What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Teens – Balu V

07 Nov,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present a contribution by Balu V.



Are we witnessing an era of the “new, redefined teens”?


By Balu V


There used to be a period in the mid eighties and nineties in a media brief where most brands used to define the TG as “women 25-34 etc.” Available consumer researches also were pointing more towards this group. The housewives at that time were big decisionmakers in brand purchase decisions across households. Thus most of the communications, content wise also, as you may recall, were focusing on this opportunity group. All of a sudden we witnessed a new emerging group running in the front. Yes the teens! This group has become the darling of marketers and the group is now surrounded by targeted brand communications.


While we all acknowledge the fact that this group has grown in size across many markets and they contribute a major proportion of the overall population, it is worthwhile to explore if there exists any further rationale on why this group has taken centrestage. The answer is partly yes and partly no. It’s a well known fact that compared to their predecessors, this group has become more affluent and now takes individual decisions in brand purchase not only for own self but also for the household. This group has become a big influencer in the household purchases, thanks to the exposure to technology.


It has also been an accepted fact that this group is a major catalyst for exposing the household members to new technology. Increasing exposure to the new environment is one of the major drivers that’s a cause for the emergence of this “new and redefined” group. Naturally, this leads to greater knowledge of the brands, more matured gauging on the need and benefit and seeking for more and more credible benefits of brands whether it’s fashion-based or mobile phones. Thus, an assessment and understanding of this group’s purchasing behavior will be of utmost interest to marketing practitioners.


It is widely known that this group interacts with technology more than any other demographic group; key implication thus is the power of peer influence. Research carried out worldwide has shown that teens text more than they talk. According to eMarketer analyst Tobi Elkin, who authored the report Teen girls always on a social shopping mission, “Peer influence is the key driver in teen girl shopping behavior”. Although more than 4 million US teen girls purchased items online last year, shopping in the bricks & mortar context is still a major element of teen consumer behavior, as Elkin writes in her report: “Teen girls are intrepid social shoppers who eagerly embrace digital and mobile tools.


They enjoy hunting for clothes and accessories online and offline. Most thrilling, however, is the experience of shopping and buying in physical stores with close friends by their side…While they are priceconscious and driven by a great deal, teen girls weigh these factors against the all-important consideration of whether peers will approve of their purchases.” This trend though seen and researched for the US market, can safely assume similar significance in India as well. Thus opinion seeking contributes a major element in the purchase process for the “new, redefined teens”.




This leads to two major implications for a marketing practitioner:

1. The social and collaborative nature of digital media becomes the determining factor in the decision making process and thus “zero moment of truth” becomes a very important factor (Lecinsky 2011 “Winning the zero moments of truth”). In the early years, as in accepted purchase path process, stimulus or trigger would lead to consideration then search then purchase followed by experience. The zero moment of truth starts after stimulus in this new age, especially for this “new, redefined group”. Mass media plays a major contributor in creating stimulus or trigger, and once stimulus is created sharing of experiences from the peers takes the lead. This phase, called as zero moment of truth is the most crucial phase that is succeeded by consider and purchase (first moment of truth). Connecting with teens at this stage is a major challenge for the new age marketer.


2. The second implication which is the most crucial is the measurement of cross interaction between these connect points and its impact on the brand purchase. Traditional connect points not only induces stimulus directly but also through digital in an indirect manner. For eg. TV could influence search clicks or online video or website visit which could add as a catalyst for purchase or could influence positive opinions before purchase. Thus capturing the right data and measurement of cross media impact is crucial for any marketer who targets a product to this group.


As mentioned earlier, this group may be partially “new, redefined” because the final decision on the brand purchase remains similar to the same groups of pre-digital era. The need benefits evaluation. That is the common line that travels across time period!.



Tomorrow: Monday, November 10:  Women – Neville Taraporewalla and Sanjay Thapar

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