The Power of Tweens

December 9, 2013

Branding/Marketing

The Power of Tweens

A “tween” is a kid between 8 and 12, defined as “in-between” – meaning in-between being child and teenager. This is a rough time for the youngster who is still a child, but wants to appear more mature in front of friends. At this difficult crossroad, tweens are still psychologically children, but they are bursting with excitement and anticipation of being older, wiser and cooler. They are feeling the pressure of their peers, and aspire to be cool. Behind closed doors, they are still family-centered and crave protective comforts of home. However, in front of others, they are more apt to push away childish things.

Because they are on the edge of young adulthood, tweens are power players in the world of marketing. They are forming their opinions about the world and their place in it. They are deciding what they want to be associated with, and shaping their own identities. At this young age, material goods and brands play a big part in how tweens shape their world. Too young to rely on philosophical or political stances to define themselves, they form their outward expression via clothing, toys, gadgets, books, games, movies and the like. In 2012, tweens spent $30 billion of their money and influenced their parents’ purchasing decisions to the tune of $150 billion. And any parent of a tween will tell you, kids at this age believe that certain purchases will make or break their social existence.

This may be the first time in history when the tween is an authority on an important topic. They understand the digital revolution — in some cases better than we do — and this understanding is changing nearly every institution in our society, including marketing. Lots of analysts think they are the reason why Facebook offered $ 3 billion to buy Snapchat.

We can argue about whether or not tweens should be so focused on products rather than school and family, but the fact is, with today’s mass media, marketing to tweens is reality. It’s here to stay. Tweens are exposed to marketing with every daily interaction, on their computers, their smartphones, TV, and on the playground. With funds diminishing, even schools feel they have no other choice but to embrace brands in exchange for money and much needed school supplies.

Important things to acknowledge:

  • Tweens are the marketing segment of the moment
  • They are savvy
  • They know when they are being pandered to, and they are fickle.

Engage a tween in a quality way that benefits them and they’ll never forget it. Entice them with something trite and gimmicky as a “shiny object” to draw their attention and they’ll be gone before you blink.

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