Media and the Youngest Group of Consumers

It is no surprise that becoming a parent is completely life changing. Beyond the major emotions of caring for this new little person, parenting in this century is filled with decisions around technology, social media and screen time. From the minute kids are born, they are surrounded by technology, so much so that it quickly becomes part of their daily life. As kids enter toddlerhood, due to the ubiquitous nature of media and technology, it is hard to keep them away from screens.

As parents, we’re bombarded by conflicting messages about how much technology (aka “screen time”) is too much and how we should be using social media to talk or share about our kids. Even the American Academy of Pediatricians has weighed in with suggested guidelines for parents in the digital age.

A New Media Environment

The youngest group of consumers are growing up within a fragmented and on-demand media environment. Kids today have access to an unprecedented amount and variety of content and oftentimes can consume that content uninterrupted. Consider what’s available: 

  • Netflix (no commercials)
  • YouTube Kids (limited or no commercials)
  • Amazon Prime (no commercials)
  • Niche cable channels, such as Disney Jr., Nick Jr. and Sprout (limited commercials)
  • DVRs (commercial skipping)
  • On Demand programming through cable providers (limited commercials and commercial skipping)
  • Apps (advertising and purchases vary on an app-by-app basis)
  • Electronic toys (no commercials)

And this list is far from comprehensive! With all the available media channels, it’s surprising that some kids even know what a commercial is.

Redfining a Generation  

While many marketers are still trying to figure out Millennials or Gen Z, marketers also need to be thinking beyond them. What about the cohort of kids who will have limited commercial interaction by the time they hit their teenage years? How will they want to learn about and communicate with brands? What will get their attention? 

And how can brands be prepared to interact with customers in what could be a very different way? 

Three Tips:

  1. Keep your head on a swivel
  2. Stay agile
  3. Invest in your knowledge 

Not every piece of technology or new platform will be the next Snapchat, Amazon Echo or Apple Watch. Your brand does not need to be everywhere. But you do need to be aware of what’s out there, how it might work for your audience and how you can best implement it. Determine the content these audiences are interested in receiving and get familiar with their preferred communication methods. Acquiring that knowledge takes teams of smart individuals (technologists, data scientists, media strategists, etc.) working together. Make sure your team has the bandwidth to learn new things and that they are empowered to test these out regularly, even if they don’t always succeed.

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Debbie Simon

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