Speakers’ Corner: The ‘youth’ market

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I find the ‘youth market’ an increasingly difficult group to define. What do we mean by youth – age, attitude, interests?

Should we still view any group of consumers as some kind of passive buying-market? Is there really such a thing as a homogeneous group of people?

Are individuals really that consistent and predictable – even if we could ‘talk’ with them in their their preferred communication channel?

Nevertheless it can be helpful to consider some over-arching trends.

Taking an age-defined categorisation of youth, here are questions I think about from a marketing perspective.

Much has been made of the desire and capability of ‘generation z’, or the ‘millenium generation’, to create content and to interact on a peer-to-peer basis.

Much has been made also of the importance of word-of-mouth and peer recommendations within this segment.

At the same time, the big youth brands are broadly the same as they were 10 years ago. And the phenomenal success of reality TV and X Factor pop demonstrates customers can be quite passive in their desire for entertainment.

Certainly, it is clear there are more channels in which to communicate, and some of them can offer excellent value for money.

In recent times, there may have been strong social class differences in how young adults create and consume media. But that divide appears to be disappearing.

Paradoxically, the abundance of media channels probably increases the necessity for big stories and big budget marketing to cut through, which can be an advantage for market incumbents.

At Phones 4U, taking a challenger stance has also opened up opportunities, particularly in how we can support big launch campaigns in rearticulating messages in a credible and engaging voice for our core youth base.

There is a lack of ‘finish’ and an edge to much of current TV and online content. At the same time, rich online media is evolving. The new TV season yet again heralds a wealth of visually-stunning global programming, and audiences remain appreciative of slick production values.

Full article in Mobile News issue 455 (January 18, 2010).

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