One fundamental of marketing is that you must know your audience. So if you are planning a youth event, you need to understand the kids.
Kathy Needham, owner of Needham Marketing in Grand Rapids, Mich., is an expert at reaching youth. Among her accomplishments are the development and launch of the Zonderkidz brand for Zondervan; development of the tween brands Faithgirlz and 2:52 Soul Gear for Zondervan;of licensing agreements involving “Veggie Tales” books and “The Chronicles of Narnia” gift products; and management of The Beginner’s Bible, a storybook brand for children.
Needham says that if you are planning a youth event, make sure to have a youngster from the target age group consult for you. Also, to create an event that appeals to both the kids and the parent or youth pastor, be edgy but appeal to the adults by showing that the kids will be safe. (“Edgy” to kids is anything they perceive as taboo.)
At RCMA 2009, Needham offered the following information for understanding youth. When Reaching Out
1. You need to know what drives kids:
--Control. They like to think that they are in charge.
--Aspiration. They want to be treated as if they are older, smarter, richer, stronger than they really are.
--Excitement. They like to stretch boundaries.
2. Boys are different from girls. For example, every seven minutes, males have a surge of adrenaline.
3. Keep their age front-of-mind.
4. Be able to speak their language.
Think Like a Kid
Kids really enjoy: balls, exploring, animals, new information, dinosaurs.
What Kids Choose
During their free time:
1. 86 percent play games.
2. 84 percent go online.
3. 80 percent listen to music.
4. 66 percent pray at least once a week, and 40 percent pray daily.
5. 66 percent go to the mall at least once a week.
6. 51 percent watch TV or videos.
7. 27 percent send instant messages.
8. 12 percent participate in chat rooms.
Source: Youth Market Alerts
--50 percent to 70 percent of 12- to 14-year-olds have their own cell phones.
--These themes are popular: space, travel, museums, zoos, the Olympics, technology, charity, recycling, languages.
--Peer-to-peer marketing is faster than any other form of marketing; kids will believe their friends.
--Kids think of themselves as having an audience.
--Youth today are archiving their adolescence, using digital tools.