June 12, 2007

Community events score with youth influencers.

A few years back, a market researcher wanted to form a focus group consisting of the most influential kids available. The researcher would ask children, "Who's the coolest kid you know?" Kids who answered "me" were invited to be in the sample.

Now, a study conducted by Burson-Marsteller in partnership with Penn, Schoen & Berland has released a study called "The Youth-fluentials," detailing characteristics of persuasive youth ages 10 to 18.

Nearly 100% of the group said they influenced their friends' decisions about clothes and music, and over 80% carried weight with their parents' purchasing decisions.

US Youth-Fluentials Who Influence Their Family's Purchase Decisions, by Product, December 2006 (% of respondents)

Ame Wadler of Burson-Marsteller said, "While Youth-fluentials hold a vast amount of influence over the spending decisions that their peers and family make, the research shows that they are also an extremely impressionable group. They are striving for independence and impact over others but also are highly impacted by parents, educators and their own peers."

The group was most likely to respond positively to brands promoted through community events.

Marketing Activities that Influence US Child and Teen Internet Users to Want to Learn about a Company's Brands/Products, by Gender, December 2006 (hours)

According to a 2005 blog posting by JupiterResearch analyst David Card, "29% of online teens carry a great deal of influence with both their friends and family, across a variety of product categories. These Teen Influencers are big consumers of media — both on- and offline — more responsive to advertising, and more likely to use media brands cross-media. Compared with adults, almost twice as many Teen Influencers cited word-of-mouth as the main way they find entertainment online. Adults were more likely to favor portals and newsletters."

CNET Networks and Starcom MediaVest Group, in their 2006 study of the youth population (those ages 13 to 34), dubbed the influencers "Brand Sirens." They are defined as "individuals deeply immersed in the world of brands, who command attention, and will go out of their way to do more work for your brand than ever before by sharing their experience with everyone they can."

Among brand sirens, 87% said they enjoy sharing information about brands and products and 70% said they had directly influenced a friend or family member's purchase, compared with 67% and 50%, respectively, of all youth ages 13 to 34.

eMarketer Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson says, "Finding influencer groups is key to successful word-of-mouth efforts. But that is only half the equation. The other more challenging half involves getting them to talk positively about a brand or service, and in this day of consumer control and user-generated content, there are many unknowns."

Courtesy of http://www.emarketer.com

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