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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Astraikis

The Pitfalls of Marketing to Young People

When marketing to niche audiences like teenagers and young people, it’s important to choose your words and visuals carefully. It’s no simple task for marketing executives to craft messages that effectively appeal to unique groups. However, with the right guidance, it’s definitely achievable! Today, I’d like to discuss how to best deliver your message to a young audience.

The Importance of Up-to-Date Slang

Slang goes in and out of fashion within the span of a few years, so keeping up with new terms and trends is imperative to keeping your marketing materials engaging for the younger generations. For instance, if in 2021, you use the terms “bomb diggity” and “catch you on the flip-side” in a social post targeted towards teenagers, you might come off as oblivious to youth culture.

The most effective way of keeping up with popular youth lingo is by following the social media accounts of popular influencers like Kylie Jenner, Harry Styles, and Rihanna. Even though they might be in their late twenties and early thirties, the size of their audiences, comprised of mostly teenagers and young adults, means they are the ones influencing which slang terms are most popular at the moment.

In addition to going straight to the source of slang, you can also search for articles that compile current terms and their meanings. Here’s a recently published list from Shorelight that I think you’ll find extremely helpful: A Guide to American College Slang Words in 2020. Flowbox also published a useful guide for navigating the complicated world of Gen-Z terminology: The Ultimate Guide to Teenage (Gen Z) Slang in 2020.

Misusing Emoji

Another common misstep marketers make when targeting their efforts toward younger people is incorrectly utilizing emoji. For the older generations, emoji might seem like a silly gimmick that will one day die down in popularity. However, to millennials and Generation Z, emoji have quickly become a new and highly effective mode of communication. With just the click of a button, you can communicate your tone, emotion, and intention with the help of these tiny but powerful graphics. To make the most out of your emoji, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • Know what your emoji communicate: Before you use an emoji, do your research about what it means. You’d be surprised how many emoji have hidden double meanings that can drastically alter your message.

  • Use them sparingly: Less is more when it comes to emoji. If you use too many, your message can get muddled and your audience may feel confused. For a social post, I would recommend incorporating one or two emoji max, so that you enhance your message as opposed to distracting from it.

  • Don’t force it: If you’re not sure an emoji is necessary for the message you’re trying to convey, don’t force it. Using an emoji just to use an emoji is fruitless and can detract from the power of your words.

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About the Author

Annie Astraikis is Parklife’s Social Media Manager.

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