Teens today have more entertainment options at their fingertips - literally and figuratively - than any generation of youth before them. It's for exactly this reason that traditional entertainment industries are so worried about how to attract and retain young audiences.
The recently concluded holiday season was a brutal one for brick-and-mortar retailers. Consumer spending didn't materialize the way department-store chains were hoping, and the repercussions have been swift and harsh. Macy's announced it was closing 68 stores and cutting 6,200 jobs, sending its stock down 14% the next day. Kohl's reported disappointing holiday sales and lowered its 2017 outlook, causing its stock to plunge 19%. Sears, meanwhile, announced the closure of 41 Sears stores and 109 Kmarts.
Being digital native impacts everything teens do, from meeting and communicating with friends to learning in and out of school or browsing, shopping and traveling.
Gen Zs will be the first generation with a stream of data tracking them from cradle to grave. From sleep monitors to calorie and location trackers, parents will be able to monitor their child's every move. There are some clear benefits to this: Peace of mind that your child is healthy and developing at a normal pace, and knowing your child is not in the wrong place ... whatever "normal" and "wrong" may be.
The recent election was full of useful lessons for marketers. I'm not talking about boring stuff like social media blah, blah, blah or advanced targeting blah, blah, blah. No, I'm talking about some big meta lessons: that truth and lies are the same, bombast is a great substitute for substance, civility is hokum, accepted standards are overrated. Couple these facts with regulatory agencies that will soon be headed by outsiders hostile to their very existence and 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for teen marketers. The question is, will you have the guts to make it happen?
Brands and marketers often overlook a key opportunity when targeting teens. The vast majority are focusing all their energy and dollars on social media campaigns, adding to the clutter and cacophony on those platforms. While it's true that teens spend a significant portion of time with the likes of Snapchat and Instagram, it's challenging for a brand to get noticed, much less to intrigue teens enough to engage with them, when so many others are screaming for attention in the same overcrowded space. Advertisers often try to turn up the volume rather than consider other media where teens make up ...
Adding to the surprise were the unlikely nature of the Trump candidacy, his unorthodox campaign style, controversial proposals, and inflammatory tone. While about a fifth of the country might have been celebrating the next day (the percentage of total Americans who voted for Trump), many of the remaining 80% were in shock, fear and mourning.
When it comes to marketing to teens, as the old saying goes, "Don't be a square!" Unless, that is, you're talking about reaching Gen Z through social video.
Twice a year Piper Jaffray publishes their Taking Stock with Teens research. It's become something I look forward to, especially at this time of the year as the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear. Given that today is Black Friday, it seems appropriate to consider how teens are thinking about brands and where they're spending their money.
If the events of the past few weeks are any indication, 2017 promises to be a year of change that marketers will need to closely observe to remain on the pulse of culture. Teens themselves will be at the center of the action, both spurring on certain evolutions and serving as a key demographic in determining which changes stick and which are merely fads.