The youngest "millennials"--a demographic segment roughly defined as individuals born in the 1980s and 1990s-are heading back to school. In 2005, 12- to 19-year-olds commanded a whopping $158 billion in spending power, according to Teenage Research Unlimited, a Northbrook, Illinois, market research firm.
Want to cash in on this lucrative market? Here are some tips:
- Keep mom and dad in the loop. "The biggest factor in marketing to millennials is that they have their parents hovering over their shoulders more than other generations before them," says Cheryl Russell, editorial director of New Strategist Publications, a publishing and information company that specializes in demographics.
- Look online. Tech-savvy teens are getting recommendations from online sources. Provide information to them through your website, work on search engine optimization to make your business easy to find, and consider a presence on social networking sites like MySpace.com.
- Forget the fluff. "It's not enough to hang your hat on a microtrend or a fad," says Michael Wood, vice president of TRU. "You [need] a product or service that is meeting a basic teen need at its core, served up to them in an interesting and entertaining way."