Keeping It Simple: Marketing To Tweens On A Shoestring

Let's start with some basics ... America's tweens spend billions of their own dollars each year on purchases for themselves, and also have considerable influence over major family purchase decisions. They are Internet-savvy, highly social consumers. Not surprisingly, thousands of marketers are trying to attract their attention when they go online. Building truly engaging content is the single most effective way to reach these potential customers. Nothing can replace the power of truly meaningful content that matters to tweens. Once that is in place, it is important to consider some realities when addressing this cohort, which generally includes kids ages 8 to 14.

 

1. Tweens jump around. They do not sit still, and they do not spend all their time in one environment. But they do spend a LOT of time on the Internet. You need to be where they are most of the time, which is everywhere on the Internet.

2. Tweens want a voice. Your site should give them plenty outlets, so let them manage their own accounts, create content, easily post their opinions. This content can be very influential because as any of you know who are raising a person of this age, tweens listen to each other more than anyone else.

3. Tweens have an endless appetite for interaction. It is important to give them a means to connect with others and talk to each other... whether it be chat, a forum or sharing tools.

Let me now recommend a free tool that can help you capture the attention of tweens and addresses these characteristics. A few months ago we created our own community toolbar using Conduit and we are really happy with the results. Here is why I like it:

  • Our users are online all the time and community toolbar helps to keep our brand there all the time ... wherever they go. The toolbar puts the Cartoon Doll Emporium brand in the browser window of our customers and so no matter where they go on the Internet, there we are. I don't have to wait for them to come to my site anymore.
  • It is not an intrusive communication tool (tweens don't like to be "marketed to") and we were able to put all of our features on it that we know our tweens like best (games, chat, private messages, reputation points, profiles, friends, etc.) and so it's really sticky.
  • Our community toolbar also enables us to be immediately responsive to requests and feedback from the tweens. If they want a new feature on the toolbar, we can usually add it in minutes and the updates pushes live instantly to every toolbar.
  • It's free and it's on-demand, so it can be scalable and grow with us. Our CDE toolbar works just as well for 100,000 users as with 100.
Tags: demographics
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6 comments about "Keeping It Simple: Marketing To Tweens On A Shoestring ".
  1. Ashley Hart from Ashley Hart Marketing , December 2, 2008 at 1:05 p.m.

    How did you initially reach the tween market for customer acquisition to get the tweens to download your community toolbar?

    Did you do PPC, viral, affiliate, direct advertising, email, etc.? Can you please share what channels were most successful for you in acquisition, before the community toolbar was available to the tweens?

    Thanks.

  2. Rebecca Ryan hunter from By Kids For Kids , December 2, 2008 at 1:21 p.m.

    Can you talk a bit about COPPA and how you approach the user registration process and feature list? While we have an extra layer of complexity at By Kids For Kids (that is, we run competitions that engage kids in idea generation and intellectual property), I am interested in others' best practices for protection in areas like chat and messaging.

    Thanks.

  3. Darcy Cobb from Dotted Line Communications , December 2, 2008 at 2:41 p.m.

    Thanks for an informative piece on interacting with this captive audience. One thing that is important to keep in mind when Web sites and marketers look to engage the tween audience is keeping the site safe and appropriate for this age group (especially in our YouTube generation). We work with Girl Ambition, an online community which is focused on engaging this very audience with Internet tools and games while keeping the experience safe—serving a need for both kids and their parents. Your tips are definitely helpful as we continue to build out site content--thanks for the insight!

  4. Fabienne Van dillen from JuniorSenior , December 2, 2008 at 5:57 p.m.

    Children love to play games. When you have new games on the website regularly, they have a reason to come back regularly. It is simple indeed, all you need is good content.

  5. Perry Donham from KidPub Press , February 25, 2009 at 10 a.m.

    Just ran across this article, sorry to be late to the party!

    Rebecca, one of the ways we manage COPPA at KidPub (www.kidpub.com) is to require a paid membership to post stories. This has a couple of effects. First of course is that it allows us to use a credit card transaction or check to satisfy the COPPA requirement of adult permission. More to your point, thought, it is a reminder to the kids who use the site that inappropriate behavior can lead to either a suspension or cancellation of their membership.

    The result of this is that the members are well-behaved and help police the site...when something inappropriate shows up, it doesn't take long for members to let us know if we haven't seen the material yet.

    In fourteen years of running KidPub, we've only had to revoke two of the thousands of memberships. I think this speaks a lot to the maturity and responsibility of our members (the median age is 12).

  6. Steven Gerard , March 10, 2009 at 1:04 p.m.

    I would like to suggest to those marketers targeting tweens, my company has a celebrity mall tour program. We utilize enormously popular stars from popular Disney and Nick shows and have them appear at malls for the brand. I would be happy to illustrate highlights, sgerard345@aol.com, www.sgcelebrityproductions.com