Corporate Eye

Teens Loud and Strong in Word-of-Mouth Marketing

teen-word-of-mouth-marketingA report from the Keller Fay Group, reported by BrandWeek, delivers interesting results related to a year-long research study.  According to the study, the hyper-social lives of teenagers helps brands.  It turns out, teens are responsible for a “disproportionate amount of word-of-mouth about products and services.”

What amazes me from this study is not that teens talk about brands and are a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing but that the majority of those discussions happen in-person.  In a time in history when it seems teens are hyper-connected and the forgotten art of face-to-face communication is fading away faster than ever, a full 75% of word-of-mouth marketing generated by teens is done through face-to-face communications.  Just 13% of word-of-mouth marketing by teens occurs online and only 10% happens via telephone.

Another point that stands out in the Keller Fay Group study is the finding that tell us which brands teens are talking about the most:

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Apple
  3. Verizon
  4. iPod
  5. Ford
  6. Pepsi
  7. McDonald’s
  8. AT&T
  9. Sony
  10. Nike

It turns out that teens involved in the study engaged in “significantly more” word-of-mouth marketing related to “all categories” than the total consumer audience.  Consider these statistics:

  • 78% of teens engage in word-of-mouth marketing related to entertainment and media compared to just 57% of the general public.
  • 67% of teens engage in word-of-mouth marketing related to technology compared to just 39% of the general public.
  • 63% of teens engage in word-of-mouth marketing related to telecommunications compared to 39% of the general public.
  • 59% of teens engage in word-of-mouth marketing related to retail and apparel compared to 38% of the general public.
  • 63% of teens engage in word-of-mouth marketing related to sports, recreation and hobbies compared to 42% of the general public.
  • 45% of teens engage in word-of-mouth marketing related to personal care and beauty compared to 26% of the general public.

Of course, it’s important to remember that a teen’s audience is typically not as broad as an adult’s, and a teen’s reach is not as wide as an adult’s.  Furthermore, a teen’s sphere of influence and credibility is not often well-established as an adult’s might be.  Therefore, the power of a teen’s word-of-mouth marketing is relative to his or her reach and authority.  However, for brands that target teens, this data should be considered quite compelling and used to support budget requests for brand-building, social media marketing, content marketing, and other activities that elicit word-of-mouth marketing.

What do you think?

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.