Now there is an opening sentence that got my attention. I found it in a recent Knowledge at Wharton newsletter – which actually started as follows:
“How do you market to an audience that is skeptical of traditional advertising, very media savvy, and possessed of short attention spans? And how do you turn a product that is highly dependent on seasonal sales into a product of choice year-round?”
That summarizes the fundamental problem which most marketers are facing today – and except for the seasonal part – that is true for both B2C and B2B companies (and to a certain extend for C2C commerce as well – i.e., eBay, Craig’s list, etc.).
While the article focuses primarily on teens, the lessons learned are true for any segment:
- speak their language (don’t have 20 year olds write ad copy for aging boomers – even if you have pictures of older people)
- identify their latest trends
- find the optimal ways to target them
Some of the conclusions are a bit more puzzling to me – like:
“Teens are an enormously important segment because they are disproportionately powerful in terms of being trend setters and early adopters”
…huh…I thought the percentage of early adopters was the same – regardless of age group. Maybe I need to go back and revisit my copy of Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers…
They also talk about real life experiences and best practices from a set of panelists who participated in one of their recent conferences, some of which are quite interesting – like this one from Doritos (Frito Lays):
“When an advertisement that featured male teens looking up girls’ skirts proved offensive, it was pulled the first day. “We really thought this was the way to talk to 19-year-old boys, but the problem was that we focused on 4% of the population and basically offended” the other 96%, she said (the product manager at Frito Lay that is)”
…aha…so 4% of teenage boys actually like looking up girls’ skirts – fascinating, don’t you think?
The article closes with a quote from the CEO at Hershey: “realize that neither brands nor leaders are industry neutral. Brands either create energy with consumers or they sap energy; leaders do likewise.”
I buy the leader piece of that statement – but have you ever seen a brand that saps energy?