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January 1, 2011

Marketers Strike a Balance Between Skeptical Teens and their Cautious Parents

Direct Marketing News, January 01, 2011
Marketers Strike a Balance Between Skeptical Teens and their Cautious Parents

As the teen segment continues to grow, marketers are getting more creative in how they reach out to these plugged-in skeptical consumers. Marketers are finding success by making their message about more than just the product, showcasing the broader values of their brand through targeted marketing and online communities.

According to the Experian Simmons’ National Teen Study, released last fall, 59% of 1,847 teens surveyed agree that the Internet has changed the way they spend their free time. “Social media is just kind of second nature for this audience,” says Allison Marsh, VP of consumer insights at AMP Agency, which specializes in teen marketing and is part of the Alloy Media & Marketing company. “They think of this as just an extension of their everyday conversations.”

Marsh adds that because of this, marketers trying to promote their brands through social networks need to be about more than just selling. One of the clearest examples of the value of “Big Picture” messages is the popularity of cause marketing campaigns among teens. Staples had great results with its “Give Back Join a Pack” campaign last fall. Working in collaboration with Do Something, the company asked teens to make a donation to go toward the purchase of school supplies for kids in need. Staples incorporated musician and actor Drake Bell, and singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler and invited their fans to “join their pack” by donating.

“This campaign had so many elements: The DoSomething.org website, the Facebook page, the GiveBackPack.org microsite. If you didn’t want to take action in the real world, you could take action in the online space,” says Amy Shanler, director of community relations for Staples.

More than 5,000 pounds of supplies were eventually donated – five times what the campaign had generated three years prior.

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