Advice For Advertisers From A 12-Year-Old

Can we say it is safe to assume that the age of consumers will eventually dip into the teenage demographic? Maybe it already has. After all, gone are the days of kids saving allowance and extra lunch money to buy gifts for mom and dad at the school book fair. The Internet has made it easier for consumers of all ages to get the things they need, when they need them [and at an affordable price].

Assuming that consumers will soon include teens, it is also safe to assume that a child I spoke with last night will be one of those consumers in the next 5-7 years; not too far away.
I was talking with her mom about my job, and what it entails. As soon as I said “social media marketing,” her 12-year-old mini-me interrupted with, “ohh, you’re one of those people I don’t like!”
To say I was taken aback would be an understatement. Attempting to not skip a beat, I questioned her meaning. “Why is that, little lady?” I asked her.
She became a little sheepish after realizing how her comment sounded (not nice). But, nevertheless, she replied, “I mean, I just…don’t you make those things that pop-up when I watch YouTube videos and stuff?”
I was pretty impressed that she was able to connect “social media marketing” with that. I reassured her and told her, “ahh, but I’ll have you know, I’m one of the good guys. I try to teach people not to do that.”
She smiled, and now, here I am telling you about the interaction.
So, why does this story matter?
For marketers, in general, this story matters because social media marketing and storytelling marketing are not the future. They are the now.
Like I’ve said before, and I will continue to say, consumers are smart. And, as that 12-year-old clearly conveyed, they are only going to get smarter. They know what they want and they know what they need.
Before the Internet, marketers had the objective of getting the right message to the right people, at the right time. Today, that principle is still useful [and important], but the definition of “people” has changed. And, so has the definition of “the right message.”
People have evolved. Communication has matured. The “message” can no longer be a desperate plea for a dollar. The “message” is now a story, and an ongoing conversation with customers, and their friends.
The leap from traditional Internet marketing tactics to storytelling marketing is probably a bit scary for some business owners; but, those who are willing to embrace the change are the ones who will stay relevant, and over all, get ahead.
Since the shift towards social media marketing is already here, perhaps the question now, is: What are you waiting for?
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