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The Joy of Targeting Teenagers

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Teenagers are the generation that marketing execs would and do spend millions a year to try to understand. Every product directed towards the teen crowd goes through hundreds of changes and focus groups to determine whether or not that particular ad will work. This generation has so many variations to it that to say that you are going to target “all teens” is virtually impossible. We must focus on a common factor that most teens share and can be drawn upon to create attachment to our product.

A common factor that has recently been found through AOL research is the internet and wireless communication. The research has found an expected increase in the amount of time spent by teens browsing the web, checking their e-mail, and chatting. This opens up a door for marketers to attach themselves to these mediums to find their target. The fact is, this target may not be as hard to find as was once thought.

AOL found that over 80% of teens ages 12 to 17 use e-mail to talk with friends and other uses. E-mail is followed by instant messaging and games, then homework, music, gossip news, chat, current news and sports information. Each of these categories fall 5-10% per comma use except that IM and games share the same use percentage. The smallest usage among teenagers is the sports/current events categories and they still pull in twenty-five percent use individually. Every one of these categories is influenced by whether or not a teen has access to broadband. As you can imagine, the access to broadband gives a better atmosphere and speed capabilities for the eager to play games and download music.

E-mail 81% Instant Messaging 70% Games 70% Homework 48% Music 54% Gossip 40% Chat 35% News 25% Sports Info. 25%

An unexpected find was the surge in Internet usage by teens for educational purposes. Almost sixty percent of U.S. teenagers use this new media for doing research for papers and finding and buying books. I suspect they also use it to trade papers and homework answers but don’t we all? An excellent source of usage for any age has been search engines. While it is hard to find what percentage of them are teens, we do know that this target frequents them often to find sites to browse.

I remember in school when my professor would talk exclusively about this target for hours because of their diverseness. We must focus on one facet of these potential buyers and find an avenue to reach them. Using the Internet and all of its uses only seems natural to find this target because they have grown up with this technology and will influence it in the future. Right now, teenagers are still learning and using this technology and are touched by it each day. How will your message get to them?

E-mail targeting seems like a logical choice if 80% of teens use some sort of e-mail. Popular free e-mail sources are, of course, Hotmail and Yahoo. I am certain that a list out there can be purchased to find the addresses of some of this target and test a couple of e-mail samples to see which gets the best reaction to your product.

Teenagers are the generation that will be the next big spenders of our country. Companies are scrambling to make some of them brand loyals by the time this happens. We all know that a brand loyal will be back to purchase your product until they become old and gray. Some products have done a terrific job at going after teens to buy their product. Mountain Dew is a great one. Everyone knows that the today’s early twenty-year-olds are lifetime buyers of the Dew and will be very hard to persuade to drink Coke’s Surge or Mello-Yello. This is because Pepsi has been targeting this crowd for years and been very successful. You don’t see too many ads online directed toward this target, this tells me that this “new” media is more than ready. Can you afford the risk of having to go after these teens later when they are mid-twenties and set in their ways? Attract them now through the Internet, because they use every facet of it. Take a look at these stats one more time and find out where your specific target may be browsing.

Full of wit and humor, Brandon White is an entrepreneur and former editor and writer for iEntry, Inc.

The Joy of Targeting Teenagers
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