Marketing to the Power of the Purse Consumer
[Series 4: “TEEN GIRLS”]
They are influencers — their opinions greatly influence their friends’ purchasing decisions and they enjoy sharing recommendations with their friends.
By Justine Castellon
BESTIES and SELFIES – the teenage market (age 12 to 17) has become a very important consumer segment in the global markets. And, teen girls are a robust part of the economy. They have significant allowances and savings of their own to spend and also wield increasing influence on household purchases.
Beyond the growth in the teen population, marketers cannot afford to ignore this market for numerous reasons. This growing powerbase of spenders and influencers are important because they:
- Have significant discretionary income/savings while spend family money as well by influencing their parents’ spending.
- Launch, affect and influence fashion, lifestyle, and overall trends.
- Maximize the technological advances.
Teen girls today are influential social connectors who seek out information about brands from a wide range of sources and share that information frequently in their social circles, using a mix of face-to-face interaction and social media. They are realistic and optimistic with a strong sense of individualism. They like to be in control but not to the point of cynicism.
Friendships play a big role in these girls’ purchasing decisions, followed by the fashion magazines, advertisements, and company websites and blogsites are the primary sources of information about products and brands.
Teen girls know they are influencers — their opinions greatly influence their friends’ purchasing decisions and they enjoy sharing recommendations with their friends. In fact they share almost everything, from books and magazines, movies and TV content to electronic devices. Moreover, their role in influencing household purchases is growing as parents rely on their advanced computer skills to research products online.
TEEN PURCHASING POWER AND THE VIRTUAL ECONOMY
Did you know that teen girls fund most of their own clothing, entertainment, and music purchases? Their parents are more likely to pay for items such as Internet access and cell phones. Tagged as the “mall rats” by older generation, it’s not surprising that shopping malls top the list of where they shop. However, online stores are emerging favorite shopping spots.
Because they are introduced to computers at an extremely early age, the Internet is a key resource of almost anything including schoolwork. Information from the web helps teens to fill in their knowledge gaps and point of purchase. For instance, teens can find out what is cool in fashion or music through the web.
They have access to evolving and new technologies — such as social media, instant messaging and smart phones. Majority of their time are dedicated to online activities – YouTube, Twitter, iFlix/Netflix – they consider the Internet their primary source of entertainment. They spend large amounts of time communicating electronically with peers: frequent, socializing online with friends. And, video chats replaced the traditional telephone conversation.
Their activities split between their real world and their virtual world where they have the freedom to experiment with different identities to see which ones fit best. The anonymity of the Internet allows them to truly be themselves. Due to the anonymity the virtual worlds can offer, they feel safe to experiment with multiple identities, and through these interactions, they can understand themselves and their world.
So, where are they spending their cash? And, how are we going to them?
- BE REAL. You have to be honest and upfront with what you’re doing.
Teen girls can stay anonymous, but still interact with the brand and learn about the product without a hard sell. They know if you’re trying to shove products in their face. They can sense inauthenticity so stick to who you are and what you’re offering. It’s best to be completely honest with your advertising communications – and your ads should be humorous and memorable. Cultivate a strong voice and create content to share on your social platforms.
- Choose the right brand ambassadors
Because of today’s digital age, it’s no surprise teen girls prefer YouTube stars to celebrities and follow their work closely. Connection is one word that’s used over and over again when teens describe their relationships with digital stars. Teens describe YouTubers as someone who is “just like me, understands me, someone I trust, has the best advice, doesn’t try to be perfect … and likes the same things I do.”
- Selfies Rule – so work with them
Most teen girls are addicted to taking selfies, which can run into millions and upload them on their pages on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Can you imagine those multiple brand exposures? Therefore, think of visual first when developing displays and packaging. Create cool as well as funny memes and images for content and platforms. Extend the life of branded content where appropriate. Take the video and turn it into shorter versions for Vine, Instagram, and then static content for Facebook and Twitter.
- Out with the ‘old’ – In with the ‘new’
Facebook’s popularity among teens continues to slip because adults (particularly their parents) are invading this social media platform. They don’t want their parents seeing their status updates. They want their news feed stays between peers, making it a more exclusive peer-to-peer platform. While Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat are growing in influence among the teen demographic, you need to stay on top of how social media platforms are doing among teenagers — and that means more involvement than an update every six months. Social media moves at the speed of light, so keep your marketing strategy for teens as fluid as possible. When the herd turns, you be the one in front of it — not trampled and left behind.
- Teen girls socialize in groups, not flocks
When they find a good deal, new brand or trend, they want to share it, however, they’re more interested in tipping off a friend than in broadcasting the information. The means by which girls tend to share this information is key. They pass along this information by SMS, direct message and private chats. When it comes to telling their friends or sisters about other important topics—fashion and style, entertainment and even social events—it’s clear that teen girls operate in segmented social networks. Incentivize the girls to share the information in their friends’ social media timelines instead of private message.
TEEN GIRLS HUNT FOR WHAT THEY WANT
Never forget that this market knows the parameters of what they want: brand and price. Because their budgets are limited, teenage girls look for sales and they tend to wait for items to go on sale before buying them. However, low price alone is not the primary consideration– if they can find a good brand at a fair price, they tend to justify costly purchases. When it comes to interaction with a brand about sales and special offers, teen girls prefer to be the active seeker rather than passive recipient. They show a clear preference for approaching a brand to find out about sales and special promotions versus having the brand approach them.
Brands have an opportunity to bring teen girls into their stores – both online and onsite –through customization. Girls are attracted by the ability to modify and personalize goods, and to do so as part of a team or with her best friend. Always remember that they will not compromise on brand. With more time than money, however, they will wait until they find their brand at their price. Therefore, offer the right brands at the right prices—and those must be presented in the right ambience, where the girls can feel comfortable enough to engage in the social experience of shopping.
Other Marketing to the Power of the Purse Consumer Series:
WHAT WOMEN WANT? [Series 1: “30 SOMETHINGS”]
TWEENING THE GIRL POWER [Series 2: “TWEEN GIRLS”]
THE WISE WOMEN [Series 3: “THE GOLDEN AGE”]
BESTIES & SELFIES [Series 4: “TEEN GIRLS”]
GENERATION Y NOT [Series 5: “20 SOMETHING”]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Justine Castellon is an independent brand strategist, a business writer and founder of The Market Place 2.1 and Company. She provides creative thinking and interpretation of consumer and market insights. You may reach her Justine.firstname.lastname@example.org | Follow her at www.twitter.com/marketplace21
All images are courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/