You probably spend most of your marketing efforts trying to reach adults, but what about the teenage market? Teens make up about 13% of the U.S. population and they’re constantly buying – with their own budgets and with the help of their parent’s wallets. Here are 8 tips to help market your brand to teens.

1. Ask a teen. Whether you have teens at home or not, you might guess at what teenagers like or don’t like.  If you rely on assumptions or stereotypes, and make the mistake of thinking all teenagers are the same, you’ll end up with incorrect data. Teens are absolutely not all the same!

There are more than 41,800,000 teenagers in the U.S. and they represent a diverse group of consumers. Before you do any kind of marketing, research and understand your target audience. Discover what teens are interested in – what’s important to them, what kind of media they prefer, what they enjoy, what they want from brands, and more.

One way to find out is to use Google Surveys to get feedback from real teens in your target market. Another idea is to hire a teenager to be a part of your marketing team, as an intern or for part-time work. As insiders, they can give you valuable, up-to-date insight without paying for a focus group.

2. Allocate resources to digital marketing. The average American teenager spends more than nine hours a day being entertained online. And that doesn’t include screen time for schoolwork. 87% own an iPhone and 95% have access to a smartphone. When it comes to marketing to teens, digital is the way to go and the best way to connect is on the web.

3. Make social media your friend. Most teenagers spend three hours on social media every day. To promote your products and services, think Snapchat and TikTok, they’re popular platforms right now. 97% of teens also watch YouTube. Teens also prefer websites and apps that let them communicate with people, rather than just ‘getting’ information. Make it a point to build relationships on social media to create loyal clients and customers.

4. Create ads geared to teens. If you’re creating content, videos rank the highest, so make sure you hold their attention. Videos shouldn’t be longer than two minutes, and it’s often best to keep them under a minute. Emotional content and humor work. Music is also important when you’re planning your ad campaign. You might not be able to afford Taylor Swift’s most recent song, but take a look at royalty-free music in the same genre or with a similar sound or style. It’s also smart to include teenage faces in your ads, someone they’ll identify with and want to be like. (Like attracts like).

5. Keep up with trends and pop culture. What’s popular or trending is also important to keep in mind. This is where it’s super helpful to have a young person on your marketing team to keep you in the loop and reset your “know it all” attitude. Trends change quickly, even from week to week. Stay current and update your ads, social media, and website. What was “cool” last month could be cringe-worthy this month.

6. Offer discounts and freebies. Most teenagers don’t have tons of money to spend, unless they’re fully-funded from a parent, guardian or relative. Research shows that they tend to work fewer hours than they used to, with more focus on school, which means less time for a job. The pandemic has also decreased teen employment. With a limited budget for spending, teens love discounts, promos, and free stuff. Giveaways bring in new consumers (especially the young customer). The good news is if they like your brand, they’ll be loyal customers.   

7. Support a good cause. Like other audiences, teens care about company values and support causes that are important to them. Two topics that young people are passionate about are racial equality and environmental protection. If your goals align with these issues, consider supporting a cause in this area. Sponsor an activist organization or host a fundraiser and donate a portion of the profits to a charity you believe in. You gain support from teens and impact positive change.

8. Be ethical and honest. Having integrity isn’t just a trend, it’s an honorable way to do business. Teens are quick to call out brands that seem fake, dishonest or exploitive. Also keep in mind that most teenagers are minors and rules do exist. Don’t try to sell adult products to kids, and if you collect any personal data on minors, it’s your responsibility to keep their information safe. You always want to protect your clients, but with children, it’s even more important.  

Bottom line: More than forty million consumers in America are teenagers who’ve been raised on the internet and social media. To reach the teen market, follow these simple marketing tips to build brand awareness and create customers who will stay loyal, even when they’re no longer teens.  Better yet, follow the advice of Instagram influencer, Eva Chen: “Build a lifestyle around your brand, and the audience will follow.”    


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