Take the Teen Smartphone Challenge for Your Business

teen smartphone
Internet Marketing is a more complicated art and science than it has ever been before, and one question that troubles many business owners is this:

“How do I really know what I need to do for my business to keep up with internet marketing, and how do I know if what I’m doing is working?”

How do I really know what I need to do for my business to keep up with internet marketing?Click To Tweet

The technology changes so quickly, and it can be so hard to know how people are really using or going to be using it.  Who do you trust?  A marketing team out to sell you their services?  A tech savvy employee who thinks his ability to use Facebook makes him a social media expert?  Your Aunt Netty in Peoria whom those Nielsen folks are constantly hounding for her opinion of the fall TV lineup?

Fret not, for nature has bestowed on all of us a gift, a tailor made group of tech trendsetters and early adopters who take to this stuff like a duck to water and will tell you exactly what they think:

Teenagers.

Yes, those irresponsible, wild, rebels-without-a-cause who terrorize lawns all over America with abandon.  Those cyborgs in our midst, with their devices practically surgically implanted into the palms of their hands as they stare, Full Metal Jacket style, at the wonders and horrors streaming at them through The Matrix.

So take the teen smartphone challenge: find a group of average adolescents, perhaps the school friends of your own children, or of your nieces and nephews, etc…  Get them to notice you past the digital glow of their electronic life units, and ask them to use their magic boxes and youthful superpowers of technological cutting-edge-ness to find your business online, everywhere they can think to check for it, and tell you where they do, or don’t, find you.

Take the Teen Smartphone Challenge.Click To Tweet

Be sure to ask them to give you feedback when they find you, and to be brutally honest with you in that way that only those in the middling years between adulthood and childhood truly can be, being sure to layer as much snark and world-wise condescension as they are uniquely qualified to give it.

Listen well, for they will have told you the secrets.  These are your future, if not present, customers.  The trends they set now will define the tools we all use later.

Do you think, perhaps, I’m giving teenagers too much credit?  Consider this: Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and in short virtually every social network successful today was made so by teenagers, or those in the tween years of college where teens and post-teens mingle and divide their IQ’s up through mutual leveling.

Teens are also the top demographic for smartphone demand, and (for now, at least) those teens have spoken: they want iPhones, or one of the hotter Android brands like Samsung (or Xiaomi in China).  Teens are a lot like rich people: many of them have money to blow that they don’t worry about paying bills with, so they will pay a premium for style.  Only those smartphone makers whose brands win a teen audience are actually reporting profit.

Teens drive consumer technology in the 21st Century. We Older and Wiser Folks prove this every time that we invade one of their hideouts and ruin it for them.  (Sorry, Facebook teenagers, blame your predecessors for spam inviting everyone they could think of when the invites went live.  That’s why Grandma now wants you to share pics from your high school prom with her.)  They’re moving on to Snaps and Tumbles and only they know what else while many of us are still trying to figure out how to share something.

Teens drive consumer technology in the 21st Century.Click To Tweet

Lather, rinse, and repeat the teen smartphone experiment every so often, just to be sure of what has changed as the next generation grows into its adolescent period.  If the kids think you’re doing OK, then take it as the Praise From Caesar it is.

Postscript: I am, of course, not intending this to be a singular practice for measuring your internet marketing success.  Analytics remain the best way to see results in action, but analytics are useless if you don’t know what or where to start analyzing, and sometimes they overlook the qualitative aspects of user experience that can make the difference between possibly doing good or possibly doing great.  The teen smartphone challenge is, in part, a Thought Experiment in spotting the emerging trends before they overtake your business.

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I love technology and how it changes our lives. There’s something almost spiritual about how new technologies connect and empower us. And it’s really cool, too.

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