This blog begins our Youth Marketing Initiative Series – an exploration of relevant topics designed to help enlighten and inform today’s businesses wanting much-needed direction on establishing brand awareness and a social connection to today’s youth demographic.
Big and small companies alike are constantly scratching their collective heads when the subject of youth marketing pops up in the meeting room. The youth demographic, which spans an age range between young teens and early thirties, is a complicated segment with contradictory values and preferences.
Finding the ‘silver bullet’ solution to your company’s youth marketing program will require invested research and will challenge traditional marketing methods which are most likely no longer efficient in understanding and captivating the youth audience.
These days, youth consumers have access to such a wide range of information about the products in the market, and thus, the choice options are massive. Purchase decisions are influenced greatly by social and digital media which forces market trends to become so volatile that yesterday’s trendy innovations are perhaps common goods today but run the risk of becoming old news next month.
Companies and researchers need be alert, inventive and creative in their approach to foresee the constant changes in the market.
Unless every company is employing youths in their marketing divisions who have the decision-making power (which is actually becoming more likely by the day), to actually think that the elder corporate statesmen know how the young generation behaves today is not to know much at all.
A major key to finding that silver bullet mentioned above is identifying the influencers who set new trends for their peer groups. Understanding the current aspirations, motivations and behaviors of these influencers is paramount, and will provide the information for future trends.
To capture the influencers, companies need an in-depth understanding of their needs, lifestyle and aspirations. Today’s youth are always seeking new experiences, and this attitude will affect your business, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and to develop a sharp eye for the developments in music, technology, fashion, design, graphics, media and arts all helping to seek out the opportunity areas for your company or brand.
So how would the team at Collegiate Marketing Group execute a comprehensive youth marketing program for your company? While there’s no magic formula we use, a good place we start is with a well-integrated, multi-channel plan of action that addresses every imaginable opportunity to engage your audience. Here are some check-off points we incorporate in order to execute a productive youth marketing program – and it’s what we encourage you to do for your business brand:
- Execute social media campaigns and leverage them with traditional marketing – Establishing a social media presence is only a beginning. Engage your audience and make an emotional connection through listening and response. Create different ways for young members to interact with your brand. This can be through contests or challenges. Leverage these efforts with traditional marketing strategies to ensure a full-out experience. Implement the holy trinity of social campaigning: Make a Connection, Engage with your audience, and encourage Participation. Connect, Engage, Participate.
- Build your brand for the long-term – Awareness campaigns are critical to the long-term success of any youth program. A teen may not be in the market for what you’re selling today, but if he or she has a positive image of your company, the inclination to look to you in the future clearly exists as a strong possibility.
- Offer a continuous stream of content to engage the audience – Fresh content will help generate relevancy, credibility, and perhaps even a little entertainment, all which go a long way towards keeping them engaged. Offer content in as many different formats as possible — online articles, newsletters, magazine, video, pod/vodcasts, blog, music, Youtube channel creation, etc. — and let them decide which they prefer.
- Gear up for events and community marketing – Your target audience lives online, but they also live offline. Get your brand out from behind your website and into the community. Let young members put a face to your message.
- Provide on-campus support – An on-campus program doesn’t necessarily mean you have the attention of the student body. Support your efforts with signage, school-related campaigns, brand ambassador teams and event marketing to become a familiar part of the campus experience.
At the end of the day, your brand needs to make a valuable connection with its intended target. Remember, today’s youth can immediately sense a lack of credibility that your brand may suffer from and thus will reject any marketing message forced upon them. Build your brand’s identity and reputation by asking the following questions:
1. Does your Brand stand for something important?
2. Is your Brand true and authentic? (no one wants a faker)
3. Is your business remembering its core roots?
4. Is your business team focused on the prize?
5. Are you allowing your brand to be discovered? (don’t ever push your brand onto someone)
6. Are you delivering on your promise at every touchpoint?
7. Are you remaining neutral to your own personal beliefs? (Don’t ever take yourself too seriously)
8. Are you inviting the youth demographic in to take co-ownership of your brand?
9. Are you sparking conversations and creating a brand culture?
10. Are you practicing the social holy trinity of Connect, Engage, Participate? (Encourage your targeted consumer to belong to your community and help them express themselves and connect with other like-minded youth, sharing your message)
For more information about Collegiate Marketing Group and the various services this agency offers, including youth marketing, social media and communications services, please continue to visit www.cmgmediaagency.com and connect via the Quick Connect form.