Marketing to Children: How to Make It Work

child in grass

Kids are an important marketing demographic because, although they do not have the same purchasing power as adults, they can influence their parents’ purchasing decisions. Moreover, kids will also grow up to be the next generation of customers.

As such, marketers have invested a lot of time and energy into effective marketing for children. They are a little bit more complicated than adult consumers, but the extra effort in crafting marketing materials go a very long way.

Why Should You Market to Kids?

Marketers bank on a child’s “pester power,” or his or her ability to pester their parents about a product until the parents give in and buy them the item. It sounds like a shaky marketing theory, but it works.

In fact, marketers have discovered two distinct types of pestering: persistent pestering and importance pestering. Persistent pestering involves a child nagging his or her parents repeatedly, which annoys the parents into buying the product. On the other hand, importance pestering is more sophisticated. Instead of nagging the parent, the child appeals to the parent’s desire to provide him or her with the best. The child emphasizes that a certain product can make them happy or make their lives easier. The sly thing about this type of pestering is that it plays on the guilt the parents may have for not spending enough time with their kids.

Tips for Marketing to Children

children reading a book

With pestering power in mind, here are a few recommendations to help you market to children.

  • Tread Carefully on the Messaging – Because you’re talking to children, the message has to be extremely clear. There is no room for miscommunication; the message shouldn’t be misunderstood. Before it goes on air or gets published, the team goes through the wording and images multiple times.
  • Consider the Parents – No matter how appealing to children your campaigns are, the parents still have the power to boycott your product. So it is counterproductive to focus solely on what attracts the children and completely forget the parents.

So apart from considering the motivations of the children, your team should also consider the motivations and behaviors of the parents. You don’t have to zero in on the online electronic parts used to manufacture the toy or the specific nutritional facts that make a snack particularly health; you just have to stay away from messaging that would parents might object to.

  • Keep It Concise – Attention span is a crucial factor in marketing to children. Kids have an average attention span of three to five minutes times the child’s age. Based on that calculation, a two-year-old would concentrate on a particular task for at about six minutes, while a five-year-old child would be able to focus on something for about fifteen minutes.

Marketing to children is a challenge because you have to make the most of their short attention span, and the message has to be crystal clear, so there is no room for miscommunication and misunderstanding. On top of that, marketing teams have to appeal to the parents, too, so that the pestering power of the children will stay effective. All these extra efforts will yield great results for your company.

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