I’m sure we all have that kid (or kids) in our life that make you rethink your “big picture” and how it appears so trivial to them. It could be your kid, grandkid, niece/nephew or neighbor; the point is that they can take the most complex ideas and break them down through the mind of a child.
As I watch my kids (yes, they are the little nuggets in the picture above) I can’t help but draw parallels between them and my other favorite pastime—marketing. I’ll make jokes to my wife about it, or share stories with my co-workers and clients, so I figured I’d take this opportunity to share some of those themes with you.
After you read the parallels that I’ve drawn, please reach out and let me know what you think. Do you see the same ones with kids in your life? Do you have other interesting parallels that you’ve seen? Or maybe you think I’m totally crazy (my wife probably errs on this side)?
In any case, here are the six marketing lessons that I believe we can learn from kids:
Do you find yourself repeating the same sentences and phrases over and over to kids? “Close the door”; “Put that away”; “Wash your hands”; “Don’t put that in your mouth” (or is that just my kids?). Kids have a knack for making you repeat yourself until it sticks for them.
The same should be true for your social media strategy. Don’t post something once and assume everyone is going to see it. With the immediacy and sheer volumes of information posted on social media, make sure you are posting content in regular intervals.
Fact: Kids love YouTube. It’s engaging, funny and exciting to them. They enjoy watching toy reveals and reviews, pets doing silly things and the one that drives me absolutely crazy, other kids playing with toys. Why on earth aren’t they playing with their own toys?!?
This is a good reminder to us as marketers about the power of video. People like consuming it as a medium. In fact, the average person spends 88 percent more time on a website when it includes video (source: Mist Media), and companies that include video in their marketing have 34 percent higher conversion rates (source: Buffer). Make sure that you are including this important element in your company’s marketing mix.
Creativity / Imagination
Kids have such an imagination and innocence when left to their own devices. They aren’t worried yet about coloring in the lines or keeping a strict order in their games/toys. The other day I walked into my kids’ playroom and saw they had their toys in a circle for a “party.” What was refreshing to me is that they weren’t worried about keeping the Barbies, superheroes and animals separate; they were all friends in this imaginary world (see the photo I snapped below). And most important, the kids were getting along.
In the corporate marketing world, it’s too easy to get stuck inside the box. We have all done it—we create ads or new copy that shows some level of creativity or boldness, only to overthink it and go back to the “safe” option. I’m not suggesting to go against brand guidelines, which should be a necessity; I’m merely suggesting that we push the limits. It’s OK if boxes overlap in a design, or if your copy tone is conversational instead of corporate speak.
Short Attention Spans
I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to you, but kids tend to have short attention spans. I’m not sure my son even has one. When you’re trying to communicate a point to them, or are asking them to do something, you need to get right to the point and make it easy for them to understand.
The same holds true for your marketing communications. You need to quickly grab an audience’s attention, and engage them with your design or messaging. I’ve seen statistics that state a website visitor gives your site anywhere from five to seven seconds before they decide if they are going to continue through your site. That average shrinks all the way down to two seconds when referencing print ads. Catch their attention, and do it quickly!
Ease of Use
Oftentimes, when kids have difficulty figuring things out – whether it’s learning new things or playing complicated games – they move on to other things. We obviously want to teach them to stick with it and figure things out, but the reality is that they want something that will bring immediate satisfaction (see Short Attention Spans above).
Adults aren’t too dissimilar. In our digital communications, especially with websites, we need to focus on making them user-friendly. If a site visitor can’t figure out your navigation, or if the site architecture is not intuitive, you’ll tend to lose them to other sites. On top of that, there are the SEO implications of having bad navigation and/or slow page load speed. Focus on your user experience and it will yield better results across the board.
What’s the “carrot on a stick” that you use for the kids in your life? You know what I’m talking about—the go-to reward that you use to get them to behave, clean up or simply stay out of your hair for a few minutes. I could offer my kids handfuls of candy to clean their rooms and they wouldn’t look twice at me. But if I tell them we can go see Grandma and Papa, or their aunts and uncles, they’ll be done before I finish the sentence.
When you are developing offers for your lead generation campaigns, you need to figure out what the right “carrot on a stick” is for your target audience. What is going to make them give you a call or fill out a form on your site? Depending on your product or service, it might be a free sample; others may find a free/discounted audit is worthwhile. Test different offers and see what works for your business.
As you can see, there are many parallels that we can draw from kids within our marketing realm. If you were reading closely, now would be the part when I offer you a carrot on a stick to contact me. So the first five people to respond get to babysit my children. No? OK, they get to have my kids sit in on a strategic planning session. Still no? Truth of the matter is that I just wanted to put together a fun blog about two things I am passionate about – my kids and marketing. I hope it inspires you to think like a kid every now and then.
Perhaps we can even use some of these ideas to record a new set of “Kids of Skoda Minotti” videos. If you haven’t checked these out before, click on the link above – after you’re done reading this blog of course – and see how some of the kids of our employees answered questions about our business. You’ll see what I mean about them turning complex things into the simplest of responses.