Over the last couple of years you’ll have heard a lot of words thrown around, most of which you wouldn’t know the first thing about. A huge part of this collection, if you have had any online existence recently whatsoever, will be Social Media, Web 2.0 and Youth Marketing. You’ve heard greasy haired men talk about it on Social Networking Websites, you’ve heard of people attending conferences about it and that annoying college guy upstairs seems to go on and on about it every time you fail to enter the elevator he isn’t in.
So what is this magical ball of rainbow lightning that seems to be driving companies around the world bananas?
Let’s picture your average day. You wake up in the morning and make yourself a cup of warm, energizing coffee. You put on your favorite jeans and that new t-shirt you bought from Adidas the other day and step out of the house. You get onto your bike and ride off to your destination for the day. On the way you pick up a can of Coke (the drinking kinds, the other kind doesn’t exactly need to market itself).
During this exercise, you have encountered five products that have marketed themselves to people between the ages of 16 to 35 in a major way, namely, the coffee, the t-shirt, the jeans, the bike and the cola.
The youth of the world are changing, fast. They are smarter, faster than and twice as efficient as the generation before them. They can’t be fooled by their favorite celebrity on a TV screen asking them to buy whatever the corporates of the world wish to sell them.
The youth of the country want exactly Social Media has to offer, consumer involvement.
Social Media, in its essence, aims to reach out to as many people as it can by making them feel a part of the product you want them to invest their money in. Pepsi Co. did it in India with its “Youngistaan” campaign (or tried to), American Outfitters did it with their Spring Break Campaign (Read : http://youthmarketing.com/casestudies/american-eagle-outfitters/)
The thing is, the youth is making money, and fast, and lots of it. What sets them apart from their predecessors is that they will spend readily wherever they see value in investment without conservatively holding on to their money like a Koala Bear to a tree.
Mark Zuckerberg is worth some 6.9 billion dollars. If there was ever an example of disposable income among the youth of the world, it is Mark. People are starting companies straight out of college. Some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the world are aged under 40.
In this era of Youth Influence, no organisation can afford to focus primarily on any other target group. The young will rule the earth; they will buy your energy drinks and drive your fancy cars, wear your shiny new clothes and use your cool new mobile phone.
iPods. iMacs. iPad. iTouch.
Welcome to the new world order. This is our generation, and it’s ending one product at a time. The youth never dies out; it just replenishes itself with fresh blood.
Its time companies around the world started keeping up and placing their products where they matter. So go ahead and put your product on that Facebook page, put that fun little app on your web page, run that country-wide college campaign and get some new followers on Twitter.
Jump to the clap, corporates of the world, jump to the clap.