Question: My product is meant for a teen market. What advice do you have for effectively connecting with such a young demographic?
Question by: Dana
"Bring on brand ambassadors in the younger target demographic who speak their language! Let them share and market your product for you. As they connect with their peers, you will gain a wider following for your product and you will begin to mirror the language they use to connect with this younger demographic. Have them guest post, blog and be an integral part of the marketing campaign."
Go to Their Turf
"Teens are more perceptive than ever. Avoid the hard sell in favor embedding your product into media and services they already consume. Consider creating a joint venture with a company/brand already serving your market. Above all else, keep your approach as organic as possible."
Create Incentives for Participation
"The best way to get younger folks involved and passionate about your product/service? Give them a reason to give a damn. Build an incentive program for participation, whether that be "badges" on FourSquare or some other incentive. When they're earning something and getting a pat on the back for being involved, there's all the more incentive to be that much more engaged with your product/service."
Go Through Their Parents
"It might sound crazy to reach teens through parents, but we get almost all of our teen audience and interns through parents who have told their teens about us. Often times parents can be a great back door into the teen market because they have influence over what their child buys, watches and consumes."
Get In Their Ear
"Teens love music -- they buy more recorded music than any other age demographic. Look for opportunities to sponsor recorded music and specifically look into the lucrative ringtone download business. Additionally, band tours and live events are great avenues to spend music related marketing dollars."
Use Social Influence
"Teens typically tune out advertisements and do not trust marketing messages. Rather, they turn to their own research and friends to when making purchasing decisions. Try first just being "cool" with some great funny teen relevant content and slowly work your message in subtly after building a relationship."
Engage YouTube Partners
"YouTube is one of the most popular sites for teens. On YouTube exist many partners who are being paid by YouTube to generate content, and some of these partners have a lot of subscribers/fans. If you can engage with the YouTube creator and involve them in the promotion of your product, you will see greater results than if you purchased Facebook ads, for example. Engage these savvy teens!"
Get in Their Head
"If you don't understand (or remember) exactly how a teen thinks, then find someone who does, immediately. Remember, they couldn't care less about what you care about. Think about what they care about and communicate to them the way they communicate. Use the same words, emoticons, tone, attitude, inflections -- everything."
Engage Them Online
"Marketers need to be where the Millennials are: online. This means engaging this young demographic through social media platforms. Depending on the product, it may be effective to create an online component where teens can purchase through the Internet. Teens today are more wired than ever, with the world available at their fingertips, and marketers must understand that to be noticed."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.