Teens and young Millennials remain a conundrum for marketers. While they present many opportunities for brands – they can be strong ambassadors and influencers and are primary tastemakers – their rapidly shifting preferences and methods of communication also pose numerous challenges.
Melanie Shreffler, trends and insights guru with Smarty Pants, reveals the top five trends for marketing to this age group in 2014. Here’s what these trends mean for you.
1. Conversation is ceasing
Teens’ new digital hangouts, like Vine, Instagram and SnapChat, require much less conversation than networks such as Facebook, which younger audiences are fleeing. Quick videos and photos with a hashtag are replacing longer, more personal posts that provide marketers insight into their lives.
What this means for you: Social media is now less about teens and more about their interests and staying up to speed. If you develop content that appeals to their interests, they’ll likely be more open to consuming and sharing it now than before. And while insight into their lives may no longer be as readily available, insight into their interests is much more plentiful, making your job easier.
2. They’re less tied to objects
Knowing they can always find what they need when they need it, teens and young Millennials are becoming less interested in ownership (with the exception of their phones). Movies, designer clothes and cars are only a few of the items this age group is used to “renting” when they need them, then happily returning afterward.
What this means for you: If you’re targeting this age group, your product or service must be available when your audience wants it.
3. Teens are tuning out
Rather than tuning into live TV, teens are opting to catch up on their favorite shows on Netflix or other online sources. Waiting until next week to find out what happens? Not in their world. They’d rather wait and “binge watch” a series later.
What this means for you: Using traditional TV commercials to reach this age group will likely not work. Consider reaching them through targeted social media posts or great video content instead.
4. Wearable technology is the new “it” item
From Google Glass to Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear, wearable technology is allowing users to access information and communicate even more easily. Younger consumers, in particular, are embracing this technology and making it a part of their everyday lives.
What this means for you: These items offer new opportunities for getting your message in front of teens, but be careful. Teens do not like intrusive ads. If you do forge into this territory, go native, with content that makes sense for the medium and the audience.
5. Unexpected humor goes far
There’s a reason the Dodge Durango spots featuring Ron Burgundy, the Kmart puns and Ylvis have all been such hits. With so much content available, random, unexpected humor cuts through the clutter and grabs younger audiences’ attention.
What it means for you: You have creative freedom to try new, funny things, and if your audience likes it, you can be confident it will spread like wildfire. Just remember to remain true to who you are. This audience will know right away if you’re trying too hard to be someone else for the sake of a laugh – and won’t find it funny.
Coming up on Tuesday: Tips for getting the most from your mobile advertising.