Operations

If You Want to Crack the Teen Market, You Have to Speak the Language

Posted on March 1, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

How many of the following words can you confidently define without consulting Google — tween, web-itation, YouTube, MySpace, WeeMe, podcast, mashup? Trying to understand what all of these mean can be as difficult as interpreting a foreign language without a dictionary. But these words aren’t from another language and in fact, for most teenagers — or the self proclaimed “MIllenials” — these are words they use everyday. Although most adults don’t bother, speaking teen language means you are closer to getting their prom business today, and their other retail business in the future.

“Teens are the consumers of today and of the future. When a brand connects with a teen, it could tap into a lifetime of loyalty,” says Mitch McCasland, founder of Brand Inquiry Partners, a brand strategy and research firm. According to his statistics, in 2004, teens had more than $190 billion annually in primary purchasing power and influence. Although unassuming, the teen market is a very serious and extremely lucrative one. “As young consumers grow older, they have greater access to money. Preferences and habits are formed that extend into their adult lives,” says McCasland.

Go to Them

Marketing limousine services to the tech-savvy teen of 2007 for proms, bar mitvahs, bat mitzvahs, and quinceaneras, should be done through resources that are guaranteed to reach them. That is, advertising on prom sites, social networking sites, blogs, and other heavy teen-traffic sites. Making it easy for a teen to contact your company is key to getting their business.

“Teens want products that are easy to use,” says Anastasia Goodstein, creator of Ypulse, an online daily news and commentary website for teen media and marketing professionals. That means making your service easily accessible to the teenage consumer. A report titled "Teens and Technology" from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 87% of American teens between 12 and 17 used the Internet in 2004. That number has surely grown with the rampant popularity of social networking sites like MySpace and FaceBook. If you’re looking to reach young consumers, the Internet is the best place to start.

A-List Expectations

Teenagers intending to make a grand entrance at their proms, cotillions, and quinceaneras have been consistent in the industry for several years. With that said, requests for super stretch SUVs are typical around those seasons. According to Jim Luff, owner of Limousine Scene in Bakersfield, Calif., limo buses are also a big hit for large prom parties. “They are unique, make a big splash, and are economical when the cost is split within a group,” he says.

 

It’s no surprise that 2007 teens are still looking for glitz, glamour, and a red carpet arrival to their events. Michael Wood of TRU (Teenage Research Unlimited) says, due to the advent of reality shows like “My Super Sweet 16” and “Laguna Beach,” both on MTV, two-out-of-three teens believe they are just as good as celebrities and some think they will become famous.

 

“Teens expect to be treated like celebs, velvet rope and all,” says Goodstein.

 

MP3 Capabilities Are a Must Have for the Teenage Client

According to a 2006 study by Ispos, a global research firm, 54% of young adults between the ages of 12 and 17 own an MP3 player. That’s almost twice as many as any of the other age groups studied. Younger downloaders use their MP3 players more often, an average of more than 16 hours per week among teens. Keeping these stats in mind, your prom clients are going to expect your limousine to be up to speed.

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