India is the hotbed for youth innovation and youth marketing, and to reach out to the youth, one should not make the audience a destination but a partner. This is the youth marketing mantra of Graham Brown, Founder, Mobile Youth (UK) & Global Chairman, Youth Research Partnership. He further suggested, “One should avoid ‘market to’ strategy, but adopt ‘market with’ plans. There are two aspects of youth marketing – destinations versus partners.”
Speaking on how mobile can be used as a medium to engage with the youth, Brown stated, “Mobile is all about social currency. If you talk about the youth engagement, mobile is the screen to go for.” To substantiate his argument, he shared some interesting numbers related to the youth behaviour and mobile. According to him, globally, 1.2 billion mobile owners were youth and they spent $300 billion a year on mobile services. Interestingly, there are 800 million people in Asia who have yet to get their first mobile phone. He also noted, “While 60 per cent youth slept with their mobile phones, only 27 per cent trusted their mobile operators.”
Brown remarked, “There are two needs for youth to use technology - the 'need to belong' and the 'need to be significant’.”
From ‘pager’ to ‘SMS’ on mobile and now BBM (Blackberry Messenger), positive deviation among the youth has created an opportunity for the marketers. As per a survey, $1 trillion was made in the last decade from text messages. Brown suggested that marketers should embrace the positive deviation of the youth. He cited the example of Delhi Metro as to how it was first explored by the youth. Youth can be a good opportunity to explore the new destinations.
Citing an example of a chips brand of India, he said explained that how in the lines of youth marketing strategy, the brand kept celebrity at the corner and let the youth/ consumer tell their story about the brand on the wrapper of the product. He added, “Asking the youth to use product and share opinions works better than focus groups. Let the youth tell them their brand story and not ‘your’ story.”
Giving an interesting example of one of their surveys, Brown said that during a survey, when Indian youth were given option to spend Rs 100 either on food or recharging their cell phone, 81 per cent went for recharging their cell phones.
Finally, he shared some more figures and noted that out of 1.8 billion total mobile youth globally, 56 per cent mobiles belonged to Asia. For marketers, using mobile medium to connect with young audience can surely be a profitable opportunity.
Simplicity in marketing
The essence of marketing to youth today was simplicity, according to Bernard Hor, CEO, Youth Works Asia, Malaysia. During his presentation, Hor reiterated the point in what was an extremely fun-filled session, which included several activities. Hor said that it was essential that marketers thought out of the box and searched for new means to engage the youth. Otherwise, “marketing to youth is a complete waste of time”, he added.
Hor remarked that marketers thought in a streamlined fashion and for them, marketing to youth would mean one of the following:
• Let’s get on Facebook and Twitter
• Cool and creative ads
• Use technology – microsites, etc.
• Launch a million-dollar campaign
• Sponsor college event/ concert
But according to Hor, today’s marketers needed to do much more than that. “Marketing is a mindset, and it’s all in the mind. The youth has to be treated as partners. Marketers have to be daring enough to do so. The essence is to stay simple, really simple,” he stressed.
Bernard Hor and Graham Brown were speaking at the exchange4media Youth Marketing Summit, which was presented by UTV Bindass and powered by Mudra Concrea in association with Tuborg Strong.
(With additional inputs from Akash Raha.)