Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The Litmus Test

How the youth will determine your business strategies
Teens are, in effect, a litmus test for the success of consumer tech innovations; if they use it, it will proliferate.

When we take on new technologies to help us market to our clients, we often look to tech journals or blogs to research how the technology should be leveraged. While it is always a good idea to research marketing and promotional methods before implementing them, perhaps tech blogs aren’t the only way to go. Of course, it is always good to have an understanding of how tech innovations can be used for business, but perhaps one of the best ways to determine if a new app or gadget is hot is to ask teenagers how they feel about it. For example, teens are apparently turning away from some of the social media giants; simply put, Facebook is going out of style. While Facebook has the potential to re-invigorate itself, it is likely that once the driving force behind the platform falls away, the ability to leverage it for business will as well.  

It’s important to remember that although teens may not be your or your client’s target demographic, their spending and influencing powers are huge. Teens have their pulse on the latest fads and trends, and sometimes have more disposable income than other demographics. Teens are, in effect, a litmus test for the success of consumer tech innovations; if they use it, it will proliferate.

You can use this knowledge to help stay ahead of the curve, albeit slightly behind the teens, by including teen friendly sites and blogs in your research. Try to find out what they like, what they use, how they use it to keep ahead of the game.

You can also put together a focus group. Advertise on your website or in your paper that you want meet with teens about their culture. Once you have parental permission, ask them questions about their lives; how do they communicate? What are their favorite smartphone apps? What are their favorite websites? Asking questions about their consumer and communication habits could give you valuable insights on what’s the next big thing in tech.

It can be very easy to stay with the status quo, because constant change is hard and jarring. However, keeping your finger on the pulse of emerging technology that can improve your revenue is important, and sometimes the best way to do that is though unpredictable avenues. So, if you haven’t asked teenagers what they think, perhaps it’s time to start.