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Butter Me Up

Posted At: September 18, 2013 1:42 p.m.
By Karly Weigel

For the past 32 years, Butterball Turkey has opened its phone line for holiday cooks to call in for help. The line opens at the beginning of November and remains open through December. Whether the turkey is overcooked or lacks proper seasoning, the Butterball hotline is here to save Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for thousands of American families each year.

In a bold move last week, Butterball asked men to step up and help during the holiday season. The company wants to hire males ages 25 and older to serve as phone operators on the hotline. Also, the company will include these men in its holiday advertising and promotional materials. Traditionally, it had all female phone operators who knew everything about turkey. Butterball has listened to the needs of its customers and is working to incorporate men into the picture.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, only 9 percent of hotline calls received in the past were from men. Now, one in four callers is male. Butterball is becoming aware of the changing demographics of men in the kitchen during Thanksgiving. By hiring male phone operators, Butterball shows a strategic understanding of its customer base.

According to NPR, 3.5 percent of stay-at-home parents are fathers. Even though this number may seem small, the figure has doubled in the last decade. More than 28 percent of women also out-earn their husbands, so fathers are willing to take the stay at-home dad position. This shift in the American family is a great opportunity for companies to target fathers in the home.

Butterball’s movement to appeal to both men and women is a great strategy to engage a new demographic. Having equal representation for men and women on the phone lines will lead to happier callers and lifelong customers.

Consumers want their specific needs to be met, and Butterball does just that. Having male phone operators affirms the idea that men do not have to sit on the couch for dinner preparation. Instead, Butterball indirectly allows for men to feel at ease and welcomed in the kitchen.

I am excited to see the work that Butterball is doing. Instead of pushing the same square peg into a round hole, Butterball is willing to change ways, even if its 32 years of phone line history have been successful. Other companies could take note of what Butterball has done and re-evaluate how the American family is changing. While you are at it, pass me the turkey!

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