How Kids Influence Purchasing

Kids have always had some sway on the purchasing decisions of families. While today’s kids are no exception, the changes in family structure and the evolving media landscape have made accounting for their influence more challenging for businesses.

In this piece, we’ll look at what’s shifting based on the April 2014 Mintel study, “Kids as Influencers,” and how you can respond to make the most of the changes.

Shift: Single-parent households are growing.

According to the study, while the number of households with children has declined, the number of single-parent households has increased. While some are the result of divorce, a significant amount are single by choice. Regardless of the circumstances, single-parents are more likely to engage their children in purchasing decisions.

Response: Add a single-parent lens.

Whether you’re considering new products or developing new advertising materials, try to think outside the traditional family box. Ask yourself if a single mother would assemble the scooter you’re developing or if the radio spots you’re producing would resonate with her. If the answer is yes, the likelihood of a child-influenced sale will increase.

Shift:  Fragmented media is making targeting more challenging.

When television was the dominant medium, reaching parents and their influential children was as easy as making a prime-time advertising buy when families were watching. Now, parents and children are moving targets, consuming media through a variety of traditional, online and mobile channels. And the internet is rising as a primary vehicle for family entertainment.

Response: Think many tactics instead of one.

Consider all of the ways you can reach parents and their children as you create your marketing plan. Emphasize online tactics and bring mobile into the discussion. Perhaps there are ways to incorporate apps that facilitate shopping wish lists for your products that parents and kids can build together. Think like a parent and a kid, and if you can’t, engage them in focus groups you can use to gain insights into how they prefer to be targeted.

Shift: Technology is helping parents spend time with their children.

While personal devices can have an isolating effect on parents and children, technology is also helping them bond. Younger dads are spending more time playing video games with their kids and watching content with them online.

Response: Engage parents and children where they play.

Whether advertising via gaming platforms or online content providers, reaching parents and their influencer children simultaneously reinforces your brand in a bonding moment. Like prime-time television ads from days past, these powerful interactions can galvanize a new audience of consumers behind your brand and products.

It’s in their nature for kids to tell parents what to buy and where to buy it. By understanding this dynamic and how it’s changing, your business can capitalize on a powerful consumer phenomenon.

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