Though it's also tempting to just lump age segments together, it's
a bad business move. "Now, microtargeting is the way to go," White
says. "There are nuances between 14- and 16-year-olds." Just shoot
something out to them instead of taking some time to figure out who
they are and, well, they won't give your product a second look.
This is especially important when talking to tweens: They're "an
interesting crossover," says Stock. "They look up to older
brothers, sisters, and friends, but they're not quite ready to cast
off their own childhood."
One way to get all of the above going: Bring them into the process
from the get-go. "Marketing starts with product development," says
Marie Lena Tupot, research director of ScenarioDNA, which
publishes the "Ignite! Youth" report. Adds Stock: Marketers should
be about making products more customizable and thinking about
getting kids involved in the product development.
Involve your target audience as you define the features set of a
product, says White. Make sure it's really designed for them. Along
with creating a better product, you'll get your audience excited
and get a jump start on building word-of-mouth marketing.
But, for all their independence and desire to define their own
personalities, it's also important to recognize that Millennial
kids trust their parents - much more so than those parents trusted
their own elders. Unlike the Baby Boomers or Generation X,
Millennials want feedback from their folks about almost every
purchase of more than a couple bucks. Back when Nickelodeon debuted
in the 1980s, says Howe, the all-kids channel even had a
parent-free zone. But Millennials want to see adults on the scene -
parental characters don't just make cameos; they're integral to the
shows. Take, for instance, The O.C. The Fox powerhouse drama
features story lines about teens, about their parents, and about
teens interacting with the parents - even taking advice from the
parents. That influence cannot be ignored. "You have to gain the
trust of the parents. Shopping decisions for teens and tweens are
made in the context of the family," says Stock.