How to market to children ethically and effectively

DATE:April 25, 2017

Believe it or not, kids represent a very important demographic. For starters, there are a lot of them—Generation Z is made up of 61.2 million kids ranging from toddlers to high school age. Older kids, tweens and teens, also wield their own purchase power—both younger and older kids have a strong influence on their parents shopping habits and purchase decisions while living at home.

According to the 2008 YTV Kids and Tweens Report, kids have influence over the following:

  • Breakfast choices (97% of the time) and lunch choices (95% of the time).
  • Where to go for casual family meals (98% of the time, with 34% of kids always having a say on the choice of casual restaurant).
  • Clothing purchases (95% of the time).
  • Software purchases (76% of the time) and computer purchases (60% of the time).
  • Family entertainment choices (98% of the time) and family trips and excursions (94% of the time).

More recent research from 2015 shows that teens have an equally strong stay in how their parents spend their money:

  • Which fast-food restaurants to go to (95%).
  • Types of out-of-home entertainment/sports/recreation to attend or do (93%).
  • Where to shop for clothes for the teen (90%).
  • Which sit-down restaurants to go to (88%).

Relating to them

To effectively market to kids, companies must understand kids from a psychology standpoint. Today, there is a plethora of research that analyzes children’s behavior, fantasies, artwork, relationships and even their dreams. Use this research to craft marketing strategies that reach kids at their level and work to create a valued relationship between your brand and its youngest customers. You must also remember a brand must appeal to the children’s caregivers as well as them. This means planning marketing strategies that target both kids and the adults in their lives.

Brand recognition among children is also key in receiving their dollars. According to the Center for a New American Dream, brand loyalties can be established in children as young as two and only grows as they attend school and socialize. The even better news? If you capture their loyalty at a young age, that’s a good chance these individuals will remain customers into their adult years. In many product categories, over 25% of brand preference persist from childhood to adulthood.

Marketing ethically

Since children are easily impressionable and trusting, the number one concern for brands marketing to kids should be honesty. A straightforward and honest approach to marketing is your best bet when targeting kids. And thanks to the wealth of information available to them via the internet, today’s kids and tweens (and the parents you must also win over!) see brands more transparently than previous generations.

We write a lot about print marketing trends as well as topics such as direct mail and graphic design on our blog. Check it out!

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