I just watched a fascinating documentary called Consuming Kids highlighting how advertisers are tapping into the ever-growing purchasing power of children under the age of 12. According to the film, children directly control $40 Billion in spending and indirectly influence over $700 billion in spending.
The documentary goes on to talk about how brands are trying to create relationships with kids as soon as they can to create life long relationships. They are trying to create young “super” consumers that will be committed to purchasing their products throughout their lifetime.
In my days at Fisher-Price, we never thought about the purchasing power in as crass a way as the documentary I watched describes. However, we were clearly focused on capturing the interest of parents and their kids as soon as we could.
There’s another VERY important change in family dynamics that needs to be considered too. Children are much more involved in family decisions than they were when I was a child. Our daughter has an influence on what we eat, where we shop, where we travel and even what car we purchased. Victor was all about buying a Porsche until our daughter went in the tiny back seat and started screaming when the speaker, located right next to her ear, was blaring.
She did not influence the purchase of our current home, but then again, she wasn’t alive yet! When we talk about moving now, the first things we think about are her needs. What school would she go to? What dance studio would she attend? Would she like the backyard? Would it be safe for her to ride her bike in the neighborhood?
When I started thinking about it, I realized that I have not seen a lot of programs catering to building brand awareness with children. What broker website has any information that is interesting to kids? What materials do agents bring with them that could entertain kids to help them understand more about why they might like the neighborhood? What companies have offered apps that engage kids in the real estate process? It’s an area RIPE for innovation and for new thinking.
Even more importantly, are we involving kids in the actual process of looking at homes? Do we ask kids’ their opinion about what kind of a room they would like or what activities are they interested in? Do we have information about where the best club soccer teams are located? Where the best piano teacher is located? Which dance studio offers the best hip-hop classes? These are the kinds of topics that are important to kids and yet we are not arming agents with any of this information.
Looking for a new way to differentiate? Think about ways you can engage tomorrow’s consumers – kids 12 and under.