Small Business Marketing

Marketing to Teenagers Effectively

Written by Amy Bax for Gaebler Ventures

Are teenagers a viable sector to market to? How do you grab their attention? Here are some things to include and be cautious of when marketing to this segment.

Teenagers today have more spending power and influence in buying decisions than they used to have.

Marketing to Teenagers

Summer jobs, higher allowances, and influence on what parents buy are all reasons that marketers have decided to target more of their messages to the teenage and high school market. Here are a few ways to make sure your company or brand are able to catch their eye, along with good things to keep in mind when advertising to this crowd.

How to Market to Teens

Cater to their need to express originality. Teenagers have strong opinions and views that they want to be heard.

Use marketing techniques that ask for their feedback, or allow them to express themselves. Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have become an outlet for advertisers to get teens involved and create two-way channels of communication. Not only are they responding to your product, but they are also providing you information about preferences, needs, and wants when coming up with new ideas.

Establish your company as one that truly cares about and supports the issues they feel are important. For example, start your own cause or find an established one to support and connect yourself to. Things such as the Green Movement, for example, have become increasingly popular.

Include information on your website or social profile about how your company takes a part in helping the environment or include ways that teenagers can get involved in the Green Movement. Teenagers are much more actively involved in supporting causes than one might thing. They will respond positively to your involvement in a cause that they also feel is important.

Take advantage of trends and big-named people in pop culture. This does not mean you have to hire expensive celebrities to be in your advertising. Instead, find ways to connect your product to the phenomenon. If you want to do a sweepstakes, give away tickets to a popular concert.

If you have established yourself online, offer cool downloads, or connect yourself to websites that teenagers enjoy such as social networking sites, gossip columns, popular televisions shows, etc. Finding a way to incorporate your brand into their everyday interests will produce positive results in image awareness.

What to Be Aware of When Marketing to Teenagers

The tastes and attitudes of teens are constantly changing. Trying to target and create a new message with every different change that one teenager may go through within a year is impossible. Create one solid message that has several different angles you can use to update with. This makes your product more flexible, which will help you withstand the changes in preference or attitude in your target market.

If you are using websites, online communities, or other forms of online marketing, make sure to constantly be changing and adding new concepts. This will keep them coming back on a regular basis to your site, and stop you from being old news.

Just like marketing to other segments, make sure your message is age appropriate. Do not speak down to them. They understand a lot more than teenagers from ten or twenty years ago, so market accordingly. If you are speaking to them like children, they will not listen. Instead, they will most likely become offended and be turned off by whatever message you are trying to convey. Even though they are still young, they want and expect to be treated like young adults.

Never assume. Because there are many niche markets and tastes are constantly changing, do not assume that you know what teenagers want. Make sure your message is well researched- including feedback and opinions from focus groups consisting of teenagers. They are, above anyone else, who can tell you the most.

Amy Bax is interested in providing innovative informational resources to entrepreneurs. She is currently an MBA student at the University of Missouri - Columbia.

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