The Future of Marketing? How to Tap into Youth Digital Trends … Before It’s Too Late
By Jori Clarke, CEO Circle 1 Network, Publisher, KidsCom.com
As more of us marketing and communications professionals get familiar with Facebook, Twitter and texting on our Smartphones, it is easy to sit back and say, “Oh yeah baby, we got this stuff all figured out!” However, unless you are planning on retiring in the next 12 months, I suggest you don’t slow down your digital learning curve and get too comfortable.
Why? Because devices like tablets and Google Goggles and content techniques such as gamification, social worlds and augmented reality are going to soon have another major impact on how communications and marketing are done.
If you don’t believe me, check out your future customer who can’t read your message yet but already is literally standing on the edge of his stroller to engage with the touch screen experiences of a tablet.
Learning through games and simulations, socializing using visual connections and virtual worlds; and going to more brick and mortar locations that have QR code embedded Smart Signs all mean that we are going to be integrating our digital lives into our real lives on a growing basis.
But no you say, that is far off in the future. Well, I invite you to stop and look around. What do you observe? Can you find a 20 something or a teenager that isn’t texting continually during the day?
Then go a generation and a tech skill level deeper, take a look at what tweens and kids are doing that go beyond texting. They are playing with toys that come to life and have avatar identities. They are downloaded apps and engaging with free software to make movies in virtual worlds and posting them to YouTube. Here’s an example:
While mobile staying “always connected” or gathering location based content with their parents or their own mobile devices, these tweens then continue on at home with computers leading avatar teams on quests to raise real money for causes they care about, uploading their own marketing messages as well doing “purchase practice” buying and selling goods in-world. They are constantly talking and viewing each other – their virtual identities merging into their real world lives.
And the generation behind them? Check out the parents of the pre-school crowd who are using tablets and smart phones at restaurants to keep their toddlers busy. Need I say more. Kids are a good barometer of where technology is going for marketing and messaging, not to mention they are a big influence on purchases in their households.
For the most part, today’s youth are living a digitally integrated life.
- According to the last Kaiser Family Foundation study series, 8 to 18 year-olds devoted an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day. More than 53 hours a week – that’s more time than they spend in school.
- According to estimates by Cisco, by 2016 there will be 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use globally. With the world population expected to be 7.3 billion in 2016, that equates to 1.4 devices per person on the planet.
- A 2011 study from Common Sense Media found that half (52%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have access to a new mobile device such as a Smartphone, video iPod, or iPad/tablet.
So why is this important to you and your marketing and communication messages? The answers:
- New message delivery opportunities can create emotional bonds with brands: Better than telling with text or showing with video, product messaging through virtual world placement, situation simulations and mobile game play immersions allows the user to interact with and experience your brand in ways that make it familiar and approachable in its real life setting.
- Your brand messaging should be understandable to a 10 year old: Adults may not have time to read what you send them, but they always make time to see what their kids want to show them. Make a brand learning experience that kids can create and interact with and they’ll make sure that Mom, Dad, Grandma and Uncle John take a look.
- Play adoption with brands is cross generational: While traditional marketing banners and article messaging may be ignored, both kids and the adults around them embrace product placement in virtual worlds as making the experience more realistic. Virtual purchasing play can facilitate real purchase experiences.
So you say how do I know where to start?
- Hear about brand experiences at the Digital Kids conference happening in Los Angeles April 25 and 26 where insight is provided from those who do research on youth and family behavior or have brands with trials in play.
- Test out QR code signage by downloading a free web app scanner for your phone, and check out where these are popping up in more real world locations. You can do that here.
- Make yourself an avatar on one of the family oriented virtual world social communities and experience for yourself what the social dynamics and product placement possibilities are.
So climb on the edge of your digital stroller and get playing like a kid. Anyone want to join me for an augmented reality exer-game so we can work off some calories as we bond with real brands in the virtual world?
For more information on what can be created for brands with virtual worlds, simulations and augmented reality for your brand, please contact Jori Clarke CEO of Circle1Network publisher of KidsCom.com at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 414.271.5437. Jori is CEO of Circle 1 Network, which specializes in reaching children and families around the globe through innovative digital strategies that integrate with hands-on learning experiences. The company launched their first Web site for kids in 1995 and their work has since evolved to virtual world, mobile and location based gaming.
Published: April 18, 2012 By: