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Today's Students Are Tomorrow's B2B Customers

Great customer intuition begins with knowing who your customers are. In these back to school times marketers are realizing that the customer is the student not the parent. More and more school age children and teens are given complete decision making control over their back to school shopping needs.

Why is this news and why is it blog worthy? Because understanding today's student aged customers will help business's of all kinds know better how to build future marketing communications to reach tomorrow's B2B customers.

For example:

InsightExpress, a Stamford, CT-based market research firm, recently surveyed high school and junior high school students and discovered that "students looking to buy consumer electronics say they are the ones in control of the budget and brand-buying decisions." The research was reported on Promo Magazine's Website.

In addition the study found:

- Students are more educated not only in terms of what devices they want to own, but also which brands.

- Devices most wanted by teens include MP3 players, cell phones and digital (still and video) cameras. While students plan to pay for only 30% of electronics purchases themselves, teenagers say they still wield more buying influence than their parents.

- Of those polled, 72% reported learning about home electronics through friends, 70% through the Internet, 70% through television, 58% through magazines and 44% through school.[link]

Studies like these show that teenagers are already dialed in to word of mouth marketing, using the internet to do product research and comparison as well as conventional media such as magazines and TV. In a few short years these tech and marketing savvy teens will be old enough to be employed in your customer organizations. During those same short years they will only get more savvy and skillful in how they respond to marketing and make purchasing decisions. In order to grow your future customer intuition start by understanding how tomorrow's customers who are today's teens behave as employees and customers.

You might even find a source for new ideas and innovations. Consider what technology guru Howard Rheingold had to say in a recent interview:

There's nothing more inventive than a 15-year-old... If I was a Nokia (NOK ) or a Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ), I would take a fraction of what I'm spending on those buildings full of expensive people[R&D Engineers] and give out a whole bunch of prototypes to a whole bunch of 15-year-olds and have contracts with them where you can observe their behavior in an ethical way and enable them to suggest innovations, and give them some reasonable small reward for that. And once in a while, you're going to make a billion dollars off it.[read]

So tonight when your teen asks for a few hundred dollars to go back to school shopping give her the money and ask her about her decision making process. Oh, and when she gets home have her reprogram your cell phone so it doesn't play the theme from Sienfeld everytime your boss calls.

August 23, 2004 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Current Affairs | Permalink


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Yes, know your customers.
Not only are marketers shifting their attention from parents to students this school buying season, they are shifting attention from youth to kids. The tweens (8 to 14) influence buying decisions in a big way.

This is a global phonemon. Check out this story from India.

Posted by: susan | Aug 24, 2004 10:23:42 AM