Two Words: Event Marketing
Put a sample of a product in a teenager's hand and, sure, if they like it, they are more likely to purchase versus sight unseen. Give that same teen a sample and an experience with the brand and the purchase intent increases even more. Event marketing has taken product sampling and given it 3-D and surround-sound. It gives brands a chance to create an experience based memory.
Event marketing allows a brand to hand-pick the most appropriate venue to reach a very specific consumer and tailor its activation to fit that lifestyle. Teens are like wolves; they travel in large packs. Where you see one indie rock-loving, skinny jean-wearing teen, or young fashionista, you are bound to see dozens or hundreds more. This makes it easy to pick and choose where a brand can tap into, and successfully execute event marketing. However, as event marketing creates a more lasting impression, it is just as easy for that impression to be negative versus positive. There are a few key points to keep in mind when utilizing events to market to teens successfully.
Event marketing gives a brand a lot of freedom to get a little crazy. Teens have become very discerning. The key is to thoroughly research the likes and dislikes of the group of teens you are specifically targeting. For instance, if you are going after 15-year-old baseball playing males, trucker hats with the brand on them as a premium would be a huge miss. Teens can see right through poorly researched and executed brand marketing attempts, especially when it's experiential. There's little room for error.
Don't Hold Back.
If you are going to use the awesome power of event marketing, do it right. Work with a creative team or agency that specializes in youth marketing or, even more specifically, the target market within the teen demographic. If you are sponsoring an event, don't cut corners on execution. If you are executing a buzz or guerilla strategy, make sure you aren't doing something that's been done before ... they will know.
Think Outside the Box.
Even if your brand is at the right location or event, if it's a boring execution, it will be dollars wasted. Beyond authenticity, it needs to be original. Take the 30-foot space you have at an event, and figure out how your key brand attributes can maximize that space in a non-traditional way. Find one word that best describes your product and free associate. Sometimes the best promotion of a product and its key attributes is not the most obvious one. Having the ability to create an experience with the brand broadens the potential ways of carrying out the messaging.
Event marketing has truly opened up a world of opportunity when marketing to the teen demographic. It is one of the few avenues of marketing that gives you the opportunity to provide a tangible, experiential memory. When done properly, event marketing can give your brand that little something extra that translates into purchase intent and sales.