After attending the Ypulse conference in San Francisco earlier this week, I've come to realize a few things about teens, tweens and the marketers who want them in their back pocket.
It seems like today's marketers are falling into the same potholes our predecessors did: trying to deconstruct cool, relying too heavily on surveys, and forgetting that before we're marketers, we're consumers.
We've been consumers all our lives. That experience is our biggest trump card.
Another thing we don't realize is that generations of kids, teens and adults also fall for the same potholes their predecessors did. What we need to remember is, no matter what age we are, we all suffer from a bit of age elitism.
Generally speaking, today:
- Tweens, that precious window between 9 and 12, are probably the only individuals that will ever fully buy into our manufactured teen shit. And that's because they're young and want to be teens so badly, they'll swallow anything that looks remotely teen-like.
The problem is, this age window is small. And with the internet changing the way people consume knowledge, it's only going to get smaller as new generations of tweens get savvier.
- Teens have always tried to skew slightly older than their actual age. Fifteen-year-old girls don't read Teen; they read Seventeen, Cosmo and even Maxim - mags that skew more closely to college-level demographic, or so they think.The good thing about teens is, generally speaking, they still follow mainstream music and trends.
Just don't overthink your pitch!
- In a quest to solidify their identities once and for all, college co-eds shed their mainstream media love affairs and start dipping into indie films and music.
But mere love of foreign fare does not a worldly student make. College kids also love - love - their parents' and grandparents' pop music hits. I don't know if this is just an Echo Boomer thing or if it has always been the case.
I think if we can bear in mind that we all share a similar superiority complex (and perhaps that's too strong of a term), maybe it'll help us better address one another. This is something that transcends technology and trends.