• July 30, 2007
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

'Green Teens' Give Marketers Green Ideas

A recent study by JupiterResearch reports that online teenagers who self-identified as being concerned about the environment tend to be more receptive to online advertising and to have more influence over their peers. Given this, marketers have another angle through which they can deliver their messages to this population, according to David Card, vice president and senior analyst at JupiterResearch. In the survey, teenagers ages 13 to 17 were asked to rank themselves on a scale of one to five, five being very concerned for the environment. The study showed that 38 percent were concerned, while 15 percent were very concerned--a subgroup the study labeled Green Teens. Card warns that the research did not identify environmental concern as the defining characteristic, but that it may just be one of many that help to classify this select group. For instance, the study reports that Green Teens were also more interested in music than the average online teenager. Nevertheless, "green is very trendy," Card says. Therefore, Green Teens are more inclined to be on top of current trends. Card suggests this may also be indicative of teenagers who are considered to be the "cool kids," or the leaders, and thus, more involved in community activities or at school. The study also found that while the online behavior of Green Teens was relatively similar to that of the average online teen, Green Teens self-reported that they were more responsive toward online advertising. 29 percent of Green Teens report having made a purchase in a traditional store during the past 12 months and 19 percent have made a purchase online, compared to 22 percent and 13 percent of online teenagers overall, respectively. "They're engaged, so it might be interesting to explore this combination of marketing, environmental messaging, or the environment in general," Card says of potential marketing strategies. Not only are these teens more involved, but they also claim to be more influential. Although not more likely to join social networks or spend more time online, Green Teens are more likely to post their opinions online and interact with the online world, according to Card. In addition, Green Teens were found to be more likely than the average online teen to be the person their friends came to for advice on a variety of products. Unlike their adult counterparts, Card says, teenagers who are influential tend to carry that influence across a variety of interests, whereas adults are typically more specialized--the person sought for advice on electronics will probably not be the one to provide fashion advice. Card argues that although green is trendy, this population is reasonably perceptive, and unlikely to succumb to marketers who "slap on a green label for something that's completely artificial." Still, if the product does have an authentic environmental angle, "it would be logical to include something green in your online campaign," he says. However, the Internet isn't the only means by which teenagers obtain their information. In fact, "most marketers shouldn't think of the Internet as a panacea" since teens spend much less time on the Internet than adults, Card says. Because the 13-to-17-year-old segment also takes in a significant amount of TV and music, Card advocates "more a multimedia campaign rather than a solely online campaign." Related articles: A Green Light for Marketing
The onus is on marketers to go green through their actions, not their words, as consumers become more environmentally aware. Feature: Fever Pitch Viral marketing: The buzz that builds brands fast (pass it on). Business Practices Affect Buying Habits Consumers make purchasing decisions based on how companies conduct their affairs, but word of mouth has lost its luster. Teenie Shoppers Make Big Buys As online shopping among teenagers continues to grow, retailers must focus on teens' relationship to technology and family to reap the most from this market, according to a new report. Feature: Y Me Members of Generation Y were the first to mature in a media-saturated, tech-savvy world--here's how to blow past the buzz and get the brand into their brains.
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