Raising teenagers isn’t easy. I realize they may have been put on this earth as a way for my parents to bask in the long-awaited and highly prophesized “I hope your child is just like you when you grow up” threat. As a mother of two, let me tell you, it’s true. Not only are the kids a handful, but the grandparents actually enjoy watching the struggle, all the while acting like they never said any of those same things to you. But I digress…as a parent and a marketing professional I’m always looking for the positives. Looking at my teens, it became clear to me that there are some basic lessons that span both areas of my life.
Ask for insight. Teens are very willing tell you their opinion – all you have to do is ask (and, of course, a lot of them will tell you even if you don’t ask). When they are interested in the subject they devour everything and are avid digesters of information. Understand what they like or don’t like, what’s working and not working. Research is an important step in understanding your audience’s mindset and fashioning your message correctly, providing a better outcome. Don’t skip this step or be afraid to ask – most people will tell you what they think – good or bad.
Tailor the message. If you know what you’re talking about, they will listen. Hit them on their level, reach their demographic, and speak their language. My son had an expert come into his school to talk about the “dangers” of playing too many video games. He was highly skeptical and approached the visit negatively. However, not only did she know her topic, she also knew her audience, and by the time her presentation was done, they were listening and respected her opinion. Strategic B2B target marketing shows that not all messages work for all audiences – figure out what’s important to target and talk the talk.
Frequency and repetition is good. If you’re a parent, you know you need to tell something to your child over and over and over and over before what you are asking or saying sinks in. Telling them once will never get the job accomplished. Effective B2B marketing also requires a frequent and repetitive core message is most likely needed to get your audience to convert. Don’t assume they heard it or paid attention the first time.
Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should. Teens are excited about new technologies and new tools, prompting you, as a parent, to say – do you really need that? Understanding what is hot now and what they enjoy is a big key to understanding how they think. As a marketer, I see marketing budgets skew toward the latest trend without rationalization as to why something is needed. Figure out the ROI on the investment in something new and make sure it fits within the overall strategy, and determine if they are just being distracted by “something new."