Marketing to the Masses

by Dave Jackson

One of my daughter’s favorite places to go is the mall. She’s only four, but you should see her as she takes in every color, sound and smell. And this time of year, it’s even more intense. Do you think they gear advertising toward her? Of course, they do. Advertising to kids is a science. The stakes are high, but the payoff is awesome. Here’s how they do it:

First, they think like a child. Everything is set at their level. They listen like a child. And they ask children. They watch children. The research what happened last year. They look for trends. Yes there is many copycats, and it takes guts to be an innovator. But the first one off the blocks, can reap great rewards. Next time you’re at the mall, try to take a look through the eyes of a child. You’ll be fascinated!

Just listen to what’s going on. Look around you, see the colors. Even the smells — for kids, it’s a wonderland. Yes, they do this for adults, but remember we’re thinking like adults.

For kids, they come up with jingles for the toys. Just listen to any commercial for kids toys. Fully produced jingles with songs that children won’t soon forget. They’ve got it down; a song, packaging, posters, the whole works. And if you don’t at least look at it in the store, you child will most likely break into tears.

As we walked through the mall, I noticed a few faux pas. The biggest one was the fellow in the middle of the mall with a kiosk. He had an electric contraption – car/truck/tank thing. With the touch of a button on his remote control, the car did everything: jumped up, over, upside-down, sideways, and always kept going. He motioned for us to come see this marvel of modern times. My four year old daughter did not even glance. She was headed directly for the dolls at the nearby toy store.

I said to the fellow, “Sorry. She likes dolls.”

He didn’t miss a beat and kept looking for anyone. But don’t you see that a lot in the marketplace? People marketing to the wrong crowd? Think about it. It’s a critical part of marketing people often overlook.

We wind our way back through the holiday shoppers, the mall noisy with chatter. Christmas lights twinkle from everywhere, windows, ceilings, pillars. One short stop at the 50 cent rides for a ride on the fire engine and we’re out the door. Fortunately, we have a real close spot, so we walk to the car both smiling. Why?

Even though we were both bombarded with marketers, it made us feel good. It made my four year old feel good, happy. Of course, all the way home I was reminded of what she wanted for Christmas… again, and again… detailed descriptions embellished with jingles.

Oops, here’s our turn. Home for a break from the madness.

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