, parents and kids aren’t only defined based on their life stage and their age, but also what else is forming their identity. Another trend we’re seeing with, parents is the notion of being a little bit more minimalist.

So especially compared to the last generation of parents, there’s more of a value today around streamlining minimalism. It’s less about collecting and consumption unless there’s a purpose, value, or meaningful. It really is meaningful consumption. And some of this ties with the aligning with values.

So the current generation of parents really thinks beyond what can this product do for me? And is more influenced by what does this brand stand for, even if it’s not the lead factor in how they’re making purchase decisions, being a brand that has meaning beyond the products they sell really is impactful in building equity with today’s parents on the kinda note of brands, and this really does vary by category, but today’s parents are so open to startup brands or homegrown grown brands and products, and having those triggers around those common values. For why to be considered is a great way to introduce those new brands to parents and oftentimes this happens on social media.

So that’ll bring me to my last point on this topic, which is that today’s parents didn’t only grow up tech native, which you could say was true for the last generation of parents, but they also grew up social media savvy and social media native so they grew up learning about, and posting about, and filtering their lives and what they are seeing and what they’re putting out in the world.

And so as they’re thinking about brands that are for them, oftentimes those brands find them via algorithms and do meet and fit with their values, but also this is impacting how parents are sharing information about their lives and about their kids and the choices they make that might be about what they can then later post, in a way that’s just different.

It’s has a different level of savviness and smartness and information, in terms of how they parent and how they share that with their peers.

Mark: Are there any differences between how U.S. families compare to other parts of the world?

Alisha: Yes, there are differences and the differences are rooted in oftentimes longstanding cultural differences. And so parenting is just one expression of that. And so without getting too specific, we see differences in terms of strictness or regulation on technology. So you have an extreme country like China, where screen time is really restricted by the government in terms of how much time kids can spend on the screens.

Or in Germany, parents tend to be more strictly supervising the digital habits of their kids in terms of what their child is using online, especially compared to the us which is much more lax as it relates to supervising digital habits. Of course when families eat dinner, or even the meals they eat and what those involved is so greatly varied across all countries and in including the role of food and what the different foods are and what’s perceived to be healthy and unhealthy. Like food is a world that is extremely localized, and specific to each culture and country.

In terms of kids’ milestones, we see a lot of differences in gifting occasions by culture. And so some cultures have just value material gifts in a different way and have more gifting occasions. And there’s just so many holidays, so that’s always an interesting lens for looking at things. We can look at a spectrum of independence where you have a country like Japan, which I know is really known for giving kids more independence at a young age, even in terms of getting to school on their own.

But then you also have independence in play and where are the countries where kids have the most independence in how they play or where parents aren’t as involved in how kids play? I always think Mexico is an interesting example there because you have so many multi-generational households and the supportive extended family and more people to play with.

So oftentimes play in Mexico is fueled with kids, playing with kids rather than adults playing with the kids, and so there’s so many different dimensions of how families are different around the world.  Oftentimes they may have similar perceptions of brands or perceptions of products or needs for products, but when you get into the composition of their daily lives and how they interact with each other, that’s where you start to see some of the differences emerge.

Mark: Are there any universal truths when it comes to parents? I guess aside from the cultural differences , as you decided the ethnographic or generational differences, or are any universal truths you can speak to?

Alisha: Absolutely. And I feel like there’s one, and it’s gonna be one core truth. There might be more. But the one that as a researcher,  I always try to remember, and we talk about a lot as a team, is that around the world, parents are focused on what they think is best for their kids. So that’s the universal truth is what is best for my kids, what is best for my family and that guides so many decisions that parents make.

Where the differences emerge just comes from the context and the culture that’s all around that. But at the center of it is parents all being guided by doing what’s right and best for their family.

Mark: Have you seen any data that supports the premise that today as a byproduct of the pandemic people professionally and personally value family time more? And what I mean by that is it’s, I think of it as a very interesting paradox because in the early stages of the pandemic, there was this apprehension and hesitation to work from home. And yet here we are three years later, and there’s this hesitation and apprehension for going to the office to work. I wonder if it’s because people have placed a greater value on spending time with family. Any data to support or have you seen that to be true in anything you’ve done? 

Alisha: I can’t speak to any specific data points because the research we’ve done on this topic is kind of custom and proprietary for clients.

I can’t speak to data, but what you’re saying I think is spot on in the sense that the pandemic forced a pause for many families and enabled families to realize how much they enjoyed spending time with each other or enjoyed those moments that may be simpler moments with their family. That’s not true for all families.

Some families didn’t have the luxury of the pause during the pandemic or the luxury of being able to have stress-free moments. But many did. So I think that the pandemic slow down for some did reframe priorities, and we have heard families talking about how they have some new habits that are more family focused based on a pandemic.

So going for hikes, for example, is something that some families have continued to do, or really making the time to see extended family. Because they weren’t able to during the pandemic. So creating some new traditions around making sure they’re connecting with people who they weren’t able to connect with.

Mark: Can you share any examples of how you work with clients and you’ve mentioned a few, or maybe a better way to ask is, are there any case studies that you’re most proud of that you can share?  I’m sure there’s some proprietary information that you can’t share, but generally speaking, anything you’re most proud of.

Alisha: Gosh, that’s a great question. So the projects that we work on range from very tactical projects like concept testing or brand tracking or communications development to projects that are more foundational. So understanding opportunity areas or white spaces with consumers and families.

I personally am fascinated by the foundational work that we do where we are able to think about addressing a pain point that is going to meaningfully impact and change family’s lives if we solve for that pain point. So those are the types of projects where I get really excited and where our team recognizes the impact and power of what we do.

So a couple of examples of that would be exploring what the needs are for kids who have a mobility limitation or an accessibility need, and how that impacts their social dynamics, as well as their daily function. And what are opportunities for organizations and brands to help families?

Make sure their kids have what they need. And so we can do that in terms of the role that Smarty Pants plays in that type of journey is providing a window into what the needs and pain points are for that type of family who has needs related to accessibility? For physical or cognitive reasons using an ethnographic approach.

So going in person for observations, allowing families to do journals through video and image-based uploads. And then having follow up in-depth interviews with them, either in person or virtually to learn more and dive deeper. And then really validating needs and pain points in terms of, okay, how common are these needs and pain points?

Let’s size these to understand what’s going to be the most prevalent as well as the most impactful. And then working with our clients to figure out what we call smarty paths, which would be positioning opportunities or innovation territories that they can work against from either a messaging perspective or a product development perspective.

And sometimes we’ll do co-creation sessions with consumers to involve them in what our clients are actually creating or innovating against.  So that’s a more foundational type of project where we have a real consumer problem or need where there’s so much opportunity for the world’s leading brands to help in a meaningful way.  And that’s the type of initiative where I get most excited.

Mark: And would you say that’s one of the larger things you hear from clients, or is that one of the more prevalent things clients come to you with as far as their own needs? Is that foundational work?

Alisha: I think that the work that we do spans those from those more tactical projects to more foundational projects. I don’t know. I’m just a curious person, so I get excited about all of I think there’s just more to learn when we’re starting from a foundational place, and where you’re not quite sure what the end point’s going to be.  There’s something exciting about that, right? In terms of like, okay, let’s work with our clients and figure out together what this journey’s going to be.

Where are we going? What is it that the consumer needs? Because then you’re starting from something that is really based in a daily experience that people have that’s so real. It’s based on their real life need and experience and truth. And if a business is able to understand what that real life need, experience and truth is, and actually solve for that, that’s pretty amazing. And I feel like that’s an empowering moment for Smarty Pants and for our clients.

Mark: What advice do you have for any brand marketers who may be tuning in for what would be the first few steps they should take when starting a custom research project? I’ll kick it off and say, well, clearly they should call Smarty Pants and reach out to you and your team. But just generally speaking, what are the right steps for them to either think about or take as they think about custom research and better understanding their consumer targets?

Alisha: So we oftentimes have clients who come to us and they say, okay, we have a certain amount of money to spend and we want you to do some focus groups, or we want you to do a survey.

And what we do is we say, okay, let’s pause for a second and let’s back up. So the first thing I’d say is, let’s not lead with logistical limitations. So lead with what you want to learn and why. We always recommend that clients let us know what success looks like for them. So envision success at the end of the day, what’s going to make you feel like this was a successful project?

What will make you feel like your team has done what they need to do to power your organization. So envisioning the success as the starting point of how is the organization actually going to use these insights? And what you’re trying to do to move your business forward is one core recommendation.

Another is let your curiosity lead the way. So don’t over-engineer research questions so that they wind up not feeling human, and not feeling clear in terms of what it is that your team actually wants to learn. So we don’t mind when a client comes to us with a list of 30 questions that they’ve heard from their team and their team’s own voices, because it lets us become more intuitive with what the organization actually needs.

We can see what all their curiosities are, what they know and what they don’t know, and then can guide the way in terms of method, and then the next piece that we’d recommend is really thinking about who you want to learn from. So identifying that right consumer target in terms of from a family perspective, what is it that we need to learn from parents?

What is it we need to learn from kids? And then there’s kind of a third with families, which is what is it that you need to learn about that dynamic and interplay of families or parents and kids together. So those are the three core steps that I’d recommend.

Mark: Let’s end as we started with your family. You talked at the beginning I think a little bit about so many of the activities, but are there certain experiences or things that you and your family enjoy the most to spend time together?

Alisha: Absolutely. Yeah. That’s fun to think about as well. So. It ranges from, those backyard moments when we find ourselves together on a Sunday afternoon without any scheduled activities.

Oftentimes we’ll wind up playing kickball or whiffle ball together in the backyard or having a fire pit and kind of just chatting. So we love doing that. We are a family that likes to be outdoors. So we like to hike. We love to go to the beach.  I always feel like our kind of family happy place is when there’s warm sands, clear water, and some creatures to find or discover.

My kids will love to find crabs or fish or frogs and that kind of thing, even still at their ages. As teenagers, when they were younger, we would spend a ton of time at local museums and zoos and aquariums, and so that is something that we don’t do as often, but at least once a year, we try to go to either the Mystic Aquarium or the New England Aquarium in Boston or the Bronx Zoo, or a locals zoo in Massachusetts.

Mark: Well, Alicia, thank you so much for joining me.  I really enjoyed the conversation.

Alisha: You had some excellent questions of things to reflect on and think about, so I enjoyed it as well, and I look forward to continuing the conversation and keeping in touch

Mark: And thank you for listening in to  this episode of Family First, the wild world of marketing to parents.



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