Organisations that want to drive long-term customer loyalty have been encouraged to engage with the youth market. According to Joe Morgan, Director of Strategy at Matter of Form, under-14s have accounted for a declining share of the worldwide demographic spread for the last 50 years.
This, he said, means some brands could be tempted to remove the youth segment from their growth plans. However, Mr Morgan believes the figures do not tell the whole story, as there have been many changes in how young people engage with the wider world since the 1960s. For instance, he said technology has advanced considerably, the face of the modern family unit is evolving all the time and attitudes to the importance of the formative years in human development have changed.
Mr Morgan stated that this has had an impact on how parents raise their offspring, which in turn has affected how young people relate to the world around them. “The result [is] a more mature and more independent children’s segment with more purchase power and influence over the traditional decision-makers of the household than ever before,” he commented.
As a result, Mr Morgan believes brands could benefit from making a concerted effort to engage with the youth market. “Brands looking to stay ahead need to take action now if they are to harness the power of this market,” he said. “Leave it too long and the opportunity, like the technologies we’re using, will be a distant memory.”
Mr Morgan acknowledged that children are far more tech-savvy now than at any point in the past – which is why brands are spending so much money on targeting them through digital platforms. However, he insisted that digital marketing does not always guarantee success and that the key to getting great results is creating a relevant and well thought through campaign. Furthermore, he said firms need to deliver an “on-brand set of interactions and experiences” in order to drive “real value” from their promotional drives.
“Children no longer seem to be the innocent, naive and unaware beings that they once were seen to be,” Mr Morgan continued. “They have a greater comprehension of the world around them, and greater access to the nuances of brand behaviour.” He said this means they expect much more from organisations than they might have done in the past, with “gimmicky” campaigns often not carrying as much weight as they may have done a few years ago. Instead, Mr Morgan believes brands need to be authentic and be seen to be living in accordance to the views they espouse.
Organisations were advised that doing is now more important than saying when it comes to successfully engaging with young people. Mr Morgan said this why brands must act sooner rather than later if they want to “tap into this lucrative market”. He added that firms are focusing more and more on the power that young people currently hold – and that how they use technology could be critical in winning them over.
Posted by Robin McCrink