Marketers who do not pay attention to the buying habits and general activities of the teenager of today do so at their peril. Teenagers may not have the buying power necessary to cause marketers to salivate, but they represent the adults of tomorrow and some of the amazing trends that are emerging from the world of the teenager will have a significant effect on the marketing arena ahead.
Change is a constant, as we all know, but some of the accelerating trends of the last few years have given us all cause to stop and think. Those of us who are somewhat more mature can clearly remember the rise and fall of certain “hot” products and services – remember 8-track and cassettes?
If you want to reach the teenager of today with your marketing message, you can completely forget about the radio and the printed newspaper. Teenagers do want to hear music, but whereas ten years ago the radio was the prime source of the hippest beats, these days online streaming music sites provide the tracks commercial free. Newspapers appear to be very strange to the teenager of today and they cannot really see the value of what is, let’s face it, an industry in significant decline.
If you really want to reach the kids of today you will find them interacting through the Internet, popular gaming platforms and, increasingly via their mobile cell phones. A large number of teenagers have access to conventional gaming consoles, such as the Xbox 360 or the Wii and they can spend long periods of time interacting with others, as the consoles are able to connect via the Internet. By and large, the hottest games are viewed and played on the standalone gaming consoles, rather than via a PC version.
It seems that every teenager has access to the Internet, at school or at home and social networking is taking on increased importance. Facebook is by far the most common site and is visited by teenagers on an almost daily basis. This format allows interaction with friends on a widespread scale and has almost universal acceptance within this age group. Conversely, Twitter appears to be on the outside looking in and has not yet captured the imagination of the teenager due to its somewhat more focused and regimented approach, perhaps.
The Internet, and Google in particular, is the source of information for the learning teenager and has, in line with other age demographics, completely annihilated the power of the erstwhile directory resources, such as Yellow Pages.
Whilst teenagers do generally own a TV, they are not avid watchers necessarily. The more virally popular shows and series will be followed, but many teenagers see commercials as too intrusive and will often refer to TiVo and other products to skip through or eliminate these annoyances.
Almost 100% of teenagers have access to a mobile phone and most of these have a good degree of functionality, or are smart phones. This is definitely the growth area of opportunity for marketers trying to reach the teenager of today and the adult of tomorrow. As functionality and feature availability becomes more widespread and mainstream and the premium services morph into standard features, teenagers are likely to use cell phones more and more for their social networking, music and communication.
Do you know how to reach your teenager?