Upon getting to author my first article for Engage:Teens, I asked my 14-year-old son, “What is something about teens you would like people to understand?” His response: “We’re lazy, and that’s okay.”
On the surface, it sounds like an inflammatory stereotype and more like an adult misperception than a truth from the mouth of a teenager. Then, I realized that he meant teens today are going to find shortcuts and workarounds, and that’s okay. That doesn’t make them lazy in the derogatory (adult) sense of the word.
Pinned with monikers that include Generation M (for multitasking) and Generation ADD, today’s teens are about expedient utility.
Bill Gates is rumored to have said, "I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job … because he will find an easy way to do it." Whether correctly quoted or not, it’s a sentiment quite a few programmers endorse. Simplicity and ease is prized in programming — and prized by teens raised with technology.
What does this mean for brands looking to earn a slice of $43 million in teen spending, roughly $4,000 annually per teen?
Keep it short.
Remember, teens are likely engaging in multiple simultaneous exchanges of information. Make sure they can get your message within the time and attention they will allot your brand.
Make it useful.
Teens are tuned in to utility and their marketing b.s. meters are pretty sensitive. Give them an exchange in which they can easily see the benefit to them.
Help them achieve their goals.
It is not fair to call teens lazy, but I think my son’s observation was on-target. Even the most industrious teen grew up with calculators, computers and on-demand entertainment. Expediency and efficiency are the norms even when ambitions are big. Help teens see your brand as one that knows what they want and can help them get it … fast.