We know Millennials spend more money on ecommerce each year than other generations, but they’re not the youngest age group that influences household purchases.
According to PackagingDigest, kids influence up to 80% of household purchases, and make their own purchases with money provided by their parents.
The article warns that ignoring kids could mean disaster for your brand – a statement supported by surprising data. “Kids 4-12 spent $ $2.2 billion in 1968, and $4.2 billion in 1984. But by 1994 the figure climbed to $17.1 billion, and by 2002 their spending exceeded $40 billion,” the article states.
By 2012, kids’ buying power and influence had reached $1.2 trillion. We can only expect this number to increase since kids as young as five have a mobile Wi-Fi device in their pocket 24/7.
Marketing to kids isn’t always deceptive
With enough nagging, kids can convince their parents to buy them just about anything. However, not all marketing is deceptive. Plenty of businesses use the psychology of marketing to kids to promote products that enrich lives.
For instance, a program that teaches kids how to read and spell needs to appeal to the child. Not only that, but the child has to want to engage in the program. Anyone with kids knows that if something isn’t the kid’s idea, it won’t work very well. If marketers can plant the seed in a child’s mind that they want to learn how to read, write, and spell, that child will be eager to learn.
If you sell products for kids, here are some tips to expand your marketing strategy to include appealing to kids alongside their parents:
1. Don’t feel bad about marketing to kids
Before you can market to kids, you need to feel good about doing it. There’s a stigma around advertising to kids since many businesses do so to make easy money by selling useless trinkets and unhealthy foods. You can see this in any store – all the sugary cereals and candy are down low.
There are also companies that exploit children’s developmental vulnerabilities to instill brand loyalty in them starting from a young age. However, not every company that markets to children has ill intentions. There are plenty of products designed for kids that add value to their lives, and there’s no reason to feel bad about marketing them directly to kids.
Look at how the Band-Aid brand markets to kids. They license other brands kids are familiar with (like cartoon characters) and print them on their bandages. On one hand, you could say they’re doing it just to make money. Of course, a bandage will sell better when it has a cartoon character on it.
On the other hand, think about how much better a kid feels when their favorite cartoon character is wrapped around the cut on their finger. It makes them happy. The parents are going to buy bandages anyway, so they might as well be fun for the kids.
2. Publish images that appeal to kids and text that appeals to adults
Since younger kids and their parents often browse the internet together, it’s important to position your content so it appeals to both groups.
Even when a younger kid can read, an image will capture their attention better. The same is true for adults since we are all hard-wired for visual stimuli. However, since adults have other things on their mind – like saving money – they’ll be paying attention to the text as well. Especially when it comes to pricing.
There are several websites that provide a good example of appealing to both kids and adults. To sell custom storybooks, Dinkleboo has a colorful array of storybook images, as well as elements for adults like an instant promo coupon and pricing structures listed below each item.
Nick.com does a great job appealing to younger kids with visuals on their game page. The images are big enough to be identified on any desktop or mobile device. Before a game can be played, a short, kid-oriented ad is shown for other companies like Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Other pages like BuzzFeed’s 29 Brilliant Kids Products You Need In Your Life appeals only to adults. There’s nothing wrong with marketing kids’ products directly to adults. Depending on the space, sometimes it’s appropriate to only market to parents. However, your actual webpage content displaying the items for sale should be vibrant enough to capture a kid’s interest.
When you’ve got a product or service that adds value to people’s lives, you can’t afford to feel bad about marketing to kids. If you’re not being deceptive, there’s no reason to hold back what could otherwise turn into a big success.