Social networking sites, first MySpace and now Facebook, are losing their cache with young adults age 18-24. And that has implications for marketing to this hard-to-reach group.
Mindshare, a WPP agency, has been doing some interesting work in trying to understand how best to reach this media target. I read about their “Scout Network” several months ago. They recruit trend scouts in key cities within a region to “collect street-level, local observations and insights into youth tribes.” In effect, they’re trying to follow an adoption curve: from “seeds” of ideas (what’s starting), to when they catch hold with “tribes” (what’s growing), and then go mainstream (the “herd” or what’s big). Mindshare is trying to ride the crest of waves, moving on to the next wave before the old wave becomes too mainstream and passé. It’s their way of anticipating the market so they know how best to reach and communicate with it.
I like the idea that they’re going back to the streets to see what’s happening. There’s a vibe one gets from being in a place that can’t be achieved online.
Imagine this: you’re at a party, a restaurant, or business function and you strike up a friendship with someone. You might shake hands at the end or give a quick hug, but you could also have your Pokens shake their little hands, instantly wiring your “info card” – which includes your picture, phone number, website, and social network listings (if you so choose) – to each other’s devices. No more business cards or writing things down on slips of paper. Get back to home base, plug in your USB Poken (it also functions as a flash drive), and upload your new contacts. I would love this if it came with a contact management system (so I knew when to follow up with people). And wouldn’t it be great for conferences, we’re everyone could Poken all their new “friends”? My only concern for the young adult market (of which I am no longer a member!): If I think this is cool, will this fizzle out quickly with them?