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Jan 24, 2005
Blog Post

Marketing to 17 & 20-year Olds: What I learned During the Snow Emergency

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Publisher Anne Holland

I'm emailing this Blog into our production department (who thankfully are located in Arkansas so they are at work today). Our main offices in Warren RI are closed, as are most businesses here, for the snow emergency per order of the Governor.

I've spent the past few days holed up in the storm at my fiance's house together with his 17- and 20-year-old. And, boy, have I learned a lot about the future of marketing to this new generation.

Lesson #1. "What's a forward slash?"

When I called out an URL to Sara, who is 17 and has been surfing the Net since she was 12, she could only get an error page. Turns out she's never heard of a forward slash. In fact, when she types in URLs, she doesn't bother with www or any of the rest of beginning. She just types in the brand and assumes she'll get there.

When marketing to kids, don't spell out the whole URL - it's assumed.

Lesson #2. Thumb typing speed

When Petar, 20, wanted to email his girlfriend, he whipped out his cell phone instead of going all the way across the room to the computer. Everyone who fusses that cell email won't really take off until someone can fit an entire keyboard into the appliance has missed the boat.

Petar, and his friends, can type at blinding speed with a single thumb on the phone. He doesn't need to look at the pad -- and can multitask, talking with the cell phone held up to his ear while typing and sending an email with it at the same time.

Lesson #3. Everything is obviously a commercial

Both kids assumed that the cars used in the classic movie Smokey & the Bandit were all paid promotional placements. "That entire movie is really a commercial, everything on TV is," they assured me. If you think your clever guerrilla campaign isn't being spotted by these kids, you're more naive than they are.

Now it's time to get back to shoveling, sanding, and horsing around in the cold.

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