The “Kid-fluence”

Have you ever thought about the purchase power that children have? We all know that once kids are in the picture, it’s ALL about them. Kids have a direct influence on where the family goes to dinner, the groceries they buy, even the vehicle that the family drives. The ‘pester power’ of a child is even stronger than the influence of parents wanting something for themselves. One marketing study even found that 52% of three-year-olds and 73% of four-year-olds often, or almost always, asked their parents for specific brands. You’ve seen it too. You are at the grocery store picking up your box of Wheaties and down just a little ways, temper-tantrum ensues when the Cap’n Crunch with Extra Berries didn’t get added to the cart. (We feel ya there, kid.)

Societal changes such as the shift of mothers working outside the home and increase in single-parent families also have given children more responsibility, and more direct-purchasing power. This influence over decision-making comes down to billions of dollars a year of ‘kid-purchase power’. In fact, the CFC reports that children under the age of 12 influence $500 billion in purchases per year. While that may seem overwhelming, there are a few tips and tricks to be successful at marketing to children.

#1 Make it Pop

It shouldn’t be as secret to anyone that kids love to be entertained. They gravitate towards anything that can hold onto their attention for more than a few minutes (and we know parents love when that happens too). To get this generation’s attention among the 30,000 advertisements they see per year, you have to be FAR from cookie-cutter.

A great way to stand out is to give them a chance to interact with your brand and, heck, even become a part of it! Target hit this bulls-eye last year with their back-to-school campaign. Who knows the mind of a kid more than a kid, right? Their commercials were directed, styled and written by kids themselves. Not only did this ad series show commercials brilliantly thought up by kids, but it shared the stories of the children who created them, providing a chance for audiences to relate to their lives.

#2 Make it Ethical

When marketing to children, it’s important to remember how impressionable they are. You don’t want to be the one responsible for corrupting future generations with your advertising tactics, or exploiting the vulnerability of children. (Or at least we desperately hope you don’t!). Marketers have the power to use their dollars to not only advertise but to teach strong lessons to children, while creating some brand awareness at the same time.

After their stint of bad publicity with food cleanliness scares, Chipotle took a stance to promote clean eating and the importance of food safety. They slyly marketed the organic nature of their food products and ingredients with the series ‘RAD Lands’. The series’ underlying message is aimed to teach kids about making healthier decisions with their diet. Making better choices about diet is a message children will hold onto and they don’t even realize they’re being taught. They learn a lesson, Chipotle gets a sale. Win-win.

#3 Create Life-long Customers

No one is born with a particular flavor for one brand over another. This is taught to them, conditioned in them by marketers. A baby doesn’t come into the world thinking that Nike brand tennis shoes are their favorite. You can beat these brands out, if you can catch the eye of the consumers during their most impressionable times. And you’ll create a customer for life at the same time.

Take lessons from the brands like Target, who let the kids take the reigns and generate their own content. Beat out these big brands and generate your own brand ambassadors from a young age. Use them in your market research, and gain and understanding of their likes and dislikes.

Being at top-of-mind awareness requires you to get on your consumers level—both physically and mentally. Know where they are, where they spend their time and the social platforms they may choose to engage on. But you need to learn to speak their language too. Your campaign is no good if you can’t talk their talk.  

Do you have a specific target market that you’re trying to reach? Give us a shout and see if we can help at!