It was only after I became a parent that I realized kids are MASTER marketers. My kids are no different. They may not always be aware of their marketing mastery, but believe you me, I’m taking lots of notes.
Here’s my top 4 highly effective marketing tips, courtesy of my kids.
Marketing Tip #1- Give benefits, not facts
Let’s face it, no kid cares that their toothpaste is full of fluoride and cavity-fighting protection. But they do care that:
- Clean teeth means you’re more likely to get picked for the team you want in gym class
- Fresh breath means your friends will want to play with you at recess
- A pretty smile may just get you that birthday party invitation you want
Now, will all these things magically happen just because you brush your teeth? NO. But the likelihood of good things happening as a result greatly increases. So we tell them “If you do X, you’ll get Y.”
Adults are no different. I don’t care that my shampoo has a long list of ingredients. I DO care that it makes my hair silky, shiny, soft, insert your adjective…..
Here’s a recent conversation I had with my daughter (she’s 7) at the grocery store that brings it all into perspective.
Mommy, look at these Cheez-Its. They’re in little bags. I want these for my lunch.
You don’t need those Annika. You have plenty of other snacks at home.
But Mommy, those other snacks aren’t in bags. When you pack my lunch, you could just grab one and throw it in my lunchbox. It won’t spill and make a mess and it will fit OK.
Long Pause…….Wheels are turning in my head……….
You’re right. Pre-packaged means I can grab and go and your lunchbox has a better chance of staying clean.
So guess who bought the Cheez-Its? And yes, she WILL come work for me when she’s older. Damn I love that kid 😉
Marketing Tip #2- When in doubt, keep it simple.
Kids don’t need fancy explanations. They just want you to boil it down to something they can understand. My son is beginning his “Why?” phase (he’s 2). Every time I explain something, he asks “Why?” And this happens A LOT. I have to get VERY basic and use words he can understand. Eventually we reach agreement. But, I boil it down to the lowest common denominator. Always.
Don’t use 15 words when 10 will do.
Don’t use big, technical words when short, commonly used words will do.
This approach works great for kids. So why do we think it has to change when we grow up?
The KISS principle NEVER goes out of style.
Marketing Tip #3- Honesty goes a long way in building an audience
Kids have no filters. My daughter is notorious for her totally unbiased sayings. She just lets it fly. I, for one, appreciate honesty. And I’m known for my honesty too. Although, I don’t quite let it fly like she does. But I don’t pull any punches either.
Tell me what something can or can’t do.
How you can help me or how you can’t.
Be up front. It builds trust. It builds respect (because it means you value my time and don’t want to waste it).
If you make a mistake, apologize. Own up to it. Tell me how you’re going to make it right.
It ain’t rocket science people. So how come so many businesses still don’t get it?
Marketing Tip #4- Cute Sells.
I’ll address cute kids shilling products in a minute.
But what I’m also talking about are the tactics kids use to get what they want or get out of trouble. My son is awe-inspiring at this. And full disclosure here- Ethan is 110% mommy’s boy. He looks at me and I fall apart.
Case in point- a recent episode where he hit me on the leg during a tantrum. I swatted his bottom and told him that was not a nice thing to do. He cried for a minute, then turned around with those big brown eyes, held out his arms and said “Hug and mooch mommy.”
That’s all it took. I was done like a steak left too long on the grill.
Now I’m not suggesting you go around hugging and kissing all your customers (for fear of a harassment lawsuit), but what could you do in your own industry to up the “cuteness” factor? How could you make a product or service less intimidating or serious?
If you’re in insurance, here’s a few ideas:
- “Cartoon” your staff. Yep- actually turn them into cartoon figures. I’m confident there’s an app or program out there that will let you do this pretty easily.
- Have theme days at your office- all the staff dresses a certain way. Think of Halloween, but maybe once a month.
- Draw a picture of a policy- add a head, arms, legs. Make sure that policy is smiling! Use him or her in your marketing, attach it to your email signature, etc. Who knows, maybe that becomes your new logo…….
- Grow a sense of humor. You don’t have to be serious all the time. Nobody likes a stick in the mud. Crack some jokes. Laugh at yourself. But just plain laugh. Really.
- If you’re brave enough, develop your own mascot. Have fun with it. Lord knows, I have a ball as The Insurance Goddess.
And for the piece de resistance- when all else fails, adding a cute kid to market your product or service is practically a guarantee of success.
Who remembers this iconic classic commercial?
Or how about this one?
I bet LIFE cereal and Oscar Mayer hot dogs practically FLEW off the grocery store shelves.