Try inserts to track down teens/kids

You might not immediately think of insert media as a youth marketing option – but experts say it can be a successful tactic if done right. Four experts offer some program possibilities.

Karen Cha
EVP, Singer Direct

To reach the elusive youth market through inserts, marketers can use a combination of vehicles for message delivery, including blow-in ads in cata­logs featuring kids/teen related products; samples in youth-oriented merchandise shipments; enclosures in billing state­ments, and targeted local co-op mailings.

The most effective way to reach a youth audience is to use a variety of insert programs that not only get mes­sages to teens but also into the hands of their parents — the ultimate decision makers. There are some teen, tween, and kids-oriented merchandise programs on the market, but the majority of avail­able circulation will reach parents. These programs include apparel catalogs, online retailers and homeowner-oriented merchandise programs.

Clients shouldn’t overly narrow their audience. Advertisers often only look to reach a very specific youth audi­ence and age range, and will only con­sider insert programs that match these criteria. However, testing programs with a broader reach but a strong pres­ence of children in the household will often deliver similar or better results.

Think beyond teens, and aim also for the people who surround them

Nancy O’Reilly
VP, insert media management, Direct Media Inc.

One of the common misconceptions is that it is difficult to reach children with insert marketing. There are many programs that target young families or are geared to parents of young children. But it is crucial to understand that it you want to reach a child and a parent with a specific insert, the piece needs to speak to children at their level as well as pro­vide important information for the adult.

A great example is Buena Vista, which was recently brought under the brand umbrella of Walt Disney Inc. It is a highly successful inserter that suc­cessfully targets the children’s market. I think its success is based on a number of factors: price point; quality of product; brand recognition; and quality of avail­able programs.

Don’t overlook how much control a child has over purchases – particular­ly teenage children. Products purchased by parents today are driven by kids’ growing awareness of what is “hot” or not. An insert’s creative should be care­ful to use authentic language and the right emotional incentives to position your product or service in the “what’s hot” category.

Use authentic language and the right emotional incentives to target teens

Dennis Erickson
VP, insert media, ParadyszMatera

The circulation of traditional insert media reaching the teen market is limited. To generate scale you have to look at non-traditional venues. For example, there is a network of high school newspapers where you can use standalone FSIs. We’ve also successfully utilized ridealongs to the teen market – including a program with report cards.

For the tween market, you have to assume that the tween is going to be a huge influencer on the purchase, but you’re also selling to the parents. There’s more opportunity with tradi­tional media reaching the tween market and the young family market. You have the books and the movie clubs; you have a number of programs that offer pack­age inserts and ridealongs with toy and developmental products; and then there are your general merchandise offers around baby and young family products.

I think the visual is especially impor­tant in the teen market. And, any time you can get a celebrity or a personal­ity that is heavily entrenched in the teen market, such as Hannah Montana or Tony Hawk, you can have a major impact on product sales.

Think about non-traditional insert venues for the teen market

Lori Fursman
Director, brokerage division, Stanton Direct Marketing

Several mailers, including Infor­mation Products Co., Doubleday, Highlights for Children and others, look to select insert media programs that target households with children. While insert media programs do not usually allow the selections seen with list rentals, there are ways to “select” by using pro­gram demographics.

Insert media brokers can look for programs offering children’s products such as books and toys, or review pro­gram demographics. Many programs with a high percentage of female buyers will indicate a high percentage of chil­dren in the household. Also, programs with a mature audience may be a good fit — especially those with a high percentage of female buyers, since grandparents are likely to purchase products for their grandchildren.

It is always a good idea to review the continuation usage for programs. This will show you other offers that have found success and can be used as insight into those buyers’ shopping behavior. Keep in mind that programs targeting young audiences tend to be very careful about accepting offers.

Review the continuation usage for the insert program for insight

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