Marketing Research: Teenagers

909 words | 4 page(s)

It’s worth mentioning at the outset that in general, in order to address any consumer’s needs, perceptions, and attitudes, marketers must appeal to consumers’ underlying beliefs; beliefs form the foundation of “attitudes, perceived norms, and self-efficacy” especially about “the consequences of performing a given behavior as well as evaluations of those consequences” (Brennan, Dahl, & Eagle, 2010, p. 639). Furthermore, “behavioural, normative, and evaluative beliefs may be influenced by characteristics of a demographic, personality, and attitudinal nature” (Brennan, Dahl, & Eagle, 2010, p. 639). These characteristics can help guide marketers in the creation of advertising campaigns and promotions that meaningfully appeal to the intended audience. In conducting marketing/promotional research on teenagers, a few ideas about their needs, perceptions, and attitudes as consumers begins to emerge. Several articles were read that produced several characteristics. These characteristics can be used to create marketing communication messages.

In terms of needs, the teenage consumer feels the need to “express themselves, share experiences, and develop personally” (Torres, Valle, & Barrio, 2012, p. 176). They prefer interactivity. They spend a significant amount of time online, even more so than watching television (Torres, Valle, & Barrio, 2012). In fact, research shows that mass media are not an effective means of delivering information to young people (Brennan, Dahl, & Eagle, 2010). Furthermore, “maintaining relationships with their friends using instant messaging and social networks” are very important to teenagers (Torres, Valle, & Barrio, 2012, p. 177). Thus far, the needs of teenagers appear to relate to accessing and using the Internet and sustaining relationships via online engagement. Quality, value, and products that reflect their style are important to teen consumers (Crutsinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010, p. 197). They feel the weight of “peers’ normative influences of what is deemed cool” (Crutsinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010, p. 197), pointing to a potentially less intense form of peer pressure and a need for conformity. They also tend to have a more assertive communication style (Crutsinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010). Assertiveness in this context refers to “standing up for one’s rights without infringing upon others” (Crutsinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010, p. 198).

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In terms of perceptions, teen consumers want to feel like they have control (Torres, Valle, & Barrio, 2012). Their perceptions of businesses are linked with their communication styles; assertive communicators have positive perceptions, while aggressive communicators have negative perceptions in general (Crutsinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010).

In terms of attitudes, teenagers have shown ambiguity in pricing since they tend to buy at discount retailers (Crutsinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010). Their attitudes are dramatically influenced by their communication styles (assertive vs. aggressive) (Crustinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010). Assertive communicators tend to have positive attitudes about retailers, while aggressive communicators tend to have negative attitudes about retailers. However, when researchers studied the effective of communication style on attitude in the context of marketing practices, especially about actual, physical in-store retail experiences (Crustinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010, p. 200). Aggressive communicators have positive attitudes towards advertising (Crustinger, Knight, & Kim, 2010). Furthermore, “viewers choose television programs, in part, for the moral support of their values,” and values help form attitudes (Patino, Kaltcheva, & Smith, 2011). According to research, “social values and attitudes appears to be especially important during the transition to adolescence” (Torres, Valle, & Barrio, 2012, p. 185). Values which have been identified as important to teens – and which therefore influence their attitudes – include popularity, achievement, and excitement (Patino, Kaltcheva, & Smith, 2011).

Based on this information, one recognizes teenagers’ need to engage in social networking and social interaction, as well as their ability to express themselves in those venues. Online interactions and engaging in frequent and regular behavior on the Internet, combined with teenagers’ need to engage in social networking, suggests that advertising for teenagers should be concentrated in online environments. Furthermore, teenagers want control and interactivity. In contrast, mass media are considered ineffective in appealing to teenagers. Therefore, ads on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter would be a good idea, rather than commercials on television. Ads which are interactive, like games, on social networking sites would be particularly effective.

Since teenagers put a lot of stock in the opinion of their peers, orchestrating word-of-mouth campaigns would be good, especially via Twitter. In addition to that, teenagers’ seemingly preferred communication style of assertiveness means that they stand up for their rights as consumers. This can result in positive attitudes towards retailers which those retailers can take advantage of in the form of coupon promotions without expiration dates – in other words, giving the consumer the best possible deal with few restrictions. This can be expanded upon to give incentives for in-store promotions, in order to improve teenagers’ perceptions about in-store experiences.

In conclusion, in order to effectively appeal to teenagers, marketers/advertisers must meet them on their own turf: the Internet. Marketers should make the most of the positive perceptions and attitudes teenagers have and work to overcome negative perceptions regarding brick-and-mortar retailers. They should carefully consider the right communication approach, such as assertive versus aggressive, when structuring their advertisements. This sentiment applies to every segment or population but perhaps it should be more carefully considered with teenagers.

  • Brennan, R., Dahl, S., & Eagle, L. (2010). Persuading young consumers to make healthy nutritional decisions. Journal Of Marketing Management, 26(7/8), 635-655.
  • Crutsinger, C., Knight, D., & Kim, H. (2010). Teens’ consumer interaction styles: the impact of assertive and aggressive behaviour on attitudes towards marketing practices. International Journal Of Consumer Studies, 34(2), 196-203.
  • Patino, A., Kaltcheva, V. D., & Smith, M. F. (2011). The appeal of reality television for teen and pre-teen audiences. Journal Of Advertising Research, 51(1), 288-297.
  • Torres, B., Valle, M., & Barrio, T. (2012). Empirical analysis of values on interactive advertisement aimed at a teenage audience. Comunicación Y Sociedad, 25(2), 175-202.

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