Your Target Market Is Too Old
by Chad Rueffert

You can call them anything you want. They’ve been labeled Generation Y, Netsumers, Netizens, Clickeratti, the Wired Generation and many others.  But no matter what you call them, the target audience of teen and pre-teen consumers is the hottest market on the planet.  If you haven’t already created a strategy for tapping into this market, here are some motivating reasons nobody can afford to ignore.

How Does 300 Billion Dollars Sound?

Over the next few years, the spending influence of the 9-17 year old consumer will reach as high as $300 billion.  This is not a niche market.  In fact it may very well become the biggest consumer market of all.  In an Entrepreneur magazine article, Karen Bokran, publisher and founding editor of Girls’ Life magazine said, “Whichever group has the largest number of people drives the culture.  The only other comparable group to today’s youngsters is their parents – the baby boomers – and who the hell wants to talk about them anymore?”

Mom, I Want One of Everything!

The 2000 World Almanac says that middle-income American families spend approximately 20% of their annual income on their youngest child.  By targeting these younger children you are not only affecting their buying habits, but those of the parents as well.  Parents are more frequently giving up the decision making power to their kids for every day items purchased for the whole family.  Kids choose which restaurants to visit, which movies to see, where to vacation.  Influencing kids means influencing families.

Get Them Now, Keep Them for Life. 

Did you ever notice that the 35 and older crowd still wear Levi’s jeans?  Of the 8 pairs of jeans my 11 year old daughter has, not even one is a Levi brand.  But it would not be surprising if 25 years from now she still buys from the brands she loves today.  When you target a young market, you create a loyal consumer with 60+ years of buying power ahead of them. 

Take Advantage of the Innocence of Youth

It goes without saying that the younger your target market is, the fewer preconceived notions they will have about your product or industry.  Younger consumers are far more open to new and innovative products and to new brands.  Convincing a 65-year old woman to change the hairspray she’s been using for 30 years is much more difficult than influencing a 12 year old girl who has never even used hairspray before.  Plus, the pre-teen girl is unlikely to have any interest in a product used by her grandmother.  If you want to compete with an established brand, targeting the younger consumer can give you an edge.

Kids Are The Same Everywhere

The youngest generation will truly be the most global generation yet.  Television, movies and the Internet will ensure that what kids are buying in the United States, kids will be buying all across the world.  And in most countries, the buying power and influence of the youth market is just as pervasive as it is here.  In China, they’ve labeled their pre-teen market the “Little Emperors” and, according to Asian Economic News, families in urban areas are spending at least half their disposable incomes to satisfy the demands of children.  A survey by China Mainland Marketing Research Company revealed that pre-teens in China’s cities spend a total of $422.71 million every month.  In a typical Chinese family of three, 80% said spending on the one child exceeded spending for both adults.  The younger generation is not known as the “Wired Generation” for nothing.  More and more of their purchases and purchasing decisions will be made online.  With Internet credit card purchasing and worldwide delivery services you can reach out to the youth market all over the world.

Your Competition is Already Targeting Kids

Now is the time to create a strategy for reaching the world’s youth because otherwise your competition will beat you to it.  Major retailers and advertisers all across the world are already focusing their efforts on this market.  Companies like Pottery Barn, Gap and DKNY are creating divisions called Pottery Barn Kids, Gap Kids and DKNY Kids.  To create that long-lasting consumer, you’ll need to get first position in their minds, and that means implementing a strategy now!