How to Market to Teenagers: Play their game

 teens1Teenagers spend billions of dollars around the world  on clothes, games, food, mobile phones and other purchases. They have also become the most prolific users of the internet  and the most digitally literate age group  representing a viable market for online brands. Research also shows that most teenagers  are brand conscious  , identifying themselves with other peer groups via the brands that they consume.  However, in order to get their attention and to successfully market to teenagers, brands need to be aware of what makes them tick.

Teens are internet natives.  Information and entertainment that is not available online is a foreign concept to many teenagers in developed and developing countries.  They expect to find  everything on the internet and if your company does not have an internet presence, you will not get their attention. While in many instances they may not be able to make purchases on-line, but they are continuously browsing the internet in search of the latest trends. Make sure that your marketing communication  content is available in a variety of formats so that your brand can interact with teens on-line.

Adjust your tone. Don’t take the parental tone with teens as they will turn the tables on your brand. You should be prepared to listen to what they have to say. Let your online engagement be two-way so that they know that you are talking with them. Provide them with a fan page for them to voice their opinion on social networks. Learn to be a “fan” of teens.

Teens want to create content. Many teenagers are involved in one type of content creation or other.  Brands that offer teens the opportunity to create content on their sites will get their attention. This could be in the form of uploading photos, videos, writing stories or sharing ideas about products. Take a creative approach with teenagers.

Be seriously playful Teens love games because games provide them with the opportunity to win. Therefore  if  your company has a website or is on social networks, create opportunities for teens to play and enjoy themselves. Create polls, competitions, online games and quizzes that are associated with your brand so that they can identify with your products. Offer virtual prizes and coupons to keep them coming back to your site.

Ask for their feedback. Use marketing techniques  that ask for feedback from teenagers or that enable them to express themselves.  Allow them to provide your brand with information about their preferences , needs and wants , when coming up with new products and services.

Establish yourselves as a brand that cares. Start a cause or support one that  is popular amongst your target market. They will respond positively  to your brand if you support a cause that they also feel is important.

Create a solid brand that teenagers can depend on. Create  a core message that has several angles you can use and update. Teenagers preferences change continuously,  and to keep up with them may be difficult. However, if you have a core message, you can withstand the changes in the preferences of this target market.

Be creative with your content. Create new content that does not bore your target market. Teenagers  are restless at best and fickle at worst. Therefore your content should be responsive to  and also direct their thoughts to your brand.

Don’t assume that you know what teenagers want. Research is key  to providing  this target market  with what they want and value. So keep  your ear to the ground  all the time. Make them part of your research team by allowing them to participate in your focus groups and product development forums.

Get straight to the point. Teenagers have fairly short attention spans. Their attention will be diverted to other more interesting topics and activities  if your adverts are wishy washy , long-winded and boring.

Make your products and services easy to get. Market your products and services so that they are easy to get. Generally, teens will not have a lot of money or even transportation. If it seems that your products are too expensive or difficult to get to, they will not purchase from you.

Respect them Don’t’ talk down to teenagers  or tell them what is good for them. They will view this as condescending and will not choose to purchase your products.

Make sure that your marketing messages are something they can relate to. Make sure that they  can identify with the marketing messages that  you use otherwise they will not be able to associate themselves with your brand. Use teenagers in your marketing communications and adverts. If they think their peer groups don’t like your brand  or think that you don’t understand them, they won’t buy from you.

For marketing consultancy, contact Chipo at


About chipomaps

A brand reputation, marketing and new media trainer and consultant. Constantly curious, constantly learning.
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