Throw out all preconceived ideas about what teens want when marketing to them, the industry was told during a panel held at International CES, here, called “Total Request: Generation Tech.”
Eric Logan, executive VP programming for XM Satellite Radio, said it is not effective “to create content based on what you would have wanted when you were a teen.”
CEA's official teen spokesperson, 17-year-old Jessica Curran, said at the panel that apart from friends, celebrities and what teens read in magazines have a strong influence on purchases.
The solution, said panelists, is to talk directly to teens through focus groups. Chief marketing officer of Virgin Mobile USA Howard Handler said his company found success by advertising on MTV, but also by marketing through 200,000 Virgin Mobile “insiders” who promote the company's cellphone service by word of mouth.
Handler also noted that distribution is important. While Virgin Mobile sells a lot of phones through Wal-Mart and Target, it also sells through Sam Goody, Coconuts and FYE, where teens tend to shop. Handler says distribution also helps to shape the brand.
Panel moderator Steve Koenig, CEA's industry analysis senior manager, said a recent CEA study on teens found that 50 percent of teen respondents purchase CE equipment at mass merchants such as Wal-Mart; 23 percent made purchases at national CE stores such as Circuit City and Best Buy; and 12 percent bought from independent retailers.