Rebuttal: Teens Don’t Matter, Ignore Them.

I recently read an Inc. article by Likeable Local’s CEO Dave Kerpen about how teens are leaving Facebook and what that means for your business. Generally I dig what Dave has to say but I think the time has come for me to put my metaphorical foot down.

First off, let it be known that teens are leaving Facebook. If you don’t know, now you know. It’s a fact and it’s one we expected. Teens are always looking for the next best thing and that thing, generally speaking, is some ‘thing’ your mom has no knowledge of.

Now that the shock has worn off, let’s move on.

In the meat of his post, Kerpen goes into where the teens are going if they are not in fact on the book of faces. His break down appears as follows:

  1. New Social Networks
  2. Mobile Photo Sharing Apps
  3. Erasable Media

Holy obvious bullet-points batman; allow me to translate:

  1. If they’re not here, they’re somewhere else that may or may not exist yet
  2. Practically every social network in existence
  3. Snapchat is cool and the $3 billion offer is #trending right now

Every marketer worth her tactics knows that the newest phone owning generation hops on the newest social network bandwagon, no matter its nature. Instagram at its launch was the spot, just like Facebook was before it. Dave goes out of his way to note, and I quote, “Do you want to spend your and your business’s precious time hanging out with teenagers where it’s cool, or hanging out where your customers are?” It seems to me that his recommendation is to ignore the massive potential and trend-settiness (yes I just made that word up) of our modern youth. I for one, think this is not only a massive missed opportunity, but also a very naive way of looking at overarching marketing as a whole.

Certainly I’m not saying that every brand needs to market on Instagram or God forbid Snapchat (if it was even possible), I am though, saying that no matter what brand you are, you need to at least be aware of the sway and infinite potential the younger generation has and what impact that might have on the future of your company. These young snapchatting sons of guns will eventually be your target market …and sooner than you may think.

Kids these days make stuff cool and we older folk follow suit. Facebook started the trend and now, a mere four years later, the 45-55 year olds are the fastest growing demo. Similarly, Instagram started with the tweens, kicked through the teens and now, I have to witness more baby pictures posted by grandparents than I ever expected. Gen- whatever they are now – latches onto brands they respect, brands that talk to them (not at them), brands who listen. If you as a business think about genuinelyconnecting with them – or at least thinking about them early, I really believe you’ll be set up for success moving into the future.

In sum, I’m sure Dave didn’t mean to totally discount the potential of our youth but it kind of came off that way. People need to step back and look at their marketing mix from a higher level, where social media is both a tactic and a means to an end. Does it make the amalgam of marketing wonderment more complex? Absolutely. But that’s the super tangled spider game we play. Play on marketers. Play on.

Read the post on Advertising Week

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