Marketing to Teens

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Best Practices - Marketing to Teens

Six best practices for marketing to teens are: work alongside them and not against them, create content that teenagers want, engage and be active on the social platforms that are most relevant, optimize the mobile experience, promote entrepreneurial values, and be authentic and ethical about the product or service being promoted.

Teenagers are being defined in this research as Generation Z, which is 22 years of age and under. A detailed analysis for each best practice, along with a description of it, and additionally, 2 examples of companies that have successfully marketed to teenagers in the United States, are detailed below.

Best Practices

Looking to teenagers for advice on their brand is something most CMOs and CEOs have likely never thought they would ever be doing, but if they are looking to create a lasting relationship with this demographic, then it certainly makes sense to understand how a teenagers' brain works.

Work Alongside Them, Not Against Them

  • When working on a marketing plan that is aimed at teenagers, taking a hard look at the company's workforce is in order. Are there teenagers on the team, even as an intern? Onboarding a full, or more likely on a part-time basis, teenager is a way to get the inside scoop on what it hot and trending in your category. They know what teenagers like and dislike. As well, a company can provide them the opportunity to grow their careers in the firm. In return for their slant on things, they would be able to get real, hands-on experience by working in the business alongside other professionals. This then becomes a win-win for both sides of the business.

Create Content that Teenagers Want

  • Teenagers represent about $44 billion dollars of purchasing power in the United States and spend about 9 hours a day on social media.
  • In order to connect with teens, it is essential to create personalized content and it is essential to a brand's success.
  • Teens expect a more personalized and targeted experience based on the customer’s shopping habits and preferences. This is confirmed by a Google report that reveals twenty-six percent of teen shoppers expect retailers to offer them this. This means that it is necessary to personalize shopping experiences that can relate to Gen Z on a human level.
  • Research conducted by JWT Intelligence and Snap Inc suggests that much of what makes social media so compelling to Gen Z is a combination of creativity and interactivity.

Engage and be Active on the Social Platforms that are Most Relevant

Optimize the Mobile Experience

Promote Entrepreneurial Values

Be Authentic and Ethical About the Product or Service Being Promoted

Examples of Companies That Have Successfully Marketed to Teenagers



  • If there's one thing guaranteed to annoy teens, it's brands that try too hard to appeal to them. Clearasil plays on this in its campaign from Droga5, which hinges on the idea that the brand only knows about acne, and knows absolutely nothing about how to be cool to teens.
  • A set of 10 comedic ads portray the company's marketers floundering around trying to appeal to teens in various ways: for example, portraying a hot tub pizza party, releasing birds into the wild to appeal to teens' "optimistic" side, staging "dangerous" stunts and one where they stay up till 2AM because they know teens like late nights. There's also a display of "inappropriate images," a silent EDM show, street art, and the brand even tries to talk to teens through other teens.
  • But mingled together with the humor of these lame attempts there's a clear product message, about Clearasil working quickly on your acne. What's more, some have an interactive element, asking viewers to troll or appreciate their attempts to be teen-friendly.
  • The ads were runners-up in the teen video category for the Knotch Supernormal Awards.