Five Things We Can Learn About Digital Marketing from Children
I was watching my two year old nephew on the iPad the other day and was struck by how at home he seemed with it. My sister tells me he uses it for over an hour a day (which I realise is a whole other debate!). As this famous video of a two year playing with an iPad shows, children seem to be so instinctive and intuitive with technology nowadays. But is this just because they’ve grown up with it in a way today’s business leaders didn’t, or is there something in a child’s nature that we could really learn from?
On a quick side note whilst writing this post i came across a great article from SEOmoz on SEO for the iPad.
Anyway I was saying, is this because of how children have grown up with technology or can we learn from them? That instinct to discover and try things without fear is something that we learn to rein in as we get older. When we worry about reputation, brand impact and the bottom line, we can analyse ourselves into inertia.
The first pioneers of the web chose not to get bogged down with such constraints. They just got on and did it, and learned as they went along. The thing with digital marketing is that it moves so fast, you kind of just have to hop on, get moving and enjoy the ride. The man who invented the web did just that.
Can you believe the first website ever made was only uploaded to the web in 1991? And just think how far we’ve come since then.
Digital technology and marketing techniques won’t stop and wait while you conduct research, analyse statistics and write reports and feasibility studies.
When it comes to any new digital channel or forum, the best way to learn how they work is to simply go ahead and try it. We don’t yet know whether Google+ will take over from Facebook as the social media channel of choice (although you can click here for some clues as to my thoughts on this), and SEO is rather like gardening in that you plant a few seeds in different conditions and wait to see what grows. Some things work, some things don’t. A lot of it involves simply trying a few things and seeing what happens. And you can reduce your margin of error by getting expert advice before you start.
So what can we learn from children when it comes to digital marketing?
Here’s my top five things:
- Just do it! – The first person to send a tweet through Twitter didn’t have a set of instructions. They just got on with it. Give it a go, and you’re half way there. Remember, you’ve got to begin in order to improve. By trial and error, you hone your techniques and learn what’s best for you. The quicker you join in, the quicker you’ll get up to speed.
- If you don’t know, ask – Kids love to ask why. And they don’t fret about showing their lack of experience. If they want to know, they find out. There’s no shame in asking for more information. People like me are here to help you out. I spend my whole working day thinking about SEO, website development and digital marketing (and more often than not my nights too!), so I’m bound to know more than a Marketing Manager for whom this is just one aspect of their job. Asking shows curiosity, which shows interest, which shows engagement, which everyone likes to see. I’ll be too busy getting excited explaining things to you to notice any lack of knowledge, which handily takes me on to point three.
- Get excited – Kids don’t need any excuse to get excited. And when it comes to websites and SEO, I don’t need any encouragement to get excited either. It’s a very exciting time for digital marketing. There’s lots of new digital technologies around at the moment Google +, sponsored tweets on twitter, crowd sourcing, Bing local and digital marketing spend in 2011 is increasing, as marketers realise that a lot can be achieved with minimal investment through online sharing and networks.
- Try new things – Kids love to try new things, and they need constant and varied stimulation to maintain their concentration. With such a vast array of choice for consumers and so much ‘noise’, you need to stand out from the crowd. Be creative and varied with your digital marketing approaches, and you stand a much better chance of success.
- Reach out and share what you know – Children welcome all new things with open arms and will tell anyone and everyone they meet all about what they have learned today. The internet is all about sharing. If you want people to listen to you and buy in to what you offer, you need to engage with them and share your knowledge. Repost their tweets, link to their websites, comment on their blog, recommend them to a friend, and they will be much more likely to return the favour.
And if you’re still not convinced that we should be listening to kids for digital marketing ideas, speak to these guys, who this week ran LSxJunior, the very first digital festival for children in my home town of Leeds.
Kids may never stop asking questions (we all know the dreaded ‘why?’), but that’s the reason they often have the best answers.
What are your experiences?