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How to Market to the “Untouchables”

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One of the BlogWorld presentations I caught was Maggie Fox‘s “Marketing to the Untouchables.” Who are the so-called “untouchables”? They aren’t people who aren’t affected by marketing. They aren’t people who don’t get online. In fact, they are extremely affected by marketing and spend as much time as possible online.

Maybe I shouldn’t say as much time as possible…they spend as much time online as their parents allow.

That’s right – the untouchables are kids – those under 13 who log online and use sites like Webkinz, Lego.com, and Disney’s Club Penguin. There are very strong FTC regulations about how you market to these users, and as Maggie pointed out, the discussion about marketing to children is extremely uncomfortable. Here are some of the key points from her presentation:

  • Kids’ experiences online are like honeycombs. There’s not a lot of social sharing possible, so while they’re online doing cool things, they’re in little walled spaces.
  • This is a long game. Kids have a lot of buying power by influencing their parents, but by building brand loyalty, a business can sell to them 10+ years down the road.
  • They don’t care about things that we care about like taglines, consistency in design, and brand messaging.
  • Everything has to be fun, their friends have to be doing it, and they have to get their parents’ okay.

Maggie also went into details about the three important aspects of marketing to kids:

  • “The Build” – an activity where you build something
  • The Reward – points, prizes, etc. that you get for logging online and participating
  • Integration – some kind of social object that’s taken offline and can be shared with friends in the real world (like a stuffed animal)

Again, this is an uncomfortable topic, but as long as you follow the rules, you can ethically market to kids and build your business.

Thank you, Maggie, for a wonderful presentation! Readers, check out more from Maggie at Social Media Group.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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