They may be young, but teens pack a powerful economic punch even in these tough times.
According to market research firm Packaged Facts, they were a $79.7 billion market in 2006, and that figure is expected to grow to $91.1 billion by 2011. What teens like has a good chance of appealing to those who remain young at heart.
Before you set off to target teens, here are eight tricks to help crack this audience:
Take the message to them: Today's teens are so tech-savvy that if you don't make your pitch with that in mind, you might as well throw your hard-earned money out the window. They are chatting to their friends via instant messenger and social media. They are connecting and obtaining information from their computer, smart phone and, in some cases, game console. "To reach this demographic, in the hopes of having anything meaningful with them, you have to take the message to them," says Jon Gaskell, co-founder of SmartyPig, an Internet piggy bank that tries to teach teens about money.
While SmartyPig teaches users about the importance of setting goals and saving for what you want, it also allows them to socialize and share with friends and family the ups and downs of saving for a specific goal. Next up: a mobile application because "this was something our younger customers demanded," says Gaskell.
Take them seriously: One of the biggest mistakes companies make, says Gaskell, is underestimating the teen market. "When people have access to information, a greater amount of information than any other demo, they will know fast what they want. You need to be ready to change and enhance and meet their expectations or they will leave you," he says.
That means giving them some added value for spending time with you. That could be offering the occasional freebie. It could mean giving them the inside track on something their peers would like to know. It could be allowing them to share with their friends and family.
The popularity of texting has also changed the way teens speak, so deploy those "LOLs" and "OMGs" in a way that isn't condescending.
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