Youth Marketing Strategy SFO: Catching Up with The Future of Marketing

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Following the success of events in London, Berlin, and New York, Voxburner brought their Youth Marketing Strategy summit to San Francisco for the first time on June 12 at Fort Mason’s Gallery 308. YMS offers insights that reflect the latest trends and hottest topics in the youth marketing industry. We attended to see our speakers from Tophatter and Greenbrier and hear what’s driving the behaviors of GenZ and how brands and agencies can do a better job of meeting the youth market where they are. Here’s what we learned.

CEOs, VPs and Founders shared their thoughts on current marketing opportunities and challenges and why young people are so important to their organizations:

  • “These issues that are polarizing to older demographics are not to younger ones. Be a human, that’s what these young consumers want. Staying silent is not a long term strategy.” - Meredith Ferguson, DoSomething Strategic

  • “We know that most young consumers, don’t read the New York Times or watch Bloomberg Tech. Surprisingly, most younger consumers get their news from local news websites. We need to figure out how to meet them where they are vs. trying to get a story in a top tier.” - Lane Kasselman, Greenbrier

  • “We have to think very carefully about what we do. I encourage our company to act as a media/publishing company and think about planning every 3 hours vs. every 3 months.” - Livio Bisterzo, HIPPEAS

25-year-old Steve Bartlett of Social Chain helped us understand How to Avoid Becoming Completely Irrelevant in 2018 and the power of working with micro-influencers:

  • “Most people are creating things from the perspective that people care. The only thing people really care about is what I can do for them . . . you are not a marketer, you are a publisher.”

  • Personalization is the way to turn everyone into an influencer (ex. people sharing photos of their names spelled wrong on Starbuck cups)

  • Where is the opportunity? Podcasting, free reach on LinkedIn because they haven’t figured out their algorithm yet, music.ly, Twitch, and Facebook Groups.

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During The Kids That Are Changing the World panel,  the audience had a chance to ask ambitious youth what they want from their brand relationships. Authenticity, relatability and transparency were key:

  • “GenZ grew up on social and smartphones and can detect BS much faster than other generations. Brands need to take this into account.” - Tiffany Zhong, Zebra Intelligence

  • “No-one really gives a shit about you and what you’re doing, what they do care about is the content you're building out and what they can do with that. It’s all about trying to create content where, after people watch it, they feel like they’re walking away with something.” - Mehak Vohra, Jamocha Media

The first panel after lunch and a 10-minute guided meditation brought together speakers from brands TOMS, Casetify, Par en Par, and Tophatter to discuss The Future of Retail:

  • “Instant gratification is what we see shoppers wanting, and snackability. In a world where our attention spans are shorter than goldfish, you have to bump the adrenaline up quickly." - Malcolm Scovil, Tophatter

  • “It should be a given in your business model that you’re doing good, or at least doing no harm in your process of creating.” - Laura Choi, Par en Par

Ben Harms of Archrival gave an engaging talk on The State of Youth Culture and Shifting Trends. Key insights included:

  • Youth are compelled to find and follow their personal passions to build up a life resume of experiences.

  • GenZ is the most self-reliant generation yet. They know how to find the answer. 72% want to start a business.

  • “This generation has blown open the world of acceptance. The more unique and individual you are, the more oddly normal you are.”

  • “Girl Power” is an outdated mantra. In Z’s minds, the gender paradigm has already shifted and it’s up to us to catch up.

  • 82% of GenZ said they’d rather trail blaze than follow traditional paths.

  • “The idea of building loyalty among this generation is one of the most elusive things. They’re incredibly loyal - but that definition is changing. Youth are loyal to creativity and innovation. Brands must constantly push themselves to keep favor.”

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