In a week when record numbers of teenagers are biting their nails anticipating their A Level results and pundits are predicting that students will leave university with an average debt of £17,500, leading brand and marketing response agency, AgencyUK has been conducting research into effective sales and marketing to teenagers.
Instant is best. Whether it is instant messaging, video sharing, social networking or online shopping, it’s happening ‘now’. According to IABuk 81% of teens (aged 12 – 24) say instant messaging is an important online service and 83% use MSN to keep in touch with friends.
However, there is a lack of teens twittering. Under 25s make up 25% of the twitter audience, but the 13 – 17 audience is already using facebook/bebo to keep up to date.
Key services that teens use are ones where they can contribute and communicate with one another rather then make purchases. For a brand to be successful in these areas they must make communication and contribution a key objective, sales second.
Two-way communication is essential. Even better, brands should meet face to face with teenagers and keep in touch on a regular basis.
Being a teenager is a time of opportunistic endeavour. Exciting and changeable it has always been tricky to tap into ‘now’ trends. With the right tools and spaces in place to target them, brands have to form a deeper understanding of the teen psyche and engage with them at a far deeper level than ever before.
The recent £4m account win from BSM required TheAgency to make BSM more relevant to the core learner youth market. Its ‘Lessons for Life’ campaign stood out from those of other driving schools by focusing on the learner rather than the car. Youthful visuals dominated right down to the colour palette and teenager’s clothing.
The result is a 20 per cent uplift in learner bookings and ‘Lessons for Life’ has been extended across the brand experience. BSM has also ended its 16-year relationship with Vauxhall to swap the Opal for the über-trendy Fiat 500 , reflecting yet another facet of the driving school’s desire to connect with the youth market’s interest in green credentials.
As teenagers tackle exams, debt, disenfranchisement, world politics and global warming, so brands have to grapple with the right message, tone and creative relevance that will inspire, engage with and activate this youth audience. And that’s a lesson in life that many brands will have to take.
AgencyUK top 5 tips for targeting teenagers
1) Engage – with the power of social networks two way conversation is key. Invite responses and allow contribution.
2) Give them something back– a free download, a discount, an amusing video. Think of it as a friendship, you can’t just take and never give back.
3) Be honest – don’t lie, don’t pretend to be something you’re not and encourage honesty in return.
4) Language – don’t use marketing jargon, use language that teens use and make sure you’re up to date – Groovy does not count.
5) Don’t just sit back – don’t wait for them to come to you, go out and find them and once you’re there join in the fun!