All The Kids Are Doing It 5Don\’t let the proliferation of middle-aged folk on MySpace fool you. Evolutionary leaps in digital communications for the most part tend to be driven by the youth market, at least in the United States. A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 88 percent of all teens say that tech devices make their lives easier, compared with 69 percent of their parents. A joint global study by MTV, Nickelodeon, and Microsoft meanwhile noted the differences between youth and adult usage of technology as well – for example, teens use technology to communicate with existing friends, while \”perception amongst young people is that it’s their parents who are more likely to use digital networks for online dating or meeting strangers!”

Such research illustrates the importance of using digital marketing with coveted tween, teen, and young adult demographic. But it\’s far from child\’s play. This series, \”All The Kids Are Doing It,\” tells marketers what to keep in mind if they want to reach young consumers digitally and effectively. In preceding installments, we talked about multi-media technology, mobile marketing, email campaigns, and social networks (the latter two also addressed online privacy regulations related to minors). Today in our last installment, we\’ll illustrate how to put it all together and create a campaign to which teens will enthusiastically respond.

Part 5: Putting It All Together

Pretend you run Yum2.0, the (imaginary) maker of niche snacks and beverages. You have a small but loyal following on the West Coast, but are now trying to reach the rest of the United States. Because of Yum2.0\’s focus on unusual flavors and ability to give eaters and drinkers the increased energy they need for, say, schoolwork and sports, you decide to court the youth market first.

A multi-platform campaign lets you reach youths via email and cell phones. But first, you must gain permission to reach young consumers through their personal contact information. So you place traditional print ads in magazines that range in content from teen fashion to video games. You also put display ads on Internet sites such as social networks and virtual worlds. And you place short video commercials on videocast/vlog sites as well. The media might be different, but all these ads have one thing in common: They entice consumers to sign up for marketing messages.

The ads say one of two things, depending on where they run:

    * \”Taste the difference with Yum2.0. Go to for special offers\” – which drives people to your online marketing efforts
    * \”Taste The Difference. Text Yum to 123456\” – which drives people to your mobile marketing efforts.

These ads are short and sweet. That\’s perfect for an audience that might be too immersed in throwing food at friends\’ MySpace pages, manipulating an avatar on Club Penguin, or listening to the latest discussion on Snapecast to want to stop what they\’re doing just to check out some lengthy commercial content.

Rather than trying to redirect their attentions, the campaigns allow young consumers to engage with the brand on their own time. Visitors to the website sign up to receive offers such as free merchandise or reduced prices, via email. When visitors subscribe, they are also asked a few demographic questions such as age and personal interests – information that allows you to further target your digital marketing campaigns based on certain criteria. The age question is critical too because if younger than 13, Yum2.0 asks for proof of parental permission before signing them up for email subscriptions.

Consumers who text the advertised shortcode receive a \”thank you\” asking for their permission to join the Yum2.0 mobile club. They are offered the chance for coupons to be sent to their cell phones – usable at any store selling Yum2.0 products – in exchange for subscribing to receive SMS messages from the company. Other messages include fun quizzes that determine demographic or personal interests (and reward respondents with even more coupons). Such information is used to create future targeted mobile campaigns – such as if you have a special event happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma and want to tell local youths ages 13-17 all about it.

Using such digital marketing strategies tend to yield better results than more traditional forms of marketing. That\’s because they perpetuate teens\’ penchant for digital communications. Meanwhile, migrating consumers from print media to digital messaging is all but seamless when you\’re talking teens, tweens, and young adults. As we\’ve repeated in this series, all the kids are doing it. To reach them successfully, marketers should too.

Eydie Cubarrubia,
Marketing Communications Manager