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How to sell to young people

How to sell to young people
Deborah Goodall
Marketing, Digital marketing
Find out more about Deborah Goodall

In this article you’ll learn

  • How to define an audience
  • How to target your marketing
  • Where you can focus promotional spend

Reaching the next generation of customers or consumer is often perceived to be the Holy Grail of success for a business – ensuring longevity and continued profitability.

The first thing to confirm is that young people are interested in your product or service. Think about it: assuming we are defining “young person” as between 18 and 25 and your product doesn’t appeal to that age bracket then no amount of marketing is going to transform that. But change the positioning of your product or introduce new ranges then you are part-way there.


You only need to look to brands like Shackleton (High Chairs) to understand this. The classic Shackleton High Chair has little place in the modern Scandi-influenced home of a young urbanite. But their range extensions include funky occasional chairs, and trendy low-back chairs with a myriad of fabric choices.

Once you have a product that appeals to the audience you wish to target then it is simply a case of identifying the right channels to reach the audience. For young people the obvious answer is social media but even that throws up questions: facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Snapchat? YouTube? The list is quite frankly, endless. Your choice should be driven by WHO you want to reach – which social network do they hang out on? Fortunately a little experimentation at low-cost or no-cost can provide good indications of which channels will reach the right audience. And remember you are wanting paying customers, not just “likes”.


Social media alone is not going to work. Marketing is all about the combined or integrated effect. Think about the recent campaign by McDonalds which combines TV and social media to engage the audience with the production of the advertisement.

Staying with digital, targeting influential bloggers (or vloggers) should be part of your social campaign and could be key to your success. Think of these as online celebrities. Many have tens of thousands of followers who are influenced by their reviews, thought and trend suggestions.

Depending on the product or service that you are offering, investing into online search advertising may or may not be appropriate, likewise online brand advertising.


Investing time and effort into promotion online does mean that you will need a website to direct people to. Whilst many businesses think that they can get away with a Facebook page or similar – people still expect to be able to find your actual website. You need to ensure that the design and layout of this not only lines up with the advertising and promotion work that you undertake, but also that it communicates your brand values. Businesses often brief website designers about their website needs from a business point of view. It is important to brief website designers using your marketing positioning and target audience’s needs and requirements.

Offline don’t forget the continued influence of magazines and celebrity. Depending on your product (and budget) these shouldn’t be ignored to reach a younger audience. Magazine editorial, in the right place, can be up to seven times more influential than an advert so be smart with your approach to maximise your returns.


Knowing your competitors, their brand position and how they execute their marketing will help in the attraction of your target audience – be better than them at their strongest points and excel at their weaknesses.

Reaching young people is exactly the same as reaching middle-aged people or the grey market. Know your audience, understand their needs, solve their problem and position yourself as the go-to brand. Use marketing channels that they use, read or watch and use language that will motivate or inspire them.

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Marketing expert Deborah Goodall talks about how you can targeting your marketing efforts to help you sell to young people.