Monday, August 11, 2008

Marketing to Teens

According to Teenage Research Unlimited, teens spent $176 billion last year, flexing their significant buying power muscle. In a typical week, these teens spend an average 12.5 hours online, which is more time than they spend watching television. The question for today’s marketers is, how do we reach the kids who are always “plugged in”?

Facebook and MySpace are social networking sites that have established a pervasive presence in the lives of teens. These outlets can prove challenging for marketers who have previously relied on mall promotions and free concert tickets to reach teens, but it can be done if marketers use social media effectively. For example, when Apple recently launched the much-anticipated iPhone 3G, its marketing strategy included an iPhone fan site on Facebook where any one of its more than 132,000 fans can access top songs and albums, new music releases, post comments and questions on the wall, and more. Within the first three days of sales, Apple sold one million iPhone 3Gs – not solely due to its Facebook presence, but in part because they connected to their fans in a meaningful way beyond traditional ads.

c21 recently hosted Mike Haines, Facebook’s southeast regional director, at our lunch n’ learn for clients. He revealed that the site has more than 200,000 new users each day, with 43 percent of all users between 18 and 24 years of age. Marketers who partner with Facebook can access deep user demographics on the site and use them to create applications, advertising campaigns, event notices, photo albums and more to appeal to teens on Facebook. For examples, Victoria’s Secret PINK has a well-developed fan site where the company posts promotions, widgets, photos and videos – it’s a one-stop shop for customers who love the clothing line, and they can connect with others who have similar tastes. Overall, Facebook visitors are spending an average of 167 minutes a month on the site – that’s a captive audience if I’ve ever heard of one.

c21 is currently working on a branded Facebook page for University House (UH), which provides off-campus student housing at colleges across the country. While many of the brand’s individual communities already have groups and fan sites, we are developing a page that conveys the UH brand while incorporating elements of each community. Once complete, we’ll drive prospects to the branded UH page through e-mail marketing and direct mail pieces, where they’ll find links to the individual communities.

c21 knows a thing or two about social media and interactive marketing. c21i, our dedicated digital services practice, helps clients stay current with effective Web-based interactive marketing strategies. Our services include e-mail marketing (speaking of which, have you signed up for our e-newsletter?), pay-per-click advertising programs, search engine optimization, blogging, Webinars and Web site design. We also have experience integrating clients’ products and services into social media, including Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube as part of an overall campaign. As we create case studies on client successes, please come back to visit.