The journey of engaging young people

We are delighted to present a blog post from YMS16 event partner, Fourteen 19. Read on for Fourteen 19's journey of engaging young people:

It is not just our preferred mode of travel that will determine how we arrive at the Voxburner Youth Marketing Strategy London Conference, but it is also our unique collection of experiences, knowledge and aspirations.

My journey to #YMS16 stretches over twenty years and has seen me set up new schools, help young people into apprenticeships, advise on youth start-ups, be part of national youth commission and five years ago I started Fourteen19®. I did this because I was fed up watching organisations (many of whom had products and services that could benefit young people) failing to engage their target audience. Not only was this bad news for organisations, but importantly young people were also missing out on potential life-changing opportunities.

Five years on, this passion has now become a movement and it is great to be part of a special event celebrating and showcasing new and innovate best practices in youth engagement.

So what have I learnt on this journey?

Over the years the channels used to engage young people may have changed dramatically, but the basic principals of youth marketing are still the same:

1. Not all young people are the same.

An obvious observation to start with, but we are constantly amazed at the number of campaigns that attempt to target all young people with the same approach.

There are around 5.6m 16-24s in the UK and every one of them is defined by their individual socio-geodemographic DNA. Where they live? Who they live with? Their gender? Their age? The allowance they get? (if they get one) – all these factors and many more will affect their likelihood of engaging with a product or service. All activity needs to understand the target audience.

2. Where do you find them?

Finding a young person over 18 is much easier that finding one under 18. Once a young person is 18 they start to appear on databases, however before this you need to be clever in how you find and identify them. You need to have links within education, work-based training, youth services and have the contacts and the know-how to access this hard to reach sector. Over the last five years we have done this – we have even established an office within a school which gives us immediate access to teachers and over 300 11-18 year olds!

3. Shape your products and messages to their needs

Never try and second-guess a young person. You need to involve young people in all stages of the marketing process and getting their views and opinions at the outset will be invaluable for ensuring that all subsequent activity is on track.

Everything we do is guided by high quality insight and research. We use highly trained young session facilitators to run groups and have developed a range of innovative tools to put participants at ease and ensure everyone is able to contribute.

4. Involve young people in the creative process

Okay, they might not be able to use Illustrator or Final Cut Pro to produce agency-standard graphics, but they can help with mood boards and their involvement in co-creating content can be invaluable to ensure that campaigns are “youth approved”, use the correct channels and the right language.

We turn these opportunities into valuable vocational experience and ensure that all young participants are aware that they can use the activity to enhance their CVs.

5. Constantly evaluate the success of the activity

In today’s digital environment there is no excuse for not having the campaign stats close at hand. Reacting quickly to the individual elements of the campaign that are performing/not performing will make a significant difference to the campaign’s success.

Just avoid being swamped with data. Anyone can download an analytics report; the real value is in interpreting the figures that will influence the campaign.  

So there you have it – the fruits of our journey in five simple steps. If you would like to know more please visit Stand 15 at the Voxburner YMS LDN event at the Roundhouse on 8-9 March.

We hope you have a safe and productive journey.

We’ll see you there!

Fourteen 19 is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.

To find out more about Fourteen 19, head over to the Fourteen 19 website.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.