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Marketing to Teens

By business.com editorial staff,
business.com writer
| Updated
Mar 17, 2020
Image Credit: scyther5 / Getty Images
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When it comes to reaching young people, technology and trends are key.

  • To attract the attention of teens, find out how best to reach them, including what media they respond to, what products they're drawn to and what messages they'll listen to.
  • Teens enjoy sharing information, including product recommendations, with their friends and family.
  • Adopt a social cause. Teens appreciate companies and products that support good causes. 

It used to be that for small businesses, teenagers were a liability. Today's business owners know better. They see teenagers not as troublemakers, but rather a powerful group of American consumers. Here are four good reasons to market to teens:

  1. There will be approximately 33.5 million teens in the United States by 2010.
  2. The millennial generation averages $158 billion per year in disposable income.
  3. 17 % of teenagers are influencers who set trends and whose opinions matter to friends and family.
  4. Nearly 4 in 10 teens have a checking or savings account in their own name.

Here are some tips on marketing to teens.

1. Study the market.

Before launching a marketing campaign for teens, you need to find out how best to reach them, including what media they respond to, what products they're drawn to and what messages they'll listen to.

YouTube has a huge following by teens. Small Business Trends states more than 7 in 10 teens spend three hours a day or more watching videos online. You can use these videos to show what is new in your store and provide demonstrations of new products. You can also utilize this technology to help teens feel like they are part of your store. You can show behind-the-scenes videos that make them feel like they have an insider view of your company. 

2. Up your 'cool' factor.

To be popular among teen consumers, your business must have not only the coolest products, but also the newest ones. Succeed by being the first on your block to adopt and sell the latest technology and toys. You want to keep the attention of teens, and to do that, you must remain current. You have to understand the trends that have their attention. That can change quickly, so it is important for you to constantly be in the know what is trending. You can often take a popular item and refine it to meet the needs and attention of teens.

3. Go where they are.

Consider advertising in teen media, for instance, or marketing inside teen destinations, such as skateboard parks and concert venues. The best way to get the message to teens is to put in places where they will see it. Many teens spend a large portion of their time at school, so that may be a good place to start.

The Refuel Agency recommends displays that are integrated seamlessly in high school and colleges. You want them to be prominent, but not obtrusive. They recommend displays in well-traveled areas that will impact teens. You should consider digital displays, billboards and nontraditional media items. You could also sponsor a team at the school to get your name out there.

4. Tap into social networks.

Teens enjoy sharing information, including product recommendations, with their friends and family. Teens also are influenced by others on social media and their friends. If you can get feedback, posts and praise from teens on social media, it can help drive more business your way.

5. Embrace promotions.

Discounts, giveaways and contests are magnets for teen consumers. Increase traffic and purchases from young customers by organizing a cool promotion to generate enthusiasm and excitement among the teen demographic.

You can also use targeted marketing strategies across various social media platforms. You should have an understanding that the campaign is going to look different on each platform. Snapchat is a popular social media platform.

6. Support a cause.

Research has shown that teens appreciate companies and products that support good causes. Tap into teen activism – and give back to your community – by embracing philanthropy. Teens are socially conscious and want to be involved. Support causes they are interested in and that are meaningful to them. It is a good idea to support a large variety of causes and charities. 

7. Know the rules.

Before reaching out to minors, know the latest standards and best practices.

  • Marketing to teens often means marketing to their parents too. Appeal to both by offering cool products at reasonable prices.
  • Make customer loyalty your goal. If you make them happy when they're young, you'll keep customers coming back well into adulthood.
  • When marketing to millennials, keep authenticity top of mind; teens are likely to reject businesses they perceive as fake.
  • Don't assume that your teenage customers are identical; the teen market is incredibly diverse, and successful businesses acknowledge differences among peer groups.
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