My Musings: Thoughts on Tweens and the Mashup (I want to go)
WidgetCon was fun, and even as I continue to roll around ideas and chew on all the commentary, I am looking forward to another conference that I have been excitedly monitoring: The YPulse Tween Mashup. Why? Because if you haven’t noticed, over the last few years there has been an onslaught of clever and at times insidious campaigns targeted at Tweens that hit them where they play the most: online and on their mobile devices.
My wildest dreams do not involve figuring out how to successfully sell things to children. If that is your dream, hey – dreams help you to get up in the morning. My dreams involve figuring out ways to accomplish everything on “the list” and making positive contributions in the lives of young people. I have a very strong interest in the ways that social media tools are transforming the adolescent experience and formation of identity. I feel a certain responsibility to understand how my actions, and the actions of any employer, are helping to empower (and screw up) teen spaces, online and off line. I am interested in learning more about how “big media” and “new media” brands are leveraging social media tools to reach their young audience, developing offline brand extensions, and reviewing real data on safety features and case studies. Why? Because when you care about your content, you should care about how it’s been shared, interpreted, and co-opted by your many audiences.
Tweens more than any other demographic strongly define their identities through their musical tastes, favorite clothing brands, books, movies, creative outlets, and (most importantly) by how others judge them. In their online worlds, they are at once afforded infinite freedom of expression while (when electing to participate in such sites) choosing to be constantly monitored. These kinds of contradictions are incredibly fascinating to me. (check out this compiled list of research on social network sites – Dana Boyd)
I want to know how all these parental controls effect their tastes/purchasing decisions, restrict/re-route their creativity, and what the long term effects of being constantly monitored could be.
But most importantly, I want to understand the tactics that companies are using to inspire brand loyalty in the Tween space, because eventually all these overstimulated young buyers, empowered to react and with endless information at their fingertips,Â are going to snap and start some sort of revolution and I want to be one of the geezers they spare. A post MySpace sympathizer. 🙂 Joking, but not really.
Ypulse is the leading independent blog for teen/youth media and marketing professionals that has been featured is some of my favorite magazines such as Fast Company, BusinessWeek, and Forbes. Anastasia Goodstein, Publisher, recently completed a book about teens and technology called “Totally Wired,” published by St. Martin’s Press.
Here are some interesting quotes on the topic of marketing to Tweens/Teens:
– I may think some of these are disgusting but still worth noting
“Tweens are discerning consumers. They think a lot about what they are going to wear, whether their outfit matches their peach-sparkle nail polish, how clothes sit with a teal-colored cellphone (‘Can you believe Mom didn’t know what color teal is?’), what kind of sushi they are going to eat, and what to read after books like ’30 Guys in 30 Days.'” – from Roger Cohen’s New York Times OpEd “Twixt 8 and 12, the Tween”
“Teens are wired different than any another consumer group. They navigate through media clutter with a heightened “BS” meter to sniff out hidden advertising agendas. In a post-scarcity media world, there is no shortage of brands or media pipeline channels. Attention is the new scarcity. Loyalty, trust and affinity become the new pipeline.” – WhatTeensWant
The most important thing in a secret agent, says Groppe, is “that her peers trust her opinion. â€¦ We have to approve them. You know, important strategic business decisions are being made off of this 8-year-old and her friends, so we have to make sure she’s the right one.” – How marketing firm GIA uses young girls to sell products to their friends
…Youth Trends has also studied tween media consumption, and it found that 40% of those surveyed said that they think going on the Internet is better than watching TV. Slightly more girls than boys feel that way. – emarketer on the topic of Tweens and Multitasking