Youth marketing's mantra: Listen, learn and engage

MUMBAI: That the social media and digital platform is the present and future of marketing is no longer a surprise or a secret. Also, the fact that marketing needs to be customised to engage the youth is well known and accepted by now. Building on these two tenets of modern day marketing, a panel of six experts discussed the nuances of this phenomenon at the MTV Youth Marketing Forum held here today.

Nike India marketing head Avinash Pant opined, “While the environment and lifestyle trends have changed, I believe the fundamentals of marketing are still the same.”

The youth, according to him, are looking for inspiration and love innovation. So it is still a matter of getting the message through to them, but in ways that do not pile the communication on them; they should engage them.

Viacom18 Motion Pictures COO Vikram Malhotra pointed out, “The youth is no longer just a segment of the audience. It has become tHE segment. Thus, it has become important to open up engagement channels in ways that the youth want, and not what we think is best for the brand.”

In other words, it is time brands shifted from the manufacturer mindset of dishing out content and information they want the audience to hear and use and go on the field and create experiences for engaging the youth.

Social media can no longer be considered an optional or secondary aspect of marketing plans as it has become a necessity, especially when targeting the youth. While it is true that it isn’t only the youth that access the digital platform and social media, it is a fact that they are the first and most frequent users.

“I feel that there are some products that will gain maximum footage through the use of social media. My personal experience says that the success of my movie Shaitan was because of the conversation that happened online,” offered film director Bijoy Nambiar.

Giving yet another example of the same, actor Aayushman Khurana said, “We experienced something similar with Vicky Donor. The YouTube video and word of mouth has made a great impact on the audiences.”

What makes conversations with the youth online interesting is the fact that it is a generation that is ready to experiment and voice its opinion. The youth are not afraid to put it as it is and this can be a major leveraging point for the brands. The trick is to internalize the conversations that your brand generates among the young netizens.

To tap into it brands, need to keep in mind that the youth is on-the-go and need to keep up with them. The trick is to listen, learn and engage. The youth also do not mind taking risks and, in fact, enjoy engaging in something that has a risk quotient. The important thing is to keep pace. The conventional modes of thinking and organising need to be reworked or changed in a way to tune in with the youth.

Tata Docomo DGM marketing Sumeet Pahwa added, “Also remember that the youth likes to take ownership, thus involving them in brand conversations so that they feel like they are part of the co-creation process. It goes a long way in making an impression on their psyche.”

The marketing forum concluded that apart from listening, learning and engaging the youth, it is important to believe on your gut feeling as well. The pace at which the youth change their perceptions and preferences calls for prompt intuitive and informed marketing moves by marketers. It makes sense to look beyond the obvious and experiment when your TG likes taking risks.

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