Over the weekend, I saw a commercial where children were sitting around talking about how much they love to read. Instead of showing them flipping through the pages of an actual book, however, they were holding up Kindles! With recent studies showing that more toddlers can play a computer game (58%) than ride a bike, it’s time to face the fact that children growing up in our high-tech world are going to experience everything in a much different way than I and many other generations have. The Kindle commercial got me thinking – what does all of this mean for marketers?
The facts below illustrate key findings and how the information can be translated in a way that may help marketers to target younger generations as they come of age in this new, technology-centered world.
Fact: 58% of boys and 59% of girls can play a computer game or make a mobile call (28% boys, 29% girls). This means that the tech gender divide between boys and girls is almost nonexistent. Takeaway: There may be less gender stereotyping with online and mobile advertisements in the future. This may mean larger and more diverse markets for products and services that typically were marketed mainly to one specific gender in the past. Additionally, both men and women will be equally accessible through mobile and internet channels of communication.
Fact: More than half (51%) of six to nine year-olds use some type of children’s social network, including Webkinz and Club Penguin. Takeaway: Many individuals today still insist that social networking sites such as Facebook will die out over time. This fact, however, proves that social networks will continue to become an important form of communication for children in the future. The sense of community that they find through these sites, and the opinions and experiences that they find on there, means an even higher likelihood that friends, family and acquaintances in these networks will play large roles in how they perceive brands and products.
Fact: 7% of babies and toddlers have an email address created for them by their parents. Takeaway: It can be assumed that most children in this age will have several email accounts: a personal email set up by them or their parents, a school email address and possibly a work email address down the road. The personal email will always be the most important, and they will be maintaining these email accounts for a much longer time than any of us have so far. Because of that, email marketing will need to be eye-catching, relevant and infrequent in order to grab their attention. Otherwise, they’ll just learn to filter everything that they don’t want to see.
Fact: Almost half (47%) of eight and nine year-olds talk to their friends online. Takeaway: When’s the last time that you saw someone showing their friend something that they found in a newspaper? The days of sharing tangible news items are over. In our world, and in the world of future generations, information will continue to be transferred quickly from one person to another via online communication. This means that a brand’s online presence must not only be informational but entertaining as well in order for it to be shared. A good example of this is the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” commercial, which has exceeded more than 45 million views on YouTube. At the end of the day, however, it is still a product advertisement.
Fact: The rise of the internet is strengthening our ability to scan information rapidly and efficiently. Children are becoming more skilled in where to find things and less skilled in actually remembering information. Takeaway: Future generations aren’t going to remember exactly where they see an advertisement online. They will, however, remember how to find it again if it sparks their interest! Providing valuable product information and creating engaging, memorable content will be the best way to grab the attention of future generations. Since younger generations will be used to quickly scanning sites for information, high quality, colorful images will play a very important role in how to draw them in.
Technology and communications are changing, and they will continue to change. Marketing to a younger generation will be a challenge. Will your business be ready for the generations to come?