6 Selling Tips When Your Customer is a Kid


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It’s pretty easy to market to kids when it’s something like a toy or candy. After all, reach your target audience and they’ll go to work getting the finances for you (from their parents, of course). But what if your customer is technically a child but you’re not marketing to them? You need to reach the parents, but also help them empathize with a marketing twist. For example, if
you offer a solution to bedwetting, kids vitamins or tutoring services, how can you make kids and parents happy?

It’s a careful balance because you don’t want to sound like you know a child better than the parent, but you also need to educate. Simultaneously, your marketing can’t turn off kids in case they connect your product with advertising they don’t like. It’s not enough to be on top of your
eCommerce marketing a la Forbes, but you also need to target two distinct audiences. Here’s how:

1. Use the Santa cross-check model

The 2014 Walgreens Santa ad is a perfect example. It utilizes a strategy from the best cartoons (Ranker gives an awesome breakdown) by showing kids that Santa’s real while reminding parents to keep their Christmas game on point. Look at your marketing from the perspective of both a parent and kid before deploying.

2. Get kid focus groups

Focus groups are a good idea no matter what your market, but it’s imperative when kids are involved. If you want to know how children are likely to respond to your marketing, then why not ask them? You’ll get honest, useful feedback so you can tweak to your heart’s content. Plus, they might even give you an idea for a brand new angle.

3. Remember who has the cash

Of course kids are going to be excited about a realistic robot dinosaur that they can ride and eats homework on demand. However, when this (very make believe) toy costs $5,000, is dangerous and ensure your kid is never turning in homework, who’s going to buy that? Kids don’t have that kind of money, and parents will run the other direction. In the end, market to the money.

4. Fitting in goes a long way

Depending on the child, they either really want to fit in or really want to stand out. Cater to the former, and you’ll have a wider audience. Showcase how a product will help them get and keep more friends, and you’ll have instant fans.

5. Balance routine with the appeal of newness

Kids like two things that are contradictory: Routine (or things they’re used to) and the novelty of something new (as long as it’s not too new). That can be a tough balance to strike, but if done well it can appeal to your current audience while transitioning them into something “new” that complements what they already know. This is also a fantastic opportunity upsell or offer add-ons, such as with an addition to a toy, game or other source of entertainment they already love but are growing a little tired of.

6. Mix entertainment with education

This won’t necessarily appeal to the kids you’re targeting, but it will please both kids and their parents which is the winning combination. The marketing should be 80 percent for kids and 20 percent for parents. Plus, remember parents will veto anything they find too obnoxious, like a drum set, so choose your goods or services carefully. Turning off one of your two target demographics will backfire.

Most importantly, keep marketing honest. A kid will remember a product that doesn’t deliver, and those grudges can be hard to shake.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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